Whilst it is always great to have the inside of your home just how you want it, there will come a time when you will also want to start to make the most of the outdoor space that you have. One great way to do this is to have some decking installed so that you can relax in the sun, have friends over for parties and barbeques or simply just revel in the envy that your friends show when they have seen it.

Having decking installed will not only allow you to make the most of your outdoor space but it will also add to the value of your home when you one day decide to move on to pastures new.

However, once you have made the decision to get your hands dirty and install some great looking decking, you will realise that it is not as simple as just picking a colour and deciding where to put it. You will first have to decide on what sort of decking material you are going to use.

This decision should be based on where you want to put it, what your budget is, how much use it is going to see and just how much time you will have to spend maintaining your decking.

Simply ask yourself:

  • Do I need something durable due to being used frequently?
  • How much time will I be able to spare for cleaning and maintenance?
  • Do I want a material that can sustain the changing weather conditions?
  • Would I prefer affordability to aesthetic beauty?

The answers to each of those questions will depend on your own situation and once you have them, you will be able to choose the ideal decking material for your home. There are a number of different materials that can be used, with each of them offering their own advantages and disadvantages.

Different types of decking

Natural wood

Wood has always been the most popular choice of material for decking. This is simply because it not only looks great and is one of the more affordable options, but it is also supremely durable if it is well maintained and looked after.

Maintenance is a big consideration with this material as it can start to weather over time when exposed to the elements. You will need to stain and seal the wood regularly if you want to prevent cracks or rotting.

Among the other benefits to using natural wood are the facts that it stays cooler in the heat than some of the other materials and is great next to a pool compared to other materials as the surface works better as non-slip.


Composite decking has become increasingly popular over the past few years due to its being lightweight, easy to maintain and because it is resistant to the weather.

It is comprised of a combination of wood fibres and recycled plastics, making it a more environmental friendly option. These materials also ensure that the decking will not crack or rot like natural wood decking, allowing for far less time needed at maintaining it.

Additionally, there is no need to seal or stain composite decking as it will keep its colour and look pretty much the same throughout its lifetime.


If you are looking for a material that requires an extremely low level of maintenance, does not scratch or stain and is resistant to mould, then PVC or plastic decking could be the material for you. Plastic may cost a little more per board but what you get is a durable decking that will be able to handle even the most extreme forms of entertainment and is easily cleaned.

Though it obviously has some great advantages, plastic decking will in most cases not last quite as long as some of the other materials.


There are also a number of metal decking alternatives such as aluminium that provide another great option for your decking. The best parts about these types of materials are that they are fire resistant, weather resistant, and very affordable requiring pretty much no maintenance at all.

It might not look as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other decking types but it ticks pretty much all of the other boxes. Other downsides include the fact that it can get hot when in direct sunlight and can be slippery when it is wet.


From the information above you should be able to make a decision based on what you need. If you want something that looks great but requires a good amount of maintenance, then wood would be for you. On the other hand, if you are after something that is cheap and low maintenance, aluminium could be the ideal material for you.
Just take your time to consider what you feel is more important in your decking and will soon make the right choice.