What Are The Cheapest Decking Materials

What Are The Cheapest Decking Materials

The cost of decking materials will vary depending on the type and quality of material you choose, where you live, and what type of lumberyard you buy from. The price of decking is a commodity just like gasoline.

The cheapest decking material is pressure treated wood. You can expect to pay between $.75 and $1.25 per linear foot for 5/4×6 ACQ treated decking from a big box store. You should sort through the bins to find the best boards. Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards usually only stock short lengths of decking less than 12′ which will leave your deck with more seams. If you go to a local lumberyard where contractors are more likely to buy from you will usually find higher grade materials with longer available lengths at a slightly higher price. Pressure treated wood is considered an economic material which is ideal for people working within a tight budget but doesn’t always hold up as well over time. Routinely staining your deck will help protect your deck but it is not uncommon for pressure treated decking to split, crack, warp, and turn gray in a few years. Looking for home deck services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered. 

Cedar and redwood decking prices range from about $1.25 to $2.00 per linear foot for 5/4×6 stock. Redwood is commonly available on the west coast but is scarce in the eastern United States. Higher grade materials and long lengths will cost a premium.

With over 100 brands to choose from there is a wide range of prices for vinyl and composite decking. The higher end name brands usually cost between $3.00 to $4.00 per linear foot. The big box stores offer economy composite materials for about half the price. As an additional cost many composite decking systems use special screws or hidden fasteners that can be expensive.

Exotic hardwood decking materials such as Ipe are usually the most expensive option. You can expect to pay between $4.00 to $5.00 for 3/4×6 Ipe. Ipe is only available at higher end lumber yards and is usually a special order item. Exotic hardwoods usually require side mounted hidden fastener clips which will add to the total cost.

Best Deck Material for Your House

From budget to aftercare, so many factors come into play when picking the best decking material for your home. While wood was earlier pretty much the only choice, now, there are a multitude of options available to you. However, know that they’re not all created equal. Below, a detailed look at each.

Pressure-Treated Wood

One of the least-expensive decking materials you can buy, pressure-treated decking is used on about 75% of all U.S. decks. It’s chemically treated to resist rot, mold, and insects. However, it usually made from inferior-grades of pine or fir that tend to crack and warp over time, making maintenance an ongoing chore. In the past, pressure-treated wood was treated with chromated copper arsenate, a suspected carcinogen. Today’s P-T wood uses safer, less-toxic preservatives. Cost: $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot. Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of decking services Melbourne services. 

Pros: This is by far the most popular option even now, being used on almost 75 percent of all new decks. Since the wood has been chemically treated to withstand rot, mold, and insects, people tend to gravitate toward it—and its low price point ($1.50 to $2.50 per square foot) doesn’t hurt either. It’s available pretty much everywhere, and easy to fasten.

Cons: Maintenance is definitely an issue with this kind of decking material—it has the tendency to crack or warp over time. In the past, pressure-treated wood was treated with chromated copper arsenate, a suspected carcinogen. Now, though, it’s treated with less toxic chemicals, making it relatively safe for the home.

Tropical hardwood

Ipe and other tropical hardwoods are the luxury choice and they’ll last up to 50 years. Because ipe is so hard, it doesn’t accept stains or clear finishes very well; use an oil-based penetrating sealer formulated for tropical decking boards. Make sure the tropical hardwood decking boards you buy come from sustainably harvested sources.

Pros: Tropical hardwoods are everywhere—think ipe, cumaru, and tigerwood, just to name a few. A true luxury choice, tropical hardwoods are grainy, hard, and durable, as well as naturally resistant to issues like rotting and insects.

Cons: Similar to redwood and cedar, they come with a pretty high price tag (around $8 to $12 per square foot), and are fairly dense, making it hard to drill holes into them. They don’t really accept stains or finishes very well either, so if you’re determined to add one, make sure that it’s been especially formulated for tropical hardwood. If you choose to not stain the deck, definitely apply a UV-blocking clear wood preservative every three to four years—since, like cedar and redwood, tropical hardwoods also weather to a silvery color when they’re not stained. It’s also important to know where your tropical hardwood comes from: Look for those from sustainably harvested sources.

