What Are Some Good Decking Options – Other Than Wood?

wooden deck alternatives

If you’re like most homeowners, the idea of building a deck conjures images of hours of hard labor—digging holes, measuring and sawing lumber, pounding nails.

And if you’re thinking about decking your yard with wood, you’re in for even more work:

Choosing the right kind of lumber, treating it against decay and insects, and keeping it looking good year after year.

Is there an easier way? You bet. There are a number of good decking materials available that don’t require all that fuss.

Let’s take a look at some of your options.

1. Aluminum decking

This type of decking is lightweight, doesn’t absorb moisture, and is very easy to install.

Aluminum decking is a great choice for those who are looking for an alternative to traditional wooden decks.

These decks are made from aluminum alloy and are very strong and durable. They are also quite light in weight, which makes them easy to install.

Aluminum decking is resistant to decay and infestation from pests. It’s also a fantastic material for resisting scratches, which allows it to appear good for years.

The majority of aluminum decks have at least a 20-year warranty, giving you an indication of the substance’s longevity.

Aluminum is also a fantastic deck substitute since it dissipates heat. Even if the sun’s rays are beaming down on the patio during the hottest parts of summer, it won’t retain heat.

It can also cool down considerably faster than a wooden deck and can endure years of harsh weather conditions after installation.

There is, however, one major disadvantage to aluminum as a material for decks.

The metal is quite slippery when wet and can be dangerous for small children or anyone with mobility issues. If you choose aluminum for your deck, make sure to select a non-slip surface treatment to increase safety.

Other than that aluminum isn’t as appealing to the eye as wood decking.

Many people might also find it expensive because you’ll pay around $15 per square foot on average for this option. Because you’ll most likely need a professional to finish it, installation is also an expenditure.

Also, consider the noise factor because each time you hit aluminum, it makes a loud noise.

You might not think this would be an issue, but if you have a lot of kids running around or people who are always in and out, it can become bothersome.

2. Artificial grass

This is a newer product on the market that is becoming increasingly popular as a wood deck substitute.

Artificial grass looks and feels like real grass, but it doesn’t require any upkeep. You don’t have to mow it, water it, or fertilize it.

It also drains well, so you don’t have to worry about puddles forming on your deck.

One of the best things about artificial grass is that it’s very versatile.

You can use it for a variety of purposes, such as creating a putting green, a play area for kids, or simply an attractive addition to your outdoor space.

It’s also environmentally friendly because it doesn’t require any pesticides or herbicides.

Artificial grass is also very durable and can withstand a lot of foot traffic. It’s also low maintenance, which is great for busy homeowners who don’t have the time to take care of a traditional wooden deck. The only downside to artificial grass is that it can be quite expensive.

The average cost is between $12 and $20 per square foot, and you’ll also need to purchase a base material, such as gravel or sand, to help with drainage.

3. Bamboo decking

It’s very strong and durable that will last for years. It’s a sustainable resource but it’s more expensive than some other options.

Bamboo is a very popular material today, and it’s used in a wide range of sectors because of its durability and strength.

It has a beautiful sheen that no other material can match. It also has excellent staying power in moderately rainy environments.

However, in areas that get a lot of rain or where the rain pools, it is not recommended. In these circumstances, it can become mildewy and rotten.

Overall, bamboo, like all other hardwoods, is a natural composite material that has the same maintenance requirements as any other wood-based product.

It can also deteriorate in the same way that any other wood-based material would if not maintained properly. If you enjoy the look of bamboo, it’s a great alternative to traditional wooden decks.

4. Cork decking

It’s an eco-friendly option that’s also comfortable to walk on.

Cork is an excellent decking material because it’s environmentally friendly and comfortable to walk on.

It’s also very easy to install, which is great for busy homeowners who don’t have the time or patience to deal with traditional wooden decks.

Cork is also one of the best materials for the decks of boats.

The only downside to cork as a decking material for your home is that it can be quite expensive.

The average cost is between $12 and $30 per square foot, which is more than most other decking materials.

5. Composite decking

Its made of recycled materials (basically from a mixture of wood fibers and plastic), it doesn’t rot and requires very little maintenance.

If you’ve used plastic lumber before, you probably already know what composite decking is for.

Composite decking is quite similar to plaster lumber and is one of the fastest-growing and most popular alternative options on the market today.

The majority of these decking materials are made using a lot of polyvinyl chloride or polyethylene, and there are some that have a recycled wood flour base.

This type of lumber is very durable and can last for over 25 years with the right care. It’s also splinter-free, so it’s perfect if you have kids or pets.

The main downside to composite decking is that it’s more expensive than traditional lumber.

The average cost is between $20 and $30 per square foot, and you’ll also need to purchase a base material, such as gravel or sand, to help with drainage.

6. Poured concrete

It’s very versatile can be colored or stamped, and is extremely durable.

Poured concrete is a great alternative for those who want a deck that is both durable and stylish.

Concrete can be stamped and colored to create a variety of looks, from brick to stone.

It’s also extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as creating a patio, walkway, or even a pool deck.

Permeable pavers are also available, and these allow rainwater to flow through them to assist with on-site drainage.

You may integrate them into the sand and have them shift easily as the temperature changes without cracking.

The main downside to concrete is that it can be quite cold, so it’s not the best choice for those who live in colder climates.

It’s also important to note that concrete requires regular maintenance, such as sealing and resurfacing, to keep it looking its best.

7. Glass

It creates an open, airy feeling and is easy to clean.

Glass as decking material is very stylish but needs to be tempered to avoid breaking and is more expensive than other options.

If you’re looking for a deck that is both stylish and unique, glass is a great option. Glass decks can be made from tempered glass, which is stronger and less likely to break than regular glass.

