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What Materials Should You Use To Make Your Deck?

On average, San Diego experiences over 250 days of sunlight and only around 40 days of rainfall each year. People living in San Diego will experience around 50 more sunny days than the rest of the U.S. As a homeowner, if there is a great city to have a deck, it is San Diego. Homeowners in this city are going to have more days to enjoy having an outdoor living space. A deck is going to add value to your home, provide a space to enjoy nature, and give you a place to relax and host parties. A deck often becomes one of the most treasured aspects of a home. If you are looking to add one to your home, make sure you make and design the deck in a way that is going to make it add value, last a substantial amount of time, and have the atmosphere you are looking for. The four most common types of materials to make a deck out of are: wood, aluminum, plastic, and composite. What materials should you use to make your deck?


A wooden deck is the most common choice of deck for homeowners.
Homeowners like wooden decks because:

  • Wood is a strong material that can hold a large amount of weight and is not easily damaged.
  • Wood displays a craftsmanship and uniqueness in how it is made.
  • Wood matches the majority of styles of home, providing a classical complementing look.
  • It is an easier type of deck to make yourself.
  • It is a softer material that feels comfortable on bare feet.

The negative aspects of wood are:

  • It lasts around 10 to 30 years depending on the location, type of wood, frequency of use, and how it is maintained. Meaning that in comparison to other types of decks, this type has the shortest longevity. A pine deck should be replaced around every 10 years, a redwood or cedar deck around every 20 years, and a hardwood should be replaced around every 30 years.
  • It has to be maintained regularly. A homeowner has to continually clean, stain, and reseal the deck. A good cleaning should be done every year, while the staining and resealing can be done every couple of years. Decks that are not maintained are more likely to stain, crack, and rot.


Though not common, aluminum decks have benefits that outweigh other types of decks.

The reasons people purchase aluminum decks include:

  • Remaining in good condition for approximately 50 years, it is one of the most long lasting types of decks a homeowner can have.
  • It needs relatively little maintenance.
  • This deck will weather all types of weather. The heat is not going to cause the aluminum to warp or crack. In sunny weather, the deck will maintain a relatively cool temperature, making it comfortable for bare feet. And the cold or wet temperatures are not going to cause it to rot or rust.
  • Aluminum is one of the strongest materials to make a deck out of but is also one of the lightest.
  • The deck can be created without gaps between the planks, with built in water draining channels.

The negative aspects are:

  • It is one of the most expensive types of desks a homeowner can have.


A plastic deck is made completely of new or recycled plastic.
The positives aspects of having a plastic deck are:

  • Typically, a plastic deck is going to have a non-slip coating that prevents homeowners from slipping when the deck is wet.
  • It does not need a lot of maintenance; no staining or sanding is required, just the regular cleaning.
  • Plastic is not going to stain, fade, warp, and can endure harsh hot and cold temperatures without damaging.

The negatives include:

  • The deck can become extremely hot during warm temperatures, causing it to be unsafe for homeowners to walk barefoot. A plastic deck that is darker in color will absorb more heat than a lighter colored deck.
  • A plastic deck can be hard to match with the majority of styles of homes because of its unnatural look.
  • Because it is not as sturdy as other types of deck material, it needs extra support built in to make sure it does not sag.
  • The extra support required is going to cause it to be more expensive than a wooden deck but not as expensive as an aluminum deck.


This material is a combination of both recycled wood and plastic.
The positive qualities of a composite deck are:

  • It is one of the most environmentally friendly choices.
  • Composite looks similarly to wood but does not have to be maintained like wood. Meaning that composite is another more low maintenance deck option, only requiring an annual cleaning.
  • If you enjoy DYI projects, a composite desk is one of the simpler types of decks to put together.
  • A composite deck can enhance the beauty of a home, as there are many styles and colors available to match a home.
  • It is not going to stain, rot, or split like other materials.

The negatives are:

  • It is more expensive. In comparison to a regular type of wood like pine, a homeowner is going to have to pay double or triple the cost to purchase composite.
  • The more protective features, the more expensive. Purchasing a composite deck that has a UV and scratch resistant coating is going to increase the cost.
  • Composite, when continually exposed to sun, is going to fade over time.
  • If not cleaned annually, a composite desk risks mildew growth.
  • It is not the most long-lasting material, as it should be replaced around every 20 years.

There are countless types of decks options available. The options only seem to be increasing as decks become more popular. As you research, there is no right answer. Your style, plan for use, money available, style of home, and willingness to maintain the deck are all going to play into what type of deck is going to work best for you.

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