Decking options for outdoor living

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV)- Replacing a worn out deck has been on the top 10 remodeling projects at Remodeler’s Magazine for many years.  This will probably be one of the more expensive projects, so you really need to consider are you doing it for YOU or are you doing it to increase the resale value of your home. Cost, Upkeep and Size of the deck are the main factors to consider when determining to replace your deck with wood or composite material.  As with most things, there are good, best and better products available in both categories.

WOOD DECKING is obviously a natural product so you should expect to see changes in its appearance over the course of years.


  • The most economical choice is a treated pine which will require more maintenance
  • Mid-range choice is cedar which is more resistant to rot but will break down when exposed to moist conditions.
  • At the high end, mahogany or ipe are the best choices because they’re hard, durable and good looking with very few flaws.  They are heavy woods, not prone to splitting or cracking and age well with little maintenance required.


  • All wood decks require maintenance, with lessor quality wood requiring the most.
  • Most wood decks will require stain or sealing every three years or so.  Sprinkle water on the deck and if it’s immediately absorbed, it’s maintenance time.
  • Chipped or twisted boards?  Not much you can do about that.
  • Typically it’s advised to avoid power washing as it can strip the wood.  Use a soft bristle brush and mild detergent to clean the wood.

COMPOSITE DECKING is typically some kind of recycled plastic material, hollow or solid and the cost will depend on the actual recycled product.


  • Depends on the manufacturer, the materials used and “extras” like UV protection, and scratch resistant features.
  • Hollow boards are less expensive, tend not to expand and contract but they do tend to shift in one area.  They are not as sturdy and can hold water which leads to warping and decomposition.
  • Solid boards expand and contract but they are stronger and tend to look more like real wood.


  • Composite decks are low maintenance and do get scratched, fade and can warp just like wood.
  • To minimize the damage, homeowners with pets should ask about scratch resistant materials.
  • If your deck will be exposed to hours of sun, ask for UV protection if you don’t plan to cover it.
  • To help combat expansion and contraction, hire a professional to lay the boards so they don’t move toward the house or other fixtures.
  • To paint or not to paint?  Check with the manufacturer of the boards.
  • A good cleaning with a soft bristle brush and mild detergent will keep your deck looking good for years.

Standale Interiors:

Location: 4046 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Phone:(616) 453-8201

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