How To Pick the Right Decking Material for Your Climate - Home & Texture
Outdoors Decking Material

The Decking Material You Choose Matters—Here's How To Pick the Right One for Your Climate

The type of climate you live in can make or break your outdoor aesthetic.

By
July 10, 2024 at 8:07 AM PST
Outdoors Decking Material

The Decking Material You Choose Matters—Here's How To Pick the Right One for Your Climate

The type of climate you live in can make or break your outdoor aesthetic.

By
July 10, 2024 at 8:07 AM PST

Thinking of revamping your outdoor space for the summer? The right decking can turn your yard into the perfect hangout spot. But before you dive in, there’s one surprising factor to consider: your local climate.

The key to picking the right decking for your patio is to know what type of climate you live in. For example, is it hot and dry? Cold and damp? Or maybe it’s somewhere in between?

Different materials perform better in different conditions. That’s why knowing what type of climate you live in is important; it can tell you what kind of weather your deck is up against so you know how to protect it ahead of time.

A patio deck near the beach
Photo credit: Элен Пройс 

Sunny and Dry Climates

If you live in a hot and dry place like Arizona or Southern California, you’ll definitely need decking material that can take on extreme heat. In this case, here are the top choices:

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a material made from a mix of wood fiber and plastic. This type of decking doesn’t warp, crack, or split in the heat, so it’s a pretty low-maintenance option for hot and dry temperatures.

PVC Decking

PVC decking is 100% synthetic, which translates to a super durable, heat-resistant material that won’t fade. Plus, when you walk on it, it’s a lot cooler than other popular, natural materials like wood.

Pro Tip: If you like the look of wood decking, opt for untreated wood that can withstand the elements rather than traditional wood, which tends to dry out, splinter, and crack in certain hot, dry conditions.

A wet patio deck
Photo credit: Max Harlynking 

Rainy and Humid Climates

People who live in rainy or humid places like Florida, Louisiana, or Arkansas should look for patio decking that isn’t just protected from moisture. In climates that have a lot of rain, you’ll need decking that can prevent mold and rot from forming, too. Here are some options:

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is specially made with chemicals to keep rot and insects at bay. However, while this type of decking can save you a lot of money on pest control and repair, you do have to be on top of maintaining it to keep it in tip-top shape.

Cedar or Redwood

Natural wood is a lot better at withstanding moisture than other types of wood. It also helps that they contain natural oils that make them less likely to rot or develop mold.

Composite Decking

As previously mentioned, composite decking doesn’t warp or rot. And if you live in a rainy climate, you’re in luck because it’s protected against moisture, too. Just make sure it has good slip resistance to avoid accidents since rain can make decks really slippery.

Pro Tip: Like hot and dry climates, if you live in a rainy or humid climate, you should avoid untreated wood. This type of decking material is quick to absorb moisture, which is a quick route to mold and rot.

A patio deck covered with snow
Photo credit: Dmitry Zvolskiy 

Cold and Snowy Climates

If you live in Michigan, Minnesota, or any other place with a lot of snow, you’ll need a deck that can handle the cold without cracking or warping. Take a look:

Composite Decking

Again, composite decking is a solid choice. It can easily hold up against extreme temperature changes and won’t splinter in the cold.

PVC Decking

This is a suitable choice for cold climates because doesn’t absorb moisture from rain or snow, so it won’t expand and contract with fluctuating temperatures.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is really durable, so it can easily handle the season’s freeze-thaw cycles. The only caveat is that you have to keep up with regular maintenance.

Pro Tip: It’s best to avoid softwoods like pine because they can’t easily keep up with the freeze-thaw cycle, and in turn, can become cracked or warper in cold weather.




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