Before Picking Your Outdoor Decking Read These Key Factors

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Thinking of getting a new deck before springtime? At Great Railing, we strive to help you make the most informed, confident decisions for all your projects. As you start to research decking choices, we highly recommend considering a few key factors. These vary from the cost to project timeline, environmental factors, and many more. In today’s blog, we will break down each factor that you should consider for the best outdoor decking materials to consider before installation. Read on to learn more!

1. Cost

For any type of construction project, consider your budget first. Outdoor decking materials will vary a lot in cost and quality. Do not forget to account for any labor, hardware, substructure, and long-term costs like repair and maintenance. Remember that price will often reflect the quality of your building materials too. The cheapest decking choice might fail within a couple of years of use and cost you more in the long term. While considering your budget, note that the cost of your outdoor decking materials might continue to rise due to the pandemic, among some other factors. Ask the experts at Great Railing if you have any questions regarding this.

Timeline of Project

Do you have a hard deadline for your deck installation? Pandemic-related disruptions and surging influence the availability of your outdoor decking materials. Although the shortage of lumber makes headlines, products lime composite, and plastic decking also feel the pressure of the increased demand paired with the scarcity of materials. As you look for decking materials, remember your timeline and ask about any lead times.


Are you replacing your deck or starting a brand new project? If you are replacing your old deck, you have to consider your current understructure. The joist space of your existing understructure impacts which outdoor decking materials will genuinely satisfy your project. If you are beginning a new project, then you should still consider understructure and joist span too. Decking materials with a larger span will require less understructure, building time, and labor.

Environmental Factors

Outdoor deck materials will respond differently to water, temperature, and sunlight. Deck materials can become quite hot in the summer months. Compare the temperatures of your various decking options. For projects that are near or constantly exposed to water, synthetic decking with no wood is a good choice (composite decking). Outdoor decking materials experience thermal contraction and expansion. Research contraction and expansion rates if your project is subject to any profound temperature changes. Don’t hesitate to ask our crew either!

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