Concrete

Pros: Versatile, practical, chic, and modern when well designed, concrete is a surprisingly good deck material option. Even better? It’s super easy to clean.

Cons: Some may feel like it has less character than other options, and it can also get very hot in the sun.

Redwood

Similar in characteristics to cedar, redwood is the classic choice for natural wood decking material. Although redwood decking is generally available in the West, it can be harder to find in the eastern regions of the country. It’s pricier than cedar, with select, clear grades of redwood commanding top dollar. Cost: $6 to $8 per square foot.

Pros: Redwood is another really nice natural option, and shares several characteristics with cedar wood—the natural tannins, lightweight yet strong finish, and gorgeous color. However, redwood isn’t as easily available, particularly in the eastern regions of the country. (That might also be why it costs more than cedar: about $6 to $8 per square foot.)

Cons: It’s also important to note that both redwood and cedar require an annual power washing, as well as a coat finish every three to four years. This isn’t too intense of a maintenance program to be sure, but you definitely need to remember it!

Composites

Pros: Composite decking materials are made primarily from wood fibers and recycled plastics, and are among the fastest-growing decking options available today. Since they’ve been artificially created, they won’t warp or splinter, and they also don’t get affected by rot or insects. This makes them a really durable option, since they don’t require too much maintenance.

Cons: They’re maintenance-free: Mold and mildew can grow on damp spaces, and since they’re partially wood, some composites may end up showing signs of decay. They can be on the pricier side depending on the company you pick—around $7 to $10 per square foot—and you have to make sure that you choose a reputed, high-quality company.

Bluestone

Pros: Bluestone is rich color in color, it’s organic, and it integrates well with traditional architecture. It’s also a great nonslip surface when wet, making it particularly well-suited for rainy regions or backyards with swimming pools.

Cons: It can get uncomfortably hot when the sun is beating down on it in; travertine is a cool-to-the touch stone alternative. Expect to spend about $4-$8 per square foot, according to ImproveNet.com.

Cedar

For aficionados of natural wood, cedar is a natural choice. Widely available, lightweight, and strong, cedar decking makes for a beautiful deck. The wood has tannins and naturally occurring oils that are resistant to rot and insects, but protecting the wood with stain and sealer helps keep the wood free of cracks and splinters. Without protection, both cedar and redwood will eventually turn a soft gray color. Cost: $3.75 to $5 per square foot.

Pros: Most purists love cedar and redwood decks, particularly due to their gorgeous, rich color. Cedar wood has a lovely natural hue and is widely available throughout the US. It’s also extremely lightweight, yet strong, making it ideal for places with inclement weather conditions. It contains tannins and naturally occurring oils that make it resistant to rot and insects, but you can also treat it with stain and sealer to prevent cracks or splinters. Note, also, that if you don’t use protectants, the color of your cedar will change to a soft grey over time.

Cons: The main issue is the price, averaging at about $3.75 to $5 per square foot. And note that all types of cedar aren’t the same: The four best grades of cedar to use for decking are architect clear, custom clear, architect knotty, and custom knotty (listed from clearest to most knotty). So the nicer you go, the more it’s going to cost you.

Grass

Pros: Contemporary, natural, peaceful, and colorful, turn your deck into a grassy lawn. It’s also cheaper to install than others if you seed (think: 8 to 30 cents per square foot!)

Cons: Keep in mind that grass needs sun exposure to thrive. And if you use it as your decking material around a saltwater swimming pool, it can can get brown spots when the water splashes it.

Aluminium

Prefinished aluminum decking is strong, weatherproof, and (of course) rot, rust, and insect-proof. The decking “boards” are lightweight and easy to cut with special saw blades. The extruded aluminum planks are finished with a thick, slip-resistant coating that comes in many colors and is maintenance-free. Special fasteners are required to secure the decking to your deck’s substructure. Cost: $6 to $8 per square foot.

