A deck means many things to many different people. It can mean a great place to spend the weekend and barbecue your favorite foods. It could mean a relaxing place to spend your morning by reading the paper and drinking your first cup of Joe. It could also mean the perfect place for your mini container garden, full of fresh flowers and herbs. Whatever your deck means to you, to most people, a deck means a solid wood based structure.
But conventional 5/4 pressure treated wood doesn't necessarily have to be the finished product on your deck. From basic PVC's to Aluminum, decking materials are many and varied using a complex variety of materials to create unconventional decking masterpieces. No matter who you hire to build your deck, it's up to you to choose the materials for the finished product. But before you do, use this guide to find the best alternative to the boring and bland pressure treated deck.
This amazing durable material is commonly used as a decking material on commercial applications such as hotels balcony's and railings. Because of its superior strength and long outdoor lifespan it is a favorite among commercial decking contractors. Throw in the fact that it needs very little maintenance and you've got a great product that will outlive you.
Many aluminum decks are easy to assemble. Tongue and groove panels or hidden clips prevent the surface from being penetrated. This allows for easy placement on top of roofs or other areas of the home where conventional wooden materials just won't cut it.
Is it wood or is it plastic? It's sort of both. Using wood flour and composite polymers, Trex is a unique and attractive decking alternative. What's great about the Trex system is that all of the framing members are made from aluminum and the complete system is termite, rot and fade resistant with even more strength than conventional 2x6 and 2x8 pressure treated decking.
Trex comes in a wide variety of colors and shades, but never needs painting. It's fade resistant and can easily be cleaned with a simple soap solution and scrub brush to bring it back to its original finish. Because Trex is so weatherproof, it has been used in many North American landmarks like Mt. Rushmore, the Everglades and the Toronto Boardwalk and is a great alternative to pressure treated wood.
A truly unique product indeed, BamDeck is a bamboo composite decking material. But you may be asking "isn't bamboo a wood"? No, bamboo is a grass that grows very quickly and nearly anywhere in the world. Because it only takes four years to reach maturity versus a pine tree that reaches cutting age around 15 years or more, bamboo composite decking is a very sustainable building material. And since it grows all over the world, shipping costs are much less than other non-wood decking products.
Bamboo composites are made from bamboo pulp and plastic polymers similar to other composite decking materials. It comes in a wide variety of colors and shades that can be matched together for unique styles and interesting designs. Best of all, bamboo composites come in decking boards, framing members, furniture and accessories for a complete deck made from bamboo.
Just like the vinyl siding on a house, vinyl decking can take just about any weather condition Mother Nature can throw at it and still come out looking like it did on the day it was installed. Virtually stain resistant when proper maintenance is done biannually, vinyl can stand the test of time for any decking surface.
Vinyl comes in a wide variety of colors and shades to create any design or pattern your heart desires. It can be attached easily to conventional framing members or composite materials with ease. Surface penetrations from screw holes tend to seal tight after time, helping to prevent decay of decking fasteners. Versatile and tough, vinyl decking is a great alternative to pressure treated lumber.
Since the 1980's Azek has been innovating conventional wood construction products with their unique formula for decking material. Based on a PVC polymer, Azek products are warp, rot, twist and fade resistant, just like many other composite wood decking materials. But Azek makes a claim that is hard to beat from a soft wood polymer composite. A key can leave a scratch on any competitor's soft wood materials. Azek decks will not scratch, dent or scuff unlike other claim-to-be-tough decking products.
Azek products are all inclusive to build your deck from the ground up. From decking framing members to the top of the newel post cover, Azek gives you the complete deck from A to Z. Combine that with exterior matching trim and siding for the ultimate in matching exterior beauty and durability that lasts a lifetime.
Interlocking Deck Tiles
While some of these materials can be made from wood (like cedar and redwood tiles) the majority of these unconventional decking materials creates the look of tile or pavers but is made from composites. It can be used over any flat surface, so old pressure treated 5/4 decking boards can be easily covered up with these unique products.
With the transition of outdoor rooms becoming more and more common place in modern design, interlocking deck tiles are the perfect flooring both inside and out. They create a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces for the ultimate in outdoor room design.
This unconventional decking material can allow any raised wooden deck to be covered in stone, brick, pavers, tile, slate or any other concrete bonding materials. Because wood and concrete don't get along well, the SilcaSystem uses a plastic tray that attaches to the wood surface and mediates the bond between concrete and wood.
What's truly unique about this elevated decking system is that combinations of materials can be used on any conventional wood frame. Wood butted up against stone, pavers up against wood, stone against brick—you get the picture, the possibilities are endless. Best of all, any existing elevated pressure treated wood deck can be used, allowing you to cheaply and effectively renovate any existing elevated wood frame deck.