How Do I Pick The Right Deck Boards For My Deck?
Finding the right deck boards starts with having a clear vision of what you want to do on your deck. Your deck should be designed specifically for your life. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick deck-buying guide to help you start knowing what questions to ask to get deck boards tailored specifically to your family, friends, and life: How To Pick The Right Deck Boards For Your Space
Even better than that: we’ve got a team of experienced deck project planners, and you can reach them by phone for personalized project planning. Give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 and our team will be happy to learn more about you and your deck before helping connect you with the best materials for you.
What Decking Materials Should I Choose For My Outdoor Living Space?
You can find deck boards in a variety of different materials. At DecksDirect, we recommend and carry only decking materials that are made to last in the outdoor elements without requiring lots of back-breaking maintenance. These are our three favorite deck material options:
- Composite decking: sometimes called “composite wood decking” or “capped composite deck boards”, composite decking is a mixture of natural wood and synthetic plastic.
- PVC decking: PVC decking is a 100% synthetic deck board that’s a bit more water-resistant than composite.
- Mineral-based composite deck boards: an offshoot of traditional wood-plastic composites, mineral-based composite boards are a modern innovation designed to feature less expansion and contraction as temperatures change.
You can learn more about decking materials in our guide: How To Choose Your Decking Material.
Should I Use Composite Decking Or Wood Decking?
We strongly recommend composite decking to anyone building or renovating a deck. A deck isn’t a short-term purchase. We hope you’ll be enjoying your deck for decades to come - and over the long-term, composite decking will save you a huge amount of time and money.
Wood decking (typically a pressure-treated pine) is prone to water damage, rot, staining, splintering and damage from insects like termites. Exposure to harsh weather will wear down wood deck boards, requiring you to regularly inspect and replace worn-out boards and restain existing boards.
Composite decking is surrounded by a strong, weather-resistant shell that prevents rotting, splintering, staining, and damage from insects or water. Composite’s durability also means your deck will last longer, and the composite boards will hold their original color better than wood, which fades badly in direct sunlight. The composite decking products we carry above all come with their own lengthy fade and stain warranty to ensure your deck will keep its appearance for years to come with minimal maintenance.
Wood needs to be stained regularly, adding a recurring cost (and a recurring chore) to your deck. Low-maintenance composite decking never needs staining. That’s why we recommend composite boards and carry a wide selection of the top brands available.
What Are Composite Deck Boards Made Of?
Composite decking is made from natural wood fibers mixed with recycled plastics. This combination creates deck boards that look and feel like natural wood, but are far more durable and require less maintenance.
High-quality composite deck boards, like all the brands we carry above, are capped with a thick, tough synthetic layer that protects the composite material within. You can see the capping in the cross-section image of a composite deck board below:
Most composite decking is made from recycled materials, giving you a beautiful natural look for your deck without contributing to deforestation.
Why Is It Important To Use Capped Composite Deck Boards?
At DecksDirect, we only carry the highest-quality composite deck boards that are sealed with a weather-resistant cap. That's important because the tough capping makes your deck boards last much longer in the outdoor elements. The cap protects the composite wood-plastic material inside of your composite boards from moisture damage, while also giving your deck boards a higher level of scratch resistance.
You can see this capping in the TimberTech deck board below. TimberTech is an industry leader, capping all four sides of every composite deck board for maximum longevity.
Is Composite Decking Worth The Money?
Composite deck boards will cost more than pressure-treated wood at the purchase, but composite decking ultimately costs less in the long run with lower maintenance costs and demands.
Wood decking requires you to buy and apply deck stain regularly, locking you in to regular payments and work hours to maintain your deck. Composite decking is more durable, longer-lasting, and never needs to be stained - not even once. We’ve done the math, and it doesn’t take long for the recurring costs of wood decking to balloon well past the original cost of composite decking.
Does Composite Decking Get Hot On Sunny Days?
Just like wood or other materials, composite decking can absorb heat when it’s in direct sunlight, making it hard to walk barefoot on a hot day, though composite manufacturers keep finding new ways to make their boards less heat-absorbent. If your deck is in direct sunlight, we recommend choosing a lighter color - light grays and light browns tend to absorb less heat from the sun compared to darker shades.
Learn more in our article here.
Can I Combine Two Different Colors Of Composite Deck Boards On My Deck?
Absolutely! There’s no shortage of ways to make your deck unique. You can combine multiple colors of decking in unique deck board patterns for an especially eye-catching deck.
One popular technique is to put a different color of decking around the outside of your deck. This pattern is called picture-framing or race-tracking.
Can I Curve Composite Deck Boards?
You can create unique deck patterns by curving or bending composite deck boards. First, you’ll heat the deck boards, then bend them to the angle you need. If you’re interested in curving deck boards, we’d recommend giving our team a call at 1-888-824-5316 to help you draw up the perfect plan for your dream deck.
How Do I Install Composite Deck Boards?
Whether you’re an experienced DIYer or new to deck projects, you can install your own deck boards with the right guidance. At DecksDirect, we don’t just sell deck parts. We build deck projects and guide you through the process from learning to buying to install to long-term maintenance.
You can find installation guides (like this one, for Trex decking) in our Knowledge Builders section. You can also find product-specific installation instructions on each of our product pages. Our deck project planners are always available by phone to help guide you through the steps of installation. Give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 and learn just how easy it is to install your own decking!
How Do I Hide The Screws While Installing Decking?
There are two main methods for installing decking without visible screws on the surface. You could use hidden deck fasteners, which fit in between your boards and securely fasten boards to your deck frame. Keep in mind that if you use hidden fasteners, you’ll want to buy grooved-edge deck boards.
The second option is to use deck board plug systems. With decking plugs, you sink screws through the top of your deck boards and fit a plug on top of the screwhead to fill the hole. We carry plugs made from the same exact material as most decking brands and finishes, so your plugs will exactly match the color and texture of your deck boards.
You can get a similar effect by using color-matching composite deck screws:
What’s The Difference Between Grooved Edge Deck Boards And Square Edge Deck Boards?
Grooved edge boards feature a long ridge or groove cut into the long edges of the deck board. Grooved edge boards are designed for use with hidden deck fasteners. Traditional square edge boards are for use with other fasteners or in places where the edge of the deck board will be visible, like the outsides of your deck, stair treads, or drink rails.
Do I Have To Stain Composite Deck Boards?
No. Unlike wood, composite decking never requires staining or sealing.
How Do I Clean Composite Deck Boards?
Cleaning composite deck boards is a breeze. All it takes is three simple steps:
- Sweep off your deck surface to clear debris like leaves or pine needles.
- Brush your deck with warm, soapy water and a soft-bristle brush
- Rinse your deck surface with fresh, clean water.
That’s it! There’s no heavy cleaning required.
You can watch this video for more details on how to clean your deck.