AridDek Dock Decking

Choosing the right deck board or dock decking today? You may be a bit overwhelmed by all the choices.

It wasn’t too long ago that there weren’t as many options for dock decking. Now, you can choose from a variety of types of decking. These include options such as pressure-treated wood, composite, aluminum, redwood, cedar, and many more.

Let’s take a look at how the evolution of the deck board has changed over time. That will help you choose the perfect dock decking for you!

“Thirty years ago it was easy to choose the perfect decking material. People generally chose their deck board from among the few options then available. This can be pressure treated lumber, cedar, or, more seldom redwood” (A Modern History of Decking Materials). At this time, wood decking was very different than the decking made today. “Back then decking materials were made from 1st generation trees” (A Modern History of Decking Material). The trees grew slowly and yielded a higher density. Therefore the wood was more resistant to rot and insects. Today’s trees grow much more quickly. They grow on tree farms and do not necessarily share the same properties as 1st generation trees.

There are several types of wood decking:

Pressure-Treated Lumber

Most PT decking is miled from southern yellow pine. Then it is chemically treated to resist rot, fungus, and insects. “The downside of PT lumber is that it’s not very dimensionally stable. So, it has a tendency to crack, split and warp when used as dock decking. And routine maintenance is necessary to prolong the life and look of the deck” (Your Ultimate Guide to the 5 Material that Make a Modern Deck).

Redwood and Cedar

Redwood and Cedar have been popular for over 50 years. They contain tannins and oils that make them naturally resistant to rot, decay, and voracious insects. However, to maintain the wood’s natural color you’ll need to apply a stain and power wash and coat the finish every three to four years.

Tropical Hardwoods

“Tropical hardwoods have been available since the 1960s and have remained a popular choice in decking for the past 50 years” (A Modern History of Decking). However, “…hardwood harvesting is an environmental concern in many parts of the world, the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approves hardwood harvested in a sustainable manner” (A Modern History of Decking). These exotic woods are extremely hard and durable while also being naturally resistant to rot and insects. However, the amount and speed of fading depends upon the deck’s exposure to the sun, rain, and snow.

Composite Decking

“The Early 1990s saw the birth of composite decking board” (A Modern History of Decking). This was due to scarcity of first generation trees and the backlash of boards made of less mature trees, which proved to be of poorer quality. Composite boards combine wood fiber with plastic, also known as WPCs. However, over time, even WPCs began to show sign of undesirable properties. “WPCs were built from thermoplastics and wood flour – often recycled – which would sag, crumble, crack, split, expand and contract dramatically over time when installed and left baking in direct sunlight” (A Modern History of Decking).
In the early 2000s companies began to phase out the “weak link” in composite decking which led to the making of PVC, a plastic decking board. Plastic is low maintenance and will never need to be sanded, refinished, or stained. However, it can cause issues for those living in areas that experience a great deal of heat. In a study done by Wahoo Decks in 90 degree weather, plastic  was actually the hottest when compared to other decking boards.
Check out the video to see how AridDek aluminum decking, pressure treated pine, IPE, PVC, and composite fare in 90 degree weather in Georgia.

In 2009, the decking market saw the rise of Capstock decking.

Capstock is combination of composites and plastics; capstock is environmentally friendly and offered in a variety of shades. However, it must be properly installed and sealed. Otherwise, swelling can occur in the deck board. “And, over time, as water seeps into the decking, it’s safe to assume that the soft wood fibers within the deck board itself will soak up that material and start to produce mold” (What is Capstock Decking?). These are all factors to consider when it comes to capstock decking.
The latest technology in decking is aluminum, such as, AridDek by Wahoo Decks. While aluminum is newest to the family of deck boards, it is ideal for many reasons. “When compared with wood, composite and plastic lumber, aluminum decking is three to four times lighter, yet two to three times stronger. It can be cut with the same saws and carbide-tipped blades used to cut wood” (Your Ultimate Guide to the 5 Materials That Make a Modern Deck). Finally, aluminum is also top notch when it comes to safety as it is slip resistant and fireproof. Also, since this type of decking is made from aluminum it is 100% recyclable and is environmentally friendly.

Wahoo Docks AridDek Dock Decking

Wahoo Docks AridDek Decking

“The technologically advanced decking products boast a number of different attributes and offer deck builders and homeowners a greater range of choices than ever before.” – LBM, The Deck Issue, April 2013

From wood to aluminum; dock decking has changed quite a bit over the years. There are a variety of products available and as the decking industry continues to grow and transform, we can be sure that the deck board will also only continue to evolve.

Photo Credit: