Decking Materials Explained: Finding Your Perfect Fit

At Olympic Decks, we understand that choosing the right decking materials is a pivotal decision in creating the outdoor space of your dreams. With so many options to choose from, it's important to navigate this selection process with confidence and clarity. And that’s how you found yourself here!

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Decking Materials

In this blog, we’ll embark on a journey through the world of decking materials, shedding light on the importance of your choice and how it plays a central role in both the durability and aesthetics of your deck. We believe that an informed decision is the foundation of a successful deck project, and we’re here to provide you with the knowledge you need.

So, whether you’re envisioning a classic wood deck, exploring the benefits of composite materials, or considering alternative options in your Washington home, join us as we set the stage for an informed decision-making process. Our goal is to empower you to make choices that will not only enhance your outdoor living space but also stand the test of time.

Let’s get started on the fascinating reality of decking materials, one plank at a time, and uncover the perfect fit for your next deck project.

Olympic Decks

Wood Decking Materials: A Natural Choice

When it comes to decking materials, wood holds a timeless appeal that resonates with many homeowners. Its classic charm and warm, natural aesthetics make it a popular choice for those seeking to bring a touch of the outdoors to their outdoor living spaces.

In this section, Olympic Decks will explore the world of wood decking materials, delving into both traditional options like Cedar, Redwood, and Pressure-Treated Lumber, as well as the exotic elegance of IPE Wood.

Traditional Charm: Wood as a Decking Option

Classic Wood Types: Cedar, Redwood, and Pressure-Treated Lumber


Cedar wood is celebrated for its distinct aroma, rich color variations, and natural resistance to decay and insects. It exudes a warm, rustic charm that complements various architectural styles. Cedar’s durability and workability make it a favorite among homeowners.

Decking Materials
Decking Materials


Redwood showcases deep reddish hues and a unique grain pattern, making it a striking choice for deck construction. It’s prized for its natural resistance to decay and pests, ensuring longevity. Redwood’s visual appeal often deepens with age, creating an inviting atmosphere.

Pressure-Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated lumber is a cost-effective option known for its durability. Treated with preservatives, it resists decay, rot, and insect infestations. This choice offers a balance between affordability and longevity, making it a popular selection for many deck projects.

Decking Materials

Pros and Cons of Wood Decking


  • Natural Beauty: Wood decks boast a warm and inviting aesthetic that harmonizes with outdoor environments.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Cedar and Redwood are renewable resources when sourced responsibly.
  • Customization: Wood decks can be stained or painted to achieve the desired appearance.
  • Repairability: Damaged wood boards can be easily replaced, extending the life of the deck.


  • Maintenance: Wood decks require periodic sealing or staining to preserve their appearance and protect against weathering.
  • Vulnerability: While Cedar and Redwood have natural resistance, they are not entirely immune to decay or insects.
  • Lifespan: Wood decks may have a shorter lifespan compared to some composite materials.
  • Initial Investment: Exotic wood options can be pricier than other materials upfront.

Exotic Elegance: The Appeal of IPE Wood

Characteristics and Benefits of IPE Wood

  • Exotic Beauty: IPE wood, often called “Ironwood,” boasts a stunning deep brown color and a tight grain pattern that exudes sophistication. Its beauty adds a touch of luxury to any outdoor space.
  • Exceptional Durability: IPE wood is incredibly dense and naturally resistant to pests, rot, and decay. It can withstand the harshest weather conditions, making it ideal for long-lasting decks.
  • Low Maintenance: IPE wood requires minimal maintenance, as it naturally resists moisture and decay. Occasional cleaning is typically all that’s needed to keep its appearance pristine.

Considerations for Choosing IPE Wood

  • Cost: IPE wood is considered a premium decking material and comes with a higher price tag than some other options. However, its longevity and low maintenance requirements can justify the initial investment.
  • Installation: Due to its density, IPE wood may be more challenging to work with than softer woods. Hiring experienced professionals is often recommended for IPE wood deck construction.
  • Appearance: IPE wood’s rich color may naturally fade to a silver-gray patina over time. Some homeowners embrace this change, while others prefer to maintain the original color with periodic staining.

