Wood for decking is popular due to its affordable price and timeless aesthetics. Even if there are some issues regarding wood use, many people still use it today. But in recent years, many people now prefer using non-wood alternatives like composite decking. Not only are they more durable and long-lasting than most types of wood, but some can be as attractive and as beautiful as the real thing.
However, with many choices for non-wood decking, many homeowners find it hard to choose one. The question is, what is the best non-wood decking material you can choose?
Different Types of Non-Wood Decking
While beautiful and affordable, there are quite a few issues when using wood decking. One of the biggest concerns is moisture damage. When exposed to moisture, most wood varieties will have fungi growth, which will eventually cause rotting. It can also cause the wood to warp, which is irreversible in most cases. For this reason, many opt to use non-wood decking instead.
There are a few varieties of non-wood decking materials you can choose from, and each has its ups and downs. Consider these three of the best and most popular non-wood decking materials today.
PVC Decking Materials
PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride, is a thermoplastic used for various applications in construction. PVC decking, also known as vinyl decking or plastic decking, uses boards made out of pure plastic. Because of this, PVC decks don’t suffer the issues you may encounter when using wood.
Because of their makeup, PVC decks are waterproof and resistant to moisture. They don’t splinter or rot like wood. They are also slightly lighter, making them easier to transport and install. Plastic decking is also low-maintenance and does not require any staining, sealing, or painting. While it’s more expensive than wood, the upkeep cost makes up for it. Over time, you will spend less on a plastic deck compared to a high-maintenance wooden deck.
However, there are a few downsides to PVC decking. While water-resistant, PVC can still warp due to high temperatures. They also get warm to touch fast. Because of this, you may want to opt for other non-wood alternatives if heating up is a concern. In terms of appearances, they look more polished and artificial. While some manufacturers do their best to imitate wood, most PVC decking boards won’t look like real wood.
Composite Decking Materials
Another popular option that you can choose is composites. Despite what many people may think, composites are not pure plastic decking. Unlike PVC, composites use both wood and plastic fibres, much to their benefit.
Like PVC, it provides superior protection from moisture damage. It is also resistant to mould, mildew, insect damage, and rotting. It also requires very little upkeep. It also doesn’t require yearly treatments, such as painting, sealing, and staining. Unlike vinyl decking, however, composite decking has better dimensional stability. While it still warps due to temperature, the wooden fibres embedded within the boards help it stay in shape. In most cases, composites are also slightly cheaper when compared to plastic decking.
But perhaps the most notable difference between PVC and composites is its appearance and aesthetics. While vinyl decks look synthetic and polished, composite decks appear more natural, rustic, and wood-like. Because of this, composites are a top choice among homeowners and professional builders.
But as with any material, it has a few disadvantages as well. Like vinyl, it’s significantly more expensive than wood. In most cases, you also can’t paint a composite deck like a wooden one. And while it’s low-maintenance, you will still need to do some upkeep. However, when it comes to design and cost, it’s one of the, if not the, best non-wood decking materials you can choose.
Aluminium Decking Materials
While not as commonly used as vinyl or composites, aluminium is another excellent option for non-wood decking. Aluminium is a rust-free metal, making it a perfect material for outdoor settings. It is also resistant to moisture, fungi, and weather. It doesn’t rot, crack, warp, or bend. It’s one of the most fire-resistant non-wood deckings you can use.
Another advantage of aluminium is its lightweight. It’s many times lighter than typical wood decking materials. Because of this, they are easy to transport, prepare, and install. But despite its little weight, it’s more durable than wood decks. As with composite and PVC decks, aluminium is low-maintenance and long-lasting.
However, there are also a few drawbacks to using aluminium. Among the non-wood decking options that you can choose from, it’s one of the most expensive. Like PVC, there are attempts to make it look like wood. However, it can’t match the appearance of real wood.
Best Non-Wood Decking Material
After considering everything, including the cost, appearance, and durability, composites are some of the best non-wood decking materials you can choose. They are long-lasting, resistant to outdoor conditions, and can last for years. Regardless, you won’t regret picking either of the three non-wood decking alternatives.