They are also quite popular in contemporary homes. The main downside to glass decks is that they are more expensive than other options.

The average cost is between $35 and $50 per square foot, and you’ll also need to purchase a base material, such as gravel or sand, to help with drainage.

Besides glass, there is also fiberglass decking that is getting popular. This material is made from glass fibers and is designed to look like wood. It is also much stronger and more durable than glass or wood.

rubber tile deck

8. Rubber decking

It’s soft and comfortable to walk on, great for kids’ playgrounds.

The item is constructed of a micro-porous granular substance that makes it resistant to wear and long-lasting.

It’s also a tile material with excellent stretchability, allowing you to set your feet on something soft when you walk across it. It won’t cause you to slip when you walk across it because it’s a waterproof construction.

If you’re looking for a decking material that is soft and comfortable to walk on, rubber is a great option. It’s also great for kids’ playgrounds because it’s softer than concrete or wood.

Additionally, rubber paver tiles come with an interlocking design and can be set up without the need for glue.

Because the installation procedure is simple and uncomplicated, you may do it yourself in a few hours over the weekend without calling in an expert.

If you’re concerned about how your tile will look, choose ones that are offered in a variety of colors. You can also find tiles that are textured to give your patio or deck a more natural look.

The main downside to rubberized paver tiles is that they can be slippery when wet and can fade in direct sunlight.

The average cost is between $20 and $30 per square foot, and you’ll also need to purchase a base material, such as gravel or sand, to help with drainage.

9- Natural Stone or Porcelain

It’s beautiful and stylish but needs regular maintenance.

If you’re looking for a decking material that is both beautiful and stylish, natural stone or porcelain is a great option.

These materials are available in a variety of colors and styles, so you can find the perfect look for your home.

The main downside to natural stone or porcelain is that they require regular maintenance, such as sealing and resurfacing, to keep them looking their best.

The average cost is between $35 and $50 per square foot, and you’ll also need to purchase a base material, such as gravel or sand, to help with drainage.

10- Rice Hull

Its fireproof, rot-resistant, and termite-resistant.

If you’re looking for a decking material that is fireproof, rot-resistant, and termite-resistant, a rice hull is a great option.

Rice hulls are the outer shells of rice grains that have been removed. They are often used as a fuel source or as a material for building construction.

Rice hulls are also a popular choice for decking because they are so durable and long-lasting.

It’s practically stain-proof, and you won’t have to worry about your deck taking a hit if someone spills something on it all summer.

A rice hull deck alternative allows you to walk across it barefoot all summer long. It’s a lovely material that is almost splinter-free and long-lasting.

The average cost is however between $30 and $35 per square foot which is on a bit of a higher side of the spectrum than other materials.

11- Silca System

It’s easy to install and low maintenance.

Silica-based decking is a stunning option over traditional wood. This is a very long-lasting plastic tray system, which allows you to cover it with a wide range of materials.

You can convert your wooden deck into tiled, slate, pavers, stone, or any other type of deck you desire.

Instead of mixing materials together, this system uses plastic trays that are easy to install and offer little to no maintenance.

Another alternative is to combine a range of materials to make your own deck design and appearance.

You may create your own design and appearance by combining concrete and wood, brick pavers and slate, or another combination of materials.

12- uPVC and PVC

It’s good for locations that are prone to earthquakes

PVC, or Polyvinyl chloride, was invented by Dr. Waldo Semon in 1925 while working for the BF Goodrich company.

Semon was attempting to create a material that would bond rubber and metal and accidentally created PVC instead.

The material was not widely used for a decade, but in the 1930s, it saw an uptick in use, first being used to make tire treads and later PVC pipe.

uPVC is the acronym for un-plasticized polyvinyl chloride and is essentially just PVC without any flexibility agents added to it.

Both the terms uPVC and PVC are used to talk about the same product.

In reality, most PVC products are actually uPVC which is an acronym for un-plasticized polyvinyl chloride.

Since the material is known for its excellent shock absorption properties, you can use it for your decking and deck rails if you live in areas that get frequent earthquakes.

FAQs

Can I build a deck out of galvanized steel?

While you can find galvanized steel decking material, it’s not recommended because these materials are very heavy and are not as durable as other options.

They’re also more susceptible to dents and scratches, so your deck won’t look its best for longer.

If you’re set on using steel for your deck, make sure to choose a thicker material that is powder-coated to resist rust and wear.

What’s the best non-combustible deck alternative?

There are several non-combustible decking materials you can choose from, but the best option is aluminum.

Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is highly durable and resistive to fire. It won’t corrode or rust, so you won’t have to worry about it deteriorating over time as well.

What’s the best deck alternative for full sunny locations?

If you live in an area with a lot of sun rays, you’ll want to choose a decking material that is resistant to fading and UV damage.

One of the best materials for this is PVC. PVC is a synthetic plastic that is very durable and won’t fade or warp in the sun.

Composite decking is also a popular choice because it’s made from a mix of wood and plastic, so it’s resistant to both heat and cold.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an outdoor decking option that’s different than traditional oak, there are a few good alternatives to consider.

Composite decking is made from a mixture of wood fibers and plastic, so it shares some of the benefits of both materials. It’s resistant to rot and insects and doesn’t require any special maintenance.

Metal decking is another option – it’s long-lasting and won’t warp or decay, but it can be more expensive than other choices.

Finally, if you’re looking for a really unique option, try cork decking!

Made from the bark of cork oaks, this material is waterproof and pest-resistant, and it has a natural look that many people find appealing.

Whichever type of decking you choose, be sure to do your research and pick a material that will suit your needs and budget.

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