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Here in coastal Florida, life belongs outdoors. Our balmy climate, coastal breezes, and abundant sunshine practically beg us to live our lives outside. One of the best ways to expand your living space and get that coastal indoor-outdoor flow is by adding a gorgeous new deck. Whether you’re replacing an aging deck or starting fresh, Coastal Home Pros has the expertise and local knowledge to delivery quality results on time and on-budget. Read on for the first part of our series on decks – Materials Matter.

Materials Matter

Florida’s enviable coastal climate draws people from all over the world. Whether they’re vacationing, retiring, or building lives here, everyone loves the Sunshine State. Here at Coastal Home Pros, we know you want a beautiful deck that lets you entertain and relax in the great outdoors. But we also know it’s important to consider the harsher side of our climate when it comes to our homes and exterior projects. 

Sun, Salt, Wind, and Water

Everybody loves the salty ocean breeze, but your new deck won’t necessarily feel the love for storms, bright sunshine, and moist, salty air. When building a deck, it’s important to choose your materials wisely. 

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is one of our most popular decking materials. It doesn’t require complex installation methods, it allows for great design flexibility, and it readily absorbs stain and waterproofing materials. A basic pressure-treated wood deck is also a great value. It will add function and beauty to your home without breaking the bank. 

Things to consider: Pressure-treated wood stand up better to the elements than untreated wood, but it you still have to be vigilant with maintenance. Boards, can crack, splinter, and warp, and they must be frequently cleaned and resealed or re-stained. In addition, unprotected metal fasteners and connectors may corrode in the elements.

A treated-wood deck is a flexible and economical option for expanding your outdoor living area in Florida.
Treated wood is easy to work with, flexible, and economical, but they require ongoing maintenance.


PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. In the building industry, many people simply refer to it as vinyl. Vinyl is one of the easiest products to maintain – it exhibits superior resistance to moisture and will not swell or shrink. Rot and termites are not issues with vinyl decking, and it is relatively easy to clean.

Vinyl deck rails are easy to maintain and keep clean.
Vinyl deck rails are easy to keep clean, even when visitors come to call.

Things to consider: If you want a true wood look and feel, be aware. Vinyl can look artificial, and it feels quite different to the touch. Some grades of vinyl decking have issues with squeakiness, and they can become brittle with time and UV exposure. At Coastal Home Pros, we recommend using a premium vinyl product to avoid these issues. Vinyl is reasonably priced, though not as affordable as pressure-treated wood.

Cedar or Redwood

The natural oils in Cedar and Redwood provide better resistance to insects and rot.  These woods weather to a beautiful silvery gray shade. 

Things to consider: Despite their natural properties, cedar and redwood do require maintenance and waterproofing. They can also be quite expensive, and can really drive up the cost of a large project. 

Tropical Hardwood

Tropical hardwoods such as Ipe are long-lasting and beautiful choices. These woods stand up to weather elements like no other. They are also extremely hard and durable. 

Things to consider: All that durability and beauty comes at a price. Ipe and other tropical hardwoods are one of the most expensive decking options. The materials costs are high, but labor costs are also higher. This dense, heavy, and hard wood dulls cutting blades quickly and requires more labor to install. 

Composite Boards

Composite products come in a range of colors and textures. They solve many of the maintenance issues related to real wood – they won’t crack, splinter, or rot.

Things to consider: If you love the warmth and organic texture of real wood, composite boards may not meet your aesthetic needs. Some products do look more wood-like than others, but the cost for this material can climb quickly. Composite boards can also scuff, scratch, and stain easily, and sanding and retaining are not options with this product.

You’ve Chosen the Best Decking Material – Now What?

At Coastal Home Pros, our decking experts will work with you to choose a material that meets your needs and budget. Our local experience allows us to give you the best advice on dealing with the Florida elements – from building to maintenance and beyond.

Once you’ve chosen a material, it’s time to think about design. Read on here – Building a Deck in the Panhandle & the Emerald Coast (Part Two) – Design it Right.