Choosing the Best Decking Materials for Your DIY Project

Shane Chapman / Backyard Building Expert

Shane Chapman

Backyard Building Expert
See Short Bio

Building your own deck can be a rewarding project, transforming your backyard into a functional and stylish outdoor space. One of the first steps in this process is choosing the right decking material. The material you select will impact not only the look and feel of your deck but also its durability, maintenance needs, and overall cost. Therefore, understanding your options is crucial.

In recent years, there have been significant advancements in decking materials, offering more choices than ever before. From traditional wood to modern composites, each type of material has its unique benefits and drawbacks. As we explore these options, it's important to consider what will work best for us based on our specific needs and preferences.

Selecting the right material involves more than just aesthetic appeal. We also need to think about factors like weather resistance, ease of installation, and long-term maintenance. By taking the time to thoroughly research and understand our choices, we can ensure that our deck is built to meet our expectations and provide lasting enjoyment for years to come.

Understanding Different Types of Decking Materials

When it comes to building a deck, we have a variety of materials to choose from, each offering distinct advantages. The most common types include wood, composite, PVC, and aluminum. Understanding the characteristics of each type can help us decide which material is best for our DIY project.

Wood is a traditional choice known for its natural beauty. Common varieties like cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine are popular due to their durability and resistance to insects. Composite decking, made from a blend of wood fibres and plastic, offers the look of wood without the high maintenance. PVC decking consists of 100% plastic, making it resistant to moisture and mould. Lastly, aluminum decking is extremely strong and requires minimal upkeep, though it can be more expensive.

Pros and Cons of Popular Decking Options

To make an informed decision, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each decking material. Let's take a closer look at our options:

  • Wood Decking: Pros include its natural appearance and ease of customization. Cons involve regular maintenance such as staining, sealing, and susceptibility to rot and insect damage.
  • Composite Decking: This material is low-maintenance and long-lasting. It resists fading, staining, and scratching. However, it can be more expensive upfront and sometimes lacks the authentic look of real wood.
  • PVC Decking: PVC is highly resistant to moisture, mould, and mildew, making it a good choice for wet climates. It's also low maintenance. The downside is that PVC can be prone to warping in extreme temperatures and may not have the same aesthetic appeal as wood.
  • Aluminum Decking: Aluminium is fire-resistant, incredibly durable, and requires virtually no maintenance. It’s also lightweight and eco-friendly. On the downside, it can be more expensive than other options and may feel cooler or hotter to the touch depending on the weather.

By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of these materials, we can choose the best option for our specific needs and preferences.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Decking Material

Selecting the right decking material involves considering several important factors. First, think about your budget. Some materials, like natural wood, might be less expensive upfront but could require more maintenance over time. On the other hand, options like composite or PVC may have a higher initial cost but save us money on upkeep.

Next, consider the climate. If we live in an area with a lot of moisture or harsh winters, we need a material that can withstand these conditions. Materials like PVC and aluminum are particularly good at resisting moisture and weather damage. Also, think about how much maintenance we're willing to perform. Some of us may enjoy the hands-on upkeep required by natural wood, while others may prefer the low-maintenance options offered by composites and PVC.

Lastly, consider the aesthetic appeal and how the material complements our home’s design. Each material has its unique look and feel. Wood offers a classic, natural beauty, while composites and PVC come in various colours and styles. Aluminum can provide a modern, sleek appearance. By weighing these factors, we can choose a decking material that meets our needs and enhances our outdoor space.

Tips for Maintaining Your Chosen Decking Material

Once we've chosen the right decking material, proper maintenance will ensure it stays in top condition for years. Here are some tips to help us maintain our deck:

  1. Wood Decking: To keep wood looking its best, we should clean it regularly to remove dirt and debris. It’s important to seal or stain the wood annually to protect it from moisture and UV damage. Inspect the deck for signs of rot or insect damage and make necessary repairs promptly.
  1. Composite Decking: Composite decks require less maintenance but still benefit from a good cleaning. Use a mild soap and water mix to clean the surface, and avoid using harsh chemicals. Check the fasteners and screws to make sure they're tight and secure.
  1. PVC Decking: PVC is easy to maintain with regular cleaning using a hose or a damp cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could scratch the surface. Inspect for any warping or damage, especially after extreme weather conditions.
  1. Aluminium Decking: Aluminium is low maintenance but should still be cleaned periodically with soap and water. Check for loose screws or fasteners and tighten them if needed. Inspect the deck for any signs of corrosion and address it immediately.

By following these maintenance tips, we can prolong the life of our deck and keep it looking beautiful.


Choosing the best decking material for our DIY project involves understanding the different options available, weighing their pros and cons, and considering key factors like budget, climate, and aesthetic preferences. Each material offers unique benefits and maintenance needs, so selecting the right one is critical for a successful and long-lasting deck.

For those looking to start their decking project with confidence and quality building supplies in Regina, we are here to help. Contact The Ultimate Deck Shop for expert advice and a wide range of high-quality decking supplies. Our team is dedicated to helping you choose the best materials to transform your backyard into a stunning and functional outdoor space.

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About the Editor...

Shane Chapman // Backyard Building Expert

Shane Chapman, President and Co-Founder of The Ultimate Deck Shop, is a seasoned expert in the deck building industry. A former award winning deck builder (Fresh Decks), he now leads Canada’s top destination for backyard building materials.

Shane is committed to simplifying the shopping experience, providing exceptional customer service, and empowering both DIYers and professionals with his expert advice.

Get in touch with Shane to connect, collaborate or ask questions at LinkedIn.