Different people have different preferences on what material to use for decks. However, some materials last longer than others. Here are the top three decking materials and their estimated lifespan in years as per Consumer Reports
The “aluminum decking” is a material that lasts longest. Aluminum is also the most affordable type of decking.
If you’re building a new deck, you’re undoubtedly wondering what kind of decking material will last the longest. There are so many options available that the job might seem overwhelming, and you want to be sure you’re making the right one.
Cement decking has the greatest life expectancy, with an average lifetime of 60 years or more. It is long-lasting and resistant to the weather, thus its premium price is justified. The decking’s longevity is affected by the climate, the kind of cement used, and how well the cement is maintained.
You may still be asking how to extend the life of your deck material or what the next most durable deck material is if you don’t want to use cement. Second-best options are aluminum and plastic timber. Continue reading to discover more about cement and its alternatives.
Contents Table of Contents
- Cement is a durable decking material.
- Pros and Cons of Cement
- What Factors Influence Cement Durability?
- How to Look After Cement
- What is the Best Way to Clean Cement Decking?
- Choosing the Best Cement for Your Situation – Climate
- Special Mixes – Choosing the Right Cement
- Cement Decking Alternatives
Cement is a durable decking material.
When it comes to decking materials, cement is the most durable option available. It was built to endure harsh weather, from storms to the biting cold of winter, and nothing will wear it down but time and human excavation.
Cement decking is an excellent option if you are confident of your deck’s placement and have no intentions to move it for the next 60 years. For decades to come, you’ll be able to appreciate your deck in all of its magnificence.
Pros and Cons of Cement
Although cement is the longest-lasting decking material, it does not automatically imply that it is the best. You will determine if cement is ideal for you based on where you reside, your requirements, and any other personal variables.
Advantages of Cement Decking:
- Longevity: When properly installed, cement decking may endure up to 70 years, making it the longest-lasting decking material available.
- Cement decking is versatile in that it may be poured into any sort of mold to create a pattern.
- Cement decking is easy to maintain and clean since it does not need a lot of effort.
- Cash value: Consumers get the greatest bang for their buck with cement decking.
Cement Decking’s Drawbacks:
- Cement has a bland appearance and is not a good choice if you want something more colorful or vivid.
- Cement decking has a high initial cost, but it lasts the longest, making it a better long-term investment.
- Summer: If you live in a hot region or your deck will be exposed to the sun for the most of the day, always wear shoes. Cement warms up quickly and may reach temperatures of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Factors Influence Cement Durability?
When caring for your cement decking, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to guarantee that it lasts as long as possible. Cement is long-lasting, but there are a few things you can do to help it endure even longer.
Durability of Concrete:
- Abrasion: Concrete will wear away over time, and this may be accelerated by greater abrasion from other sources. The most prevalent cause of cement abrasion is items that are often dragged over it.
- Temperature Variations: During the winter, cement is very vulnerable to temperature changes caused by freezing and thawing. If the cement used isn’t resistant to freeze-thaw cycles, it will start to fracture and deteriorate sooner.
- Rain may not cause direct damage to cement, but it does cause the steel rebars embedded in the cement to dissolve more quickly, compromising the structural stability.
- Chemicals: While most cement is chemically resistant, certain substances may cause it to deteriorate. Concrete with a low permeability is less prone to disintegrate when exposed to various contaminants.
How to Look After Cement
While cement is a naturally long-lasting and resilient material, you may extend the life of your cement decking by doing some simple maintenance. Your decking will last considerably longer if you follow these important cement maintenance suggestions.
Tips for Cement Maintenance:
- At least once a year, clean the cement. Cleaning the cement decking will help eliminate dirt and grime, preventing it from becoming gray and dingy.
- Any fractures in your cement should be repaired as soon as possible. Water will not be able to seep into the cracks and deteriorate your decking if they are repaired.
- Make certain that your cement joints are thoroughly sealed. Water and dirt will not deteriorate the joints if they are sealed, and weeds will not grow up through the crevices.
- Sealing the cement surface will help it repel water, withstand abrasion, and prevent it from bleaching due to the sun.
What is the Best Way to Clean Cement Decking?
To prevent chemicals off the cement, the best approach to clean it is with a combination of water and another cleaning solution, usually vinegar. If you’re cleaning a huge cement surface, you may want to consider using a mop.
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For light to moderately filthy cement decks, a vinegar and water combination would suffice, but if your decking gets a lot of high activity, a pressure washer may be necessary. The pressure washer will remove the thick filth attached to the cement, and then you may complete the job with the vinegar-water combination.
Apply a sealant to the cement’s surface after washing your decking, if you haven’t done so earlier. It’s simple to apply using a paint roller in a short amount of time.
Choosing the Best Cement for Your Situation – Climate
You may be wondering how to pick the perfect cement now that you’ve determined cement is the ideal material for your deck. Different kinds of cement are ideal for different jobs, and your demands will determine the sort of cement you need.
The first thing you should think about is the climate in which you are presently living. Is it becoming hotter or colder? Do you live somewhere with severe winters? Do summer temperatures soar to dangerously high levels?
If you reside in a cold region, high-early-strength cement is a good choice since it sets quickly and holds up better over the winter months. If you live in a hot environment, however, you should avoid using the high-early-strength cement since it sets too rapidly for good finishing.
Special Mixes – Choosing the Right Cement
After you’ve decided on a blend depending on your climate, you may want to think about a few additional unusual combinations. Crack-resistant mixes and air-entrained mixes are the most common, both of which assist extend the life of your cement.
Special fibers are weaved into the cement itself in crack-resistant mixtures. These mixes assist prevent surface cracking, but crack-resistant cement should not be used to substitute steel mesh or rebars if your slab is vast or requires additional strength.
Air-entrainment mixtures are used to reduce damage caused by the freezing-thawing cycles of cold periods, making them particularly beneficial in colder locations. Concrete bags with air-entrainment additives already mixed in are available.
Cement Decking Alternatives
If you don’t want to use cement, but still want a long-lasting decking material, consider the following possibilities. Keep in mind that these materials will demand different maintenance than cement and will last less time.
Materials for Decking:
- Aluminum/Steel: Steel is the second-longest-lasting decking material, with an average lifetime of 60 years or more. Aluminum is only good for 30 years or such. It is, however, the most costly alternative and does need regular maintenance to assure its durability.
- Plastic Lumber: Plastic lumber has a 30-year lifespan and requires just periodic cleaning since it is water-resistant and does not decay. Depending on where you reside and where you buy the decking, it costs between $5 and $9 per square foot.
- Composite decking has a rather short lifetime, lasting just around 25 years before it has to be replaced. However, it requires little care and the decking planks are slip-resistant. It will set you back between $4 and $6 per square foot.
- Pressure-Treated Decking: This is standard decking that only lasts about 15 years before it has to be replaced. It also requires the greatest upkeep of of the alternatives described here, as it must be repainted or re-stained every 2–3 years. However, it will only cost you between $2 and $6 per square foot.
Finding the appropriate decking might be difficult, but this article will teach you all you need to know about selecting the best cement decking for your needs and properly caring for it. Check out our post on whether or not a hot tub may be installed on decking, particularly in the winter.
Deck material is a hot topic. There are many different types of decking materials, and each type lasts for a different amount of time. The “how long does a deck last” is the question that you need to ask yourself when deciding on what type of deck material to use.
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