How to pick the right material for your deck

When it comes to building outdoor porches or decks in Chicago, there are three types of materials you can choose from: natural woods, hardwoods and composite materials. How do you know which type is best for you? Here’s the lowdown on our favorite types of deck materials, how much they cost and how they’ll hold up.

SOUTHERN YELLOW PINE
Pros:
Almost 80% of all decks in the United States are made out of Southern Yellow Pine, and for good reason. It’s easily accessible, and it’s the cheapest building material around.
Cons: It has a high moisture content, so as soon as you put it outside, it starts to dry out and warp. In fact, you might notice bending in the wood shortly after a deck is installed.

CEDAR
Pros: Cedar makes for a beautiful, long-lasting deck. It has less of a moisture content than pine, so it is not as prone to warping, and the natural tanins in cedar prevent it from rotting or mildewing.
Cons: Cedar costs about 20% more than Southern Pine.

CLEAR CEDAR
Pros: “Clear cedar” is a term for cedar boards that don’t show any knots, giving your deck a sleek, clean look.
Cons: About 50 to 70% more expensive than regular cedar. Also, because this is a soft wood, it can be scratched easily, so it may not be a good option if you have dogs.

IPE, OR BRAZILIAN WALNUT
Pros: Grown in the rainforests of Central America, Ipe is exceptionally durable and dense and virtually impermeable to water. It can be made “clear” with no visible knots, and that combined with its dark coloring, make for a dramatic, sophisticated deck.
Cons: Ipe is so dense that it you have to pre-drill holes in it just to hammer in a nail, making the construction process longer and more involved. It’s slightly more expensive than clear cedar.

COMPOSITE MATERIALS
Pros: Unlike a wooden deck, which can rot and warp, a deck made out of composite materials will look great and last for decades. We use two different brands — Trex and Timbertech – both of which are made out of a mixture of recycled plastic and wood fibers.
Cons: The most expensive option (three times more expensive than cedar). They can also get really hot in the sun.

If you’re looking for someone who builds porches or decks in Chicago, contact Punch Construction today!