January 1, 1970
Schloegel Design Remodel
Debby Allmon, Vice President

Handyman | Debby Allmon on deck materials

Q. I need to replace my deck. I’m stymied by all the material choices. What type of wood holds up best? Or should I go with a composite? Are there any downsides to metal (aluminum) railings? Help!

A. The best natural wood products would be cedar or ipe (Brazilian hardwood). Cedar is probably the most typical and cost-effective product. Ipe is an exotic wood that is more durable and more attractive, but comes with a higher price tag.

The downside to any wood decking is the yearly maintenance effort (and cost). I recommend that you do some research.

Choosing wood or composite for your decking is not a simple decision. There are pros and cons to both materials, however, in general, the composites will perform better and cost more.

There are many composite decking materials on the market today. You could visit a showroom such as Kansas City Deck Supply, 7068 W. 105th St. in Overland Park ( kcdecksupply.com), to look at many of the composite products and compare the benefits of each.

I am not aware of any downsides to the metal (aluminum) railings. I think they are a good choice for durability, aesthetics and price.