Which Type of Deck Material Should I Use for My Deck Project?

One of the most exciting aspects of planning a home redecking project in Massachusetts is choosing the right deck material. But it can also be quite challenging, as there are more deck material options available today than ever before. Important considerations include climate, aesthetics and price, and not making a wise choice could result in many years of costly repairs and sleepless nights. To help make your decision a more rewarding one, use these tips from the pros at Seal-a-Deck.

Which Deck Features Matter Most?

Before shopping for deck materials, rank these features in order of importance:

• Appearance

• Feel

• Maintenance

• Longevity

• Environmental Impact

• Price

Once you’ve got your list, now it’s time to take a closer look at some of the better deck materials out there.


We work with these 4 types of wood decking at Seal-a-Deck:

1. Pressure Treated

Pros: In addition to being inexpensive, pressure-treated Southern yellow pine looks great, and is lightweight, strong, easy to install and feels good on bare feet. Pressure-treated pine also resists wood rot and termites very well.

Cons: Pressure-treated pine contains toxic chemicals that can harm the environment. It also needs to be cleaned and re-stained every two years to keep it from graying, and it does come from trees. A pine deck will also only last you about 15 years.

2. Cedar

Pros: Cedar decks naturally resist rot and insects and last up to 20 years with proper care. As a moderately priced wood, cedar is also lightweight and comfortable on the feet. Popular with many homeowners because of its esthetics, coloring and graining patterns, cedar decks look more luxurious than other, lower-priced woods.

Cons: Cedar comes from trees and is softer than other woods, which means it can get damaged easily by foot traffic. If does require cleaning and staining every two years to prevent fading and warping, especially in direct sunlight. If not maintained properly, weathered cedar will turn gray within a few years and absorb heat more readily.

3. Ipe

Pros: As an exotic-looking tropical hardwood, Ipe is extremely dense, highly durable and has a rich, dark brown color. Its fine texture and interlocking grain patterns also make it naturally resistant to moisture, fire, bugs and scratches. Ipe decks require little maintenance and are slip-resistant; which works well near the ocean. And, most Ipe decks last 25+ years.

Cons: Ipe trees are raised in South America, so transporting it requires much energy. As one of the most expensive and heaviest wood materials, Ipe’s unusual density also makes it difficult to work with.

4. Mahogany

Pros: Mahogany features rich reddish-brown hues, a knot-free appearance and tight graining. It looks great, won’t splinter and naturally resists wood rot. If maintained properly, a mahogany deck should last for 25 years.

Cons: Mahogany is more expensive than pine or cedar, and takes more upkeep than other wood materials. To protect its original color, Mahogany must be sealed with a good penetrating oil within two weeks of installation, and at least every 18 months thereafter.


Pros: Composites are eco-friendly because they come from recycled materials, including plastics and wood chips. Composite decks are very low-maintenance and don’t have to be sealed or stained like other wood products. However, they should be scrubbed annually to prevent mildew.

Cons: More expensive and heavier than other materials, composite decking will also “move” in response to temperature changes. And, a composite deck can’t completely mimic the beautiful natural colors, textures and graining patterns found in all-natural woods.


Pros: Very durable and virtually maintenance free, synthetic PVC products resist mold, cracks, splintering, warping and insects very well. For homeowners desiring a deck that will hold up in all weather conditions for decades, PVC is the first material we recommend. The PVC decking products that Seal-a-Deck installs all have limited lifetime warranties and are made from recycled materials.

Cons: For starters, PVC is a more expensive decking material that usually requires a professional install due to its complex fastening systems. A PVC deck doesn’t look, sound or feel like wood, and a PVC deck will “squeak” when walking on it. And, it still needs to be power washed annually to ward off mildew.

Your Massachusetts Source for Top-Quality Deck Construction Projects

Choosing the right redecking material for your deck project can be stressful and confusing. When you need some advice, call Seal-a-Deck. We’re an eco-friendly company that’s strongly committed to reducing waste and saving our valued clients money. In addition to redecking projects, we specialize in deck check-ups, deck repairs and new deck constructions for homeowners in Massachusetts area. To schedule a deck evaluation, call the pros at Seal-a-Deck today at 978-538-7325, or visit our website now at www.sealadeck.com!


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