There is currently an amazingly wide variety of materials available to build your deck. The most widely used decking material in California is Redwood – due to it’s availability in our forests. However, Redwood varies in price greatly – depending on the grade used.
Con-common Redwood is the least expensive, but will not last as long. Con-common contains some white sap wood which is softer and deteriorates faster.
Con-heart is better but more expensive. It has only red heartwood , but has knots.
Clear redwood is pretty pricey but gorgeous -has no knots!
Redwood decks will need to be maintained annually in order to keep their attractive appearance, or they will grey and begin to deteriorate quite rapidly. A redwood deck will last about 12 years without maintenance, or up to 22 years when well maintained. Cedar is another soft wood option, similar to redwood in price. Ipe is a Brazilian hardwood that is being used quite a bit (See the rounded deck I built in the photo gallery).
Nowadays, a variety of companies are manufacturing decking materials made of wood and recycled plastics (See links below) These composite products come in a variety of colors. The benefits of using composites include no need for staining and annual sealing! (yay!) The manufacturers say their decking will last up to 20+ yrs with no maintenance!
Important note: Everything “greys/fades” in time. The sun takes its toll on paint, wood, composites, plastics…etc. Even composite decks fade after many years toward a greyer look. Its smart to consider using a grey color because it will maintain its appearance