Even though building materials have significantly advanced, one of the best types of material for building a deck is still pressure treated lumber. It protects the structure with chemicals preservatives that are forced into the wood keeping it safe from insects and moisture decay. If you are going to tackle building your own deck, this material is the most popular way to go.

This article by Popular Mechanics discusses the five best materials for designing a deck:

Your Ultimate Guide to the 5 Materials That Make a Modern Deck

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to/a3490/4275113/

Image from popularmechanics.com

Whether you’re breaking ground this summer or still sketching out the blueprints, it pays to know your options. Five basic types, each with their own aesthetics, maintenance and price range, have emerged. We take a detailed look at each.

1. THE ECONOMIC ANSWER: PRESSURE-TREATED LUMBER

Despite all the competition, this ubiquitous green-tinted wood is still the No. 1 decking material sold today. In fact, according to Arch Treatment Technologies, a leading producer of wood preservatives, approximately 75 percent of all new decks are finished with pressure-treated (PT) lumber.

The widespread popularity of PT lumber isn’t surprising: it’s affordable, readily available coast-to-coast, and easy to cut and fasten with nails or screws. Most PT decking is milled from southern yellow pine, and then chemically treated to resist rot, fungus and wood-boring bugs. The two most common sizes of treated decking are 2 x 6s (90 cents per linear foot), and 5/4 x 6-­in. planks ($1 per linear foot). Occasionally 2 x 4s (60 cents per linear foot) are used, but typically only on small decks or railings.

The downside of PT lumber is that it’s not very dimensionally stable, so it has a tendency to crack, split and warp. And routine maintenance is necessary to prolong the life and look of the deck. This will include an annual power washing and an application of stain or wood preservative every two or three years.

Read the rest of the post here:  Your Ultimate Guide to the 5 Materials That Make a Modern Deck

This image from This Old House shows the basic structure of a deck.

Image of a basic deck structure

There are a lot of factors to consider when you are taking on this type of project. You might want to consider hiring a building contractor to help with the design and construction. This is a informative video about planning a deck:

 

A maintenance free alternative for deck building is using composite material, a combo of two different materials that create a stronger, more durable building product. The downfall for using this type of material is the cost, as it is two to three times more expensive. Making the final decision on what materials to use for your deck requires some online research or consulting with a construction company.