by | Jul 28, 2017

Choosing the Best Deck Materials

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it can be hard to know which deck material is the best fit for your new deck. Besides a material that will look great, you need to know it will hold up against harsh, rainy weather. The last thing you want to do is to spend all of your time maintaining the look and integrity of your deck!

Today, we’ll go over what you need to look for when choosing a deck material. We’ll also look at the materials we at Cutting Edge Contracting use on homes here in the Vancouver, WA, and Portland, OR area.


Things to Consider When Comparing Deck Materials

A deck is an extension of your home. You want it to be something you’re excited about. It needs to look beautiful and fit in aesthetically with the rest of your home. And of course, you don’t want to worry about maintaining it, so a deck material needs to be durable, too!


Like every other part of your home, you want your deck to look beautiful. Some homeowners use PVC or aluminum planks to build their decks. While these may be easier to take care of, they will never look as beautiful or compliment your home as well as a composite or natural wood deck.


It’s important to think about the maintenance of the deck material you choose. While natural wood may look beautiful, you need to regularly apply stain and seal to make sure it does not degrade and look worn. For some people, this maintenance is worth it. For others, having a low maintenance deck is a priority due to their lifestyle not allowing constant care.


There is a lot to consider when thinking about the cost of your deck material. Some are obvious, such as the initial material cost. But there are other things to think about as well, including:

  • How much do the deck planks cost?
  • Will the material require any special labor considerations?
  • Will I need to stain or paint the deck – both initially and on an ongoing basis?
  • How often will maintenance need to be performed on the deck?

Different Materials for Decks in the Pacific Northwest

Cutting Edge Contracting offers a variety of options for decks in the Portland area. While all offer their unique advantages, Cutting Edge Contracting only builds decks able to handle the weather we have here in the Pacific Northwest.

Composite Decks

Composite decks are a great option given their low-maintenance requirements, easy installation, and awesome looks. The composite material is made from a blend of plastic and wood fibers. This gives the material a beautiful, natural appearance while still being extremely resistant to rot and wear.

Composite decks also don’t need to be painted or stained and require very little maintenance (just deck cleaner and maybe a power wash!). While typically more expensive initially than other options, the lower maintenance costs can bring down the cost of the deck over its lifetime.

We offer a couple different types of composite wood decks at Cutting Edge Contracting.

Trex Recycled Composite

If you’re considering building a new deck for your home, Trex Recycled Composite is an excellent option.

Advantages of Trex Composite Decks:

  • Strong protective shell shields your deck from the elements.
  • Stain, termite, and rot resistant.
  • Low maintenance – easy to clean with just soap and water.
  • Available in more than 12 natural wood-grain colors.
  • Made from 95% recycled materials.
  • Backed by 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.

At Cutting Edge Contracting, we love Trex composite decks. It’s almost always our first recommendation when homeowners are building a new deck.

Given its combination of looks, durability, and low-maintenance, Trex Composite Decks are always a great choice.

Moisture Shield Composite

Moisture Shield is another great composite wood option. Similar to Trex, Moisture Shield is a low maintenance deck material available in a variety of colors.

Moisture Shield also features:

  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
  • The ability to be installed on or in the ground or underwater without voiding the warranty.
  • 95% recycled content, with the ability to earn credit in LEED green building rating programs.

Infused Bamboo

While exterior grade bamboo did not really exist a couple years ago, exterior grade bamboo is now a viable option. Bamboo brings a beautiful, unique look to your deck.

Infused Bamboo:

  • Denser than IPE natural wood, making it highly resistant to insects and decay.
  • Even distribution of load and weight given its consistent grain structure.
  • Uniform texture and coloration for a flawless look.
  • Environmentally friendly due to how quickly bamboo is grown and harvested.

Since it is a hard wood, the boards have to be sealed and stained when they are installed, making maintenance a consideration when going with an infused bamboo deck.

Natural Wood

Natural wood is a beautiful deck material option for your home. Common natural wood options include:

  • Redwood
  • Cedar
  • IPE

Depending on which route you go, cost and maintenance will vary wildly. While IPE will last you a long time, it is one of the more expensive options as a material for your deck. Cedar and Redwood are softwoods resistant to bugs and rot, though it needs to be maintained with more diligence than IPE.

Either way, natural woods require a lot more maintenance than either composite or infused bamboo.

Cedar Membrane

Membranes provide a lower cost option that works great in rainy conditions. Deck membranes work by putting a vinyl membrane over plywood. This is great if you need the area below the deck to stay completely dry, such as in a second story or raised deck.

Membrane decks also require very little maintenance and upkeep, which also lowers the overall cost of the deck in the long run.

What’s Right for Your New Deck?

We’d love to help you decide! Give us a call at (360) 433-2803 for a free quote on your new deck project. We’ll lay out your options and what we think is the best for your home.

At Cutting Edge Contracting we have years of experience building decks in Portland and Vancouver. If you have any questions on deck materials, let us know. We are here to help!

Sean Kelly

About the author: Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly is the COO & President of Cutting Edge Contracting. His background in business, accounting, and the construction industry helped him become the award-winning manager of a nationally-known paint company before joining Cutting Edge.

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