In the world of wood decking materials, you have a spectrum of choices, from the classic charm of Cedar and Redwood to the exotic elegance of IPE wood. Each option brings its own unique character and benefits to your outdoor space, allowing you to tailor your deck to your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Decking Materials

Composite Decking Materials: Modern Innovation

When it comes to decking materials, composite decking stands as a shining example of modern innovation. In this section, we’ll embark on a journey to understand the intricate components of composite decking, delve into the key advantages it offers, explore the different types, and uncover the sustainability and eco-friendly aspects that make it an attractive choice for homeowners.

Composite Decking Overview

Understanding Composite Decking Components

  • Wood Fiber or Flour: Composite decking typically includes a blend of wood fibers or flour, often sourced from recycled materials. This element lends a natural look and texture to the deck while minimizing the use of virgin wood.
  • Plastic or Polymer: The core of composite decking consists of plastic or polymer materials. These components provide durability, weather resistance, and resistance to pests, ensuring a longer lifespan.
  • Additives: Various additives, such as color pigments, UV stabilizers, and bonding agents, are incorporated into the composite mix. These additives enhance the deck’s appearance, protect it from UV damage, and improve structural integrity.

Key Advantages of Composite Decking

  • Durability: Composite decking is engineered to withstand the elements, making it resistant to moisture, rot, insects, and fading. It offers a longer lifespan than traditional wood decks.
  • Low Maintenance: Unlike wood decks that require regular staining or sealing, composite decking needs minimal maintenance. Occasional cleaning is usually sufficient to keep it looking pristine.
  • Aesthetic Versatility: Composite decking comes in a wide range of colors and textures, allowing homeowners to achieve their desired look. It can mimic the appearance of wood without the associated drawbacks.
  • Eco-Friendly: Many composite decking materials incorporate recycled content, reducing the need for virgin materials. Additionally, their long lifespan means fewer replacements and less waste in landfills.

Types of Composite Decking

Capped Composite Decking

  • Advanced Protection: Capped composite decking features an additional protective layer on top of the core. This layer enhances durability, resistance to staining, and color retention.
  • Realistic Wood Grain: Capped composite decking often showcases realistic wood grain textures and rich colors, providing a genuine wood look.

PVC Decking

  • 100% PVC Composition: PVC decking is made entirely from polyvinyl chloride, resulting in a highly durable and low-maintenance option.
  • Consistent Color: PVC decking maintains its color over time and doesn’t require staining or sealing, making it ideal for homeowners seeking a hassle-free solution.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Aspects of Composite Decking

  • Recycled Content: Many composite decking brands incorporate recycled materials, reducing the environmental impact and conserving resources.
  • Longevity: The extended lifespan of composite decking means fewer replacements and less waste, contributing to sustainability.
  • Reduced Maintenance: Low maintenance requirements translate to fewer chemicals and resources needed for deck upkeep, aligning with eco-conscious practices.

Composite decking represents a fusion of innovation, durability, and eco-friendliness. As you explore all the different options of decking materials with Olympic Decks, consider the advantages and versatility that composite decking brings to your outdoor living space.

Decking Materials

Decking Materials Comparison: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Wood vs. Composite

When choosing the right decking materials for your project, it’s essential to compare the key factors that influence your decision. Here, we’ll explore the comparison between wood and composite decking, focusing on durability, maintenance, aesthetics, and cost considerations.

Wood vs. Composite Decking: Which Stands the Test of Time?