Pros: You might have never seen an aluminum deck before, but they do exist. They’re convenient in a lot of ways: They won’t rust, warp, splinter, rot, crack, or check, and they’re weather and mold-resistant as well. Since you don’t have to worry about insects, it’s extremely easy to take care of them, and they’ll never peel or blister. You’ll also be happy to know that when compared with wood, composite, and plastic lumber, aluminum decking is three to four times lighter, yet two to three times stronger.

Cons: Good things don’t come cheap—the most expensive of all the options, aluminum comes in at an average of $11 per square foot, with some companies going even higher than that. It also doesn’t have the gorgeous color of hardwood, so be sure that’s a look you’re willing to sacrifice for convenience.

What Are The Cheapest Decking Materials 2

Step-By-Step Guide to Building a Deck

A deck can create a beautiful space for entertainment or to have a place to just sit back and relax. It is a great addition to any home and can also increase its value. This step-by-step guide will prepare you with the knowledge required to what is necessary to building a deck. Check out our Melbourne decking services services here. 

Step 1: Request permission from your local council 

In Australia you have to request permission from your local council if you want to build or add anything large to your home. So before you begin planning, seek out the approval for the job from your local council.

Step 2: Begin the planning

With any home project it is important to plan out your options as there are decks come in many differentating designs, materials and installations. Whether you want to go with a wraparound, multi-teir, attached, detached or rooftop over garage deck. There are many different styles to choose from, so it is a good idea to discuss your options. It is also a good idea to do your research with prices, so you can put your project budget together. 

Step 3: Decide on the materials 

There are several different timbers used for decking and all have specific benefits. It is recommended to do your research and speak to a hardwood specialise to find what material will be most suited to your deck.

Here is a list of the best timber used for decking:

  • Treated Pine (inexpensive)
  • Blackbut (low maintenance)
  • Jarrrah (termite resistant)
  • Tallowwood (water resistant)
  • Ironbark (long lasting)
  • Stringybark (great compromise)
  • Spotted Gum (fire-resistant)
  • Merbau (affordable)

Step 4: Get all the right tools and supplies for the project

There is a large range of tools and supplies needed to complete this project. So it is a good idea to get a head start on obtaining all these before you start the project. 

The following tools and supplies will need to be acquired: 

  • Shovel
  • Chisel
  • Hand or powered saw
  • Screw Driver
  • Spanners
  • Measuring Tape
  • Hammer
  • Square
  • Builder’s Line
  • Electric Drill and Drill Bits
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Spirit Level
  • Wooden and Metal Stakes
  • Spray paint
  • Glue
  • Nail Gun
  • Fastener

Step 5: Measure and mark out your deck

Since all the preparation is done for the deck, it is now time to start the measuring and marking of the area. To do this, you want to measure out all the points with taking note of the height of the deck and the joists. You can use sills to mark out the perimeter of the deck. After installing the sills into the soil, you want to use string cord to secure the height around the perimeter of the area.

Step 6: Install the stumps and bearers

Before installing the stumps and bearers you want to first outline the digging holes where the sills sat with spray paint. Once the holes are outlined with the spray paint you can move onto digging the wholes, with keeping in mind your set hole depth. It is recommended to consult with an inspector and get them to look at the holes before you start filling the holes. The next step will require you to install the stumps and the bearers. 

Step 7:  Install the joists 

With installing the joists you need to measure and markout the wall-plate. You will need to attach the wall-plate and once done you can attach the joist. As a precautionary, it is suggested to measure the first joist with the second just to make sure that your measurements are right. 

Step 8: Lay the decking

Now it’s time to lay the decking, this is the fun part. Before you start laying you want to cut your timber down to the correct size. Once complete, one-by-one you need to lay a timber slab down and fasten it with drilling it into place. Repeat this process and you will have a complete deck! 

Step 9: Enjoy your new deck!

Most importantly, it is time to relax and enjoy your deck after all your hard work!

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