DIY Decking: Creating the Perfect Party

With winter slowly passing, it’s time for us to prepare for summer barbeques, parties, and random get-togethers. One of the greatest additions to your home that will provide you with the ultimate hosting environment is a new deck. Picture this: you’re in your backyard, it’s a nice, sunny weekend morning, you have your coffee and tablet in hand, catching up on the news while lounging on an Adirondack chair. Not a bad place to be, is it?
Now that you’ve got the perfect deck for your backyard in your mind, it’s time to figure out which material is best for your deck. With four common – and one uncommon – materials at your disposal, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each type to see which materials would provide you with the look you want, and which will last longer in the area you live. Here’s a breakdown of five decking options for you to choose from.


You read the headline correctly. Perhaps you’re scratching your head right now, but it’s true, you can use aluminum decking to create your perfect party spot. While it may not seem to be an appropriate decking material, aluminum is an ideal material for a few reasons. Aluminum decks don’t rot or rust, splinter or crack, and they are mold- and slip-resistant, meaning your aluminum deck is up to tackle any storm Mother Nature throws its way.
Other major benefits of choosing aluminum decking include that it cannot catch fire, it’s 100% recyclable, and it won’t become brittle in extreme weather conditions. Add to the fact that you won’t have to worry about bugs that eat wood decking, and it almost seems too good to be true. However, when compared to other decking options, aluminum is approximately twice as strong, yet is about 75% lighter than other decking material options.
Even better yet, you won’t have to purchase specialty saw blades for aluminum decking, as your carbide-tipped blades you use for cutting wood can easily handle aluminum decking. Surprisingly enough, aluminum decking stays cooler than other decking options, as aluminum dissipates heat better than the other decking options below. The only true negative about aluminum decking is the cost, as it can run as high as five times the cost of other decking materials.


Did you know that composite decking is amongst the highest-selling decking materials on the market today? With dozens of manufacturers, composite decking comes in a wide array of color options and is generally made of polyethylene. Composites are made primarily of recycled plastic and wood fibers, meaning they are weather-resistant, won’t splinter, warp, rot, and perhaps most importantly, composites are stain-resistant.
Composites come in similar sizes as traditional wood decking options, and thanks to the number of manufacturers of composite decking, this is typically a less-expensive option when compared to wood decking materials. While you may be skeptical about installing a composite deck, there are many advantages of choosing this material. Composites will never require sanding, staining or finishing, and are very low-maintenance. However, molds can grow in areas that are darker and receive less sunlight, and as they do include wood fibers, you will find areas that are showing the beginning signs of decay.

Pressure-Treated Decking

Another very common decking material, pressure-treated decking is incredibly affordable, available at any home improvement center, and is extremely easy to cut and work with. Most of this decking is chemically treated to fight against rot, fungi, and bugs that might try to eat your decking. While pressure-treated decking is great in the sense it won’t decimate your bank account, there is one major negative to choosing pressure-treated decking for your new deck.
The main issue is due to the fact that pressure-treated decking, which is commonly made of southern yellow pine, is not dimensionally stable. As a result, you’re likely to see this type of decking crack, warp, and even split. In order to keep your deck in prime party-hosting shape, you will be required to maintain pressure-treated decking more regularly than other decking materials. You will need to pressure wash your deck at least once every year, and will also need to apply a wood preservative or stain at least every two years.

Tropical Hardwoods

Tigerwood, cumaru, ipe, and Brazilian Walnut are all tropical hardwoods that are used for decking. These hardwoods, which are extremely hard and durable, offer rich-grained looks and are naturally resistant to a wide variety of insects and rot. One of the main issues with choosing a tropical hardwood for your decking is that these woods are extremely dense, making them much more difficult to cut. Furthermore, unless you screw a pilot hole, boring a screw or nail into this decking will be next to impossible.
Most tropical hardwoods will weather to a softer, almost silver color if you choose not to stain them. It is suggested that you not stain these hardwood decking options for up to three months after installing so as to allow the hardwood to weather. This will allow excess oils to leave the hardwood, which in turn, will allow your hardwoods to accept a solid coat of finish.

Red Woods

The western softwoods, red cedar and redwood offer a very rich color, perfect for adding a deck with some “pop.” These decking options are not filled with chemicals and preservatives, making them a commonly used decking option. Interestingly enough, these softwoods are naturally resistant to decay and insects, thanks to natural oils and tannins.
The main thing to keep in mind when choosing a red wood decking option is knowing its grade. One thing many homeowners don’t know is that your decking will be less susceptible to damage caused by weather and insects if it is made of heartwood – that which is closer to the center of a tree – compared to those made of sapwoods, which are softer and more likely to experience decay. Though these redwoods provide a rich look to your deck, they are significantly more expensive than pressure-treated decking, meaning you can probably get more for your money in another decking option.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------About the author:
Rachael Jones is a blogger for DIYMother

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