Choosing the best type of Decking: Pros and Cons


Decking plays a pivotal role in outdoor spaces, providing a platform for relaxation, entertainment, and leisure activities. Whether it’s adjoining a residential home or encircling a pool, the choice of decking material significantly impacts the durability and satisfaction derived from the space.

We at PLJ are the leaders in carpentry services in Cape Cod, MA, and specialists in decking services.

A wooden decking with white railings and a lake in the background.

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What is Decking?

Decking encompasses the construction of a flat surface, typically raised from the ground, crafted from various materials such as wood, composite, PVC, or aluminum. Serving as an extension of indoor living areas, it offers a comfortable outdoor environment for various activities.

Importance of Choosing the Right Decking Material: Factors to Consider

Selecting the appropriate decking material is critical as it directly influences the longevity, aesthetics, and functionality of your outdoor space. Several factors require consideration to ensure an informed decision.

  • Climate: Assess the prevailing climate conditions in your area to choose a decking material that can withstand extremes such as heat, cold, or moisture. For instance, in regions prone to humidity, opt for materials resistant to mold and mildew.
  • Budget: Determine your budget for both initial installation and long-term maintenance of the decking. While some materials may entail higher upfront costs, they could offer substantial savings over time due to reduced maintenance requirements.
  • Maintenance Preferences: Evaluate your inclination towards undertaking ongoing maintenance tasks, including cleaning, sealing, and repairs. Choose decking materials that align with your maintenance preferences to preserve the longevity and aesthetics of your outdoor space.

By thoroughly considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision that meets your requirements and enhances the enjoyment of your outdoor living area.

Types of Decking Materials

Various decking materials are available in the market, each accompanied by its unique advantages and disadvantages. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of the most popular options.

Wood Decking

Wood decking presents a traditional and aesthetically pleasing choice that complements diverse architectural styles. Available in different species like cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine.


  • Natural appearance: Wood decking imparts a warm and rustic ambiance, enhancing the beauty of outdoor spaces.
  • Easy customization: It allows staining or painting to achieve desired colors and finishes.
  • Environmentally friendly: Being a renewable resource, wood is an eco-conscious choice for environmentally aware homeowners.


  • Maintenance requirements: Regular maintenance such as sealing, staining, and repairs is necessary to prevent rot and decay.
  • Susceptible to damage: Prone to warping, splintering, and insect infestation, especially in humid climates.
  • Environmental impact: Wood harvesting for decking can contribute to deforestation and habitat loss if not sustainably sourced.

Composite Decking

Composite decking serves as a popular alternative to wood, crafted from a blend of recycled wood fibers and plastic, offering the appearance of wood without high maintenance requirements.


  • Durability: Highly resistant to rot, mold, and insect damage, making it suitable for various climates.
  • Low maintenance: Unlike wood, composite decking does not require staining, sealing, or painting, thus saving time and money.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Despite initial costs being higher than wood, long-term savings accrue due to durability and low maintenance.


  • Limited color selection: May have a restricted range of colors and textures compared to natural wood.
  • Heat retention: Some composite decking materials retain heat, making them uncomfortable to walk on barefoot during hot weather.
  • Cost considerations: The upfront cost may deter budget-conscious homeowners, despite long-term benefits.

PVC Decking

PVC decking, made from 100% synthetic materials, offers exceptional durability and low maintenance, resistant to moisture, mold, and mildew.


  • Low maintenance: Minimal upkeep is required as it does not demand staining, sealing, or painting.
  • Heat resistance: Remains cool even in direct sunlight, offering a comfortable surface for outdoor activities.
  • Cost considerations: Though initially pricier than wood, long-term savings are evident due to durability and longevity.


  • Limited aesthetics: May lack the natural appearance of wood, resulting in a less authentic outdoor experience.
  • Susceptible to scratches: Despite durability, PVC decking can be prone to scratching from furniture, pets, and heavy foot traffic.
  • Cost considerations: The upfront cost may exceed budgets, making it less accessible for some homeowners.

Aluminum Decking

Aluminum decking, lightweight and durable, offers exceptional strength and stability, resistant to rot, rust, and corrosion.


  • Durability: Impervious to moisture, insects, and decay, ensuring long-term performance and structural integrity.
  • Heat resistance: Remains cool even in high temperatures, ensuring comfort for barefoot walking.
  • Low maintenance: Minimal upkeep is required as it does not demand staining, sealing, or painting


  • Installation challenges: May be more challenging to install compared to other materials, necessitating specialized tools and expertise.
  • Limited aesthetic options: May have a restricted range of colors and finishes, limiting design possibilities.
  • Cost considerations: Though initial costs may be higher, long-term value and durability are evident.


Selecting the best decking material involves evaluating the pros and cons based on specific needs and preferences. Whether prioritizing aesthetics, durability, or affordability, there is a suitable decking option available to enhance the outdoor living experience.

Carefully assess factors such as climate, budget, and maintenance requirements to make an informed decision that ensures the long-term enjoyment and functionality of your outdoor space.

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