  • Durability and Longevity: Wood decking materials like Cedar and Redwood offer natural beauty but may require more maintenance to combat decay and pests. In contrast, composite decking is engineered for durability, resisting moisture, rot, and insects, resulting in a longer lifespan.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Wood decks may demand periodic staining or sealing to maintain their appearance and resist weathering. Composite decks, on the other hand, need minimal maintenance, typically only requiring occasional cleaning.
  • Aesthetics and Customization: Wood decks provide a warm, classic look that harmonizes with outdoor settings, but they may fade or require regular maintenance. Composite decking offers a wide range of colors and textures, mimicking wood while providing low-maintenance beauty.

Evaluating Decking Material Costs

  • Initial Investment vs. Long-Term Savings: Wood decking may have a lower upfront cost, but it can incur higher maintenance expenses over time. Composite decking, with its durability and minimal maintenance requirements, offers long-term savings.
  • Return on Investment: Consider the return on investment when choosing your decking material. Composite decks often increase property value due to their durability and aesthetics, potentially providing a better return on your initial investment.

Simplifying the comparison between wood and composite decking allows homeowners to focus on the key considerations that will impact their decision-making process.

Decking Materials

Making the Right Choice

As you explore decking materials for your project, it’s essential to consider the specific applications where these materials excel. We’ll delve into how certain decking materials are tailored for various scenarios, such as pool decks, rooftop decks, and high-traffic areas. Additionally, we’ll discuss the steps to make the right choice that aligns with your priorities and lifestyle.

Material for Specific Applications

  • Pool Decks: When it comes to pool decks, safety, slip resistance, and durability are paramount. Consider materials like composite decking with textured surfaces or specialized pool deck pavers designed to provide excellent traction and withstand constant exposure to water and sunlight.
  • Rooftop Decks: Rooftop decks require materials that can handle unique challenges, such as weight restrictions and weather exposure. Options like lightweight composite decking or PVC decking are suitable choices, offering durability without adding excessive weight to your structure.
  • High-Traffic Areas: Areas with heavy foot traffic, such as entryways or outdoor entertaining spaces, benefit from durable decking materials. Look for options like capped composite decking or hardwoods like IPE, which can withstand frequent use and maintain their aesthetics.

Assessing Your Priorities and Lifestyle

  • Prioritize Safety: If you have children or anticipate poolside activities, prioritize safety by choosing slip-resistant materials for your pool deck.
  • Consider Maintenance: Assess how much time you’re willing to dedicate to deck maintenance. If minimal upkeep is essential, consider low-maintenance materials like composite or PVC decking.
  • Account for Aesthetics: Factor in your desired aesthetics. Some materials excel in replicating the appearance of natural wood, while others offer contemporary and sleek options.

Consulting with a Professional Deck Builder

Engaging with a professional deck builder like Olympic Decks is invaluable when considering specialized applications. They possess the expertise to recommend materials that align with your project’s unique requirements. Their insights can help you make an informed decision that balances aesthetics, durability, and functionality.

Incorporating Decking Materials into Your Deck Design

When designing your deck, choose materials that complement your overall design concept. Consider how the decking materials interact with other elements, such as railings, lighting, and landscaping, to create a cohesive and visually appealing outdoor space.

By assessing your priorities, seeking professional advice, and integrating the right decking material into your design, you can ensure that your deck not only meets your specific needs but also enhances your outdoor living experience.

Decking Materials

Finalizing Your Decking Materials With Olympic Decks

The choice of decking materials is a pivotal decision for your deck project. It directly influences the aesthetics, durability, and maintenance requirements of your outdoor space. It’s essential to consider factors such as durability, aesthetics, and safety when selecting the right decking material that aligns with your unique lifestyle and preferences. Research and understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of various materials empower homeowners to make informed choices.

For personalized guidance and expert advice in making your decking material selection in Washington State, Olympic Decks is here to assist you. Our team is ready to provide tailored consultations, ensuring that your choice suits your vision and lifestyle.

Contact us today to embark on the journey of creating your ideal outdoor living space. With our support, you can confidently select the perfect material to bring your dream deck to life.

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