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Deck Materials that Turn Your Backyard into an Outdoor Showcase

Aluminum Railing ImageTrends in the housing market are prompting homeowners to forego the risks involved with selling their current homes. Instead, they’re settling in and taking action to fix up and upgrade what they already own. One of the smartest investments a homeowner can make is building new a new deck, no matter the cost of the decking material.

A 2010-2011 survey conducted by Remodeling Magazine showed homeowners can typically recoup up to 73 percent of their decking costs when they sell their homes. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great-looking deck, as shoppers in the market for a new home find even the simplest decks desirable. To create one of the most attractive decks on the block, consider these popular decking materials, which fit all budgets.


It’s hard to go wrong with traditional wood decking. Lumber is a top decking material because of its authentic, all-American look and affordability. Wood decks are durable and strong – so strong, in fact, that manufactures of plastic decks sometimes use pressure-treated lumber on the underside of the deck boards. Plus, it’s simple to customize the look of a wood deck to match the style of your home.

One of the hottest lumbers to use for wood decks is tigerwood, an exotic hardwood from Brazil. Tigerwood deck boards are reddish in color and have attractive, natural dark streaks. Tigerwood decking is among the finest-quality hardwood available because it is naturally mold- and mildew-resistant, has boards that are up to 16 feet in length and can have a lifespan of 25 years or more (even without the use of preservatives). A tigerwood deck is ideal for rainy Pacific Northwest weather because it’s slip-resistant and doesn’t rot or decay a quickly as other types of wood decking materials.

When considering your new deck options, keep in mind that wood decks can stain and change color with time because of exposure to the sun and other weather. Maintenance is key with any type of wood decking material, as it requires annual or biannual cleaning and staining.

PVC Decking

One of the up-and-comers in the deck world, PVC decking is similar to a composite deck but doesn’t include any wood fibers within the decking material. Advances in PVC technology allow homeowners to install PVC decking that looks and feels like real wood. While PVC decking can be more expensive than some wood decks, it offers homeowners a virtually maintenance-free solution that doesn’t require additional sanding, staining or special cleaning products.

PVC decks don’t fade, stain, split, crack, twist or warp. If there’s dirt or grime on the deck, simply rinse it off with a hose. Whatever the hose leaves behind can then be wiped off with a household cleaner and soft cloth. During the hot summer days, walking on PVC decking is more comfortable than any other decking material because the PVC remains cooler, even in direct sunlight.

Custom Railings

With custom railings, you can turn your deck into a true extension of your home. Custom rails can be included in a new deck installation or added onto your current deck for an instantly upgraded look. One of the most versatile and budget-friendly options for a deck is aluminum railings, which add style to a deck and can be combined with any decking material. If your deck has a spectacular view that you want to preserve while also seeking protection from the wind, consider glass and aluminum railings such as the kind often seen on beach house balconies. Another option for aluminum railings that adds safety to your deck and lets you have a great view is a cable rail, which gives a deck an open-air feel.

A deck is a worthwhile investment to make for your home. It adds utility to your yard and creates an outdoor living space that easily lends itself to bragging rights.

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