Free Samples | Contact Us
composite decking

How to Build an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Deck?

January 08, 2024

Building an eco-friendly outdoor deck requires thoughtful consideration of materials, design, and construction methods. Choose sustainable decking materials, such as composite decking made from recycled materials. This will help minimize the impact on the environment. Consider the longevity of materials to minimize the need for frequent replacement. Choose products that require minimal maintenance and reduce the use of harsh chemicals.

Install efficient drainage systems and strategically place decks to take advantage of natural shade. Explore the possibility of installing solar-powered deck lights to utilize renewable energy sources. Additionally, use responsible construction methods such as minimizing waste and recycling materials. All of these help conserve energy and further enhance the deck’s environmental qualities. By prioritizing sustainability at every stage of the construction process, you can build an outdoor deck that not only enhances your living space but also maximizes environmental protection.

Being “green” comes naturally to many people, which means they consider a product’s impact on the planet when deciding what to buy. When it comes to choosing an eco-friendly deck, it’s not an easy decision to make. This is because each option has pros and cons for the environment, as explained below. You must decide which item will give you the most peace of mind when enjoying your new deck by weighing what is most important to you.

Eco-Friendly Decking Options: Composite Materials

Sustainable composite decking boards are made from wood fibers and recycled plastic. So it’s a decorative material that’s good for the environment. It also doesn’t need to be cleaned, stained, or sealed as often as wood, and it lasts twice as long.

However, not all composite decking materials are green. It depends on where the manufacturer gets the material and how it makes the product. For example, COOWIN’s eco-friendly composite decking material consists of 50% wood fiber and 38% HDPE. this not only recycles household plastic waste but also improves the utilization of forest resources. While protecting the living environment, it also gives composite decking a more realistic natural wood grain.


Advantages of Composite Decking

Composite decking boards are made from a mixture of recycled materials and wood fibers. As a result, it lasts longer than wood and is virtually maintenance-free.

Reduced waste. Because composite decking boards are made from recycled materials that are difficult to recycle, they help protect the environment and reduce the amount of waste going into landfills.

Protects trees. Most composite decking boards are made from wood fiber made from tree branches, and recycled wood. This means that no trees are cut down during the manufacturing process, which helps protect forests.

No chemicals. Composite decking boards do not need to be cleaned annually with strong cleaners like wood, or sprayed with stains and sealers. Composite decking can be cleaned with soap and water. As a result, the soil and water near the deck will not be contaminated with chemicals that are detrimental to them.

Longer life span. Composite decking boards last longer than wood, so decks don’t have to be replaced as often. In turn, this keeps old decking materials out of landfills longer and reduces the amount of material and energy needed to build new decks.


Disadvantages of Composite Decking

Composite decking is an environmentally friendly decking material. However, the decking cannot be recycled after use like wood. The debris left over from making a new deck is also of little use.

There is no second life. When composite decking boards need to be replaced, the replaced boards cannot be reused for other goods or projects like wood.

Reuse is limited. Each deck requires cut boards to be installed, which creates short lengths that cannot be used on the deck. Some of these short boards can be used again as coasters or to make planters, outdoor furniture, or birdhouses. But there’s usually too much scrap to come up with any good ideas.

Eco-friendly Decking Options: Wood

Trees have the potential to grow back, so natural wood decking is widely used. In addition, wood deck boards can be reused or turned into something else, such as mulch, at the end of their useful life. You can also use wood as fuel to produce energy. Look for certificates from reputable third parties to ensure that the wood you use is sustainable.


Advantages of Wood

Wood has been used for architectural decoration for a long time and is still easy to find. Although it has a lower lifespan than composite decking, it has many advantages.

Trees regenerate. While some natural resources have a limited number of uses, trees can be cut down and grown over and over again.

Recycling. You can use the deck’s unneeded wood for other projects. The planks of a wood deck can also be used to make mulch or as fuel for electricity generation at the end of its useful life. You can even burn old boards in a fire pit if there isn’t any grease or coating on the old deck.

Wood decomposes. Wood breaks down quickly, making it easier and less expensive to dispose of than plastics and composite materials.

Built-in Fire Pits

Disadvantages of Wood

Wood decks require regular maintenance to prevent rotting. It should be cleaned once or twice a year with a strong cleaner, and a fresh coat of stain or sealer should be applied every few years. Some old boards can be reused or burned, but most pressure-treated wood ends up in the landfill.

Chemical mixtures. Pressure-treated lumber is the primary choice for most wood decks. Although this type of wood decking is inexpensive, boards that have been chemically treated with preservatives and insecticides can be harmful to human health. Therefore, you should not burn these boards. These deck boards can be harmful to the environment even if they are buried in a landfill.

Cleaners and sealers. Even though ipe, redwood, and cedar decks do not rot, they still need to be cleaned, stained, and sealed frequently. The cleaners and sealers used are often considered harmful to the environment.

Deforestation. There are few ancient woods and rainforests left, many of which are protected by law. Even so, unethical logging practices still occur. If the wood you choose for your deck is an imported wood such as teak or ipe. Make sure it has been approved by a reputable organization such as the Forest Stewardship Council.

Pressure-treated Wood vs. Natural Wood

Cedar or redwood are the most commonly used natural woods when building a wood deck. This is because they do not rot or develop insects. Pressure-treated (PT) wood is usually made from Douglas fir or southern yellow pine. These woods are treated with chemicals and pesticides to protect against rot and insects. Nonetheless, cedar will last longer than pressure-treated lumber.

In addition, PT lumber requires more maintenance, such as annual staining in some cases. These two chemicals work together to make PT lumber less environmentally friendly. Pressure-treated lumber needs to be sent to landfills when wood decks are damaged and replaced. It’s not like real wood that can be burned. Redwood can last for many years, but it’s not very environmentally friendly. This is because it comes from old-growth forests that are difficult to regrow.

Other Eco-Friendly Deck Options

Aluminum decking and PVC decking are also good options. As with other options, they each have their pros and cons. Aluminum decks last a long time and don’t require much maintenance, which are both eco-friendly qualities. Most metal decks are powder-coated and have a minimal impact on the environment. Aluminum decks can also be reused as scrap to make something new when they are no longer useful.

Composite material or cellular foam is often used as a core for PVC (polyvinyl chloride) deck boards, which are then covered with PVC on all sides. This material is long-lasting and cannot be recycled. It is also not environmentally friendly or sustainable because it is made from petrochemicals derived from fossil fuels. However, some PVC decking boards are made from recycled materials, and some companies try to recycle their PVC so it doesn’t end up in the trash.


Wood vs. Composite Decking: which is more environmentally friendly?

The values you look for will help you choose which decking boards are more environmentally friendly. How long does Composite decking last? Are the materials it uses almost completely recyclable? Keeping harsh cleaners and other chemicals out of the environment is also very good for the planet. On the other hand, composite decking materials are difficult to reuse and cannot be recycled.

Wood naturally lasts for a long time if it is cut responsibly. However, most wood decks are made from pressure-treated wood that contains chemicals that are harmful to the environment. These decks require frequent use of chemical cleaners, stains, and sealers, and do not last as long as composite decking.

Also, like composite decking, most wood decks end up in landfills. You can also use natural wood that has not been chemically treated, but it will need to be maintained with paint and sealers. And not all-natural wood is taken in a way that is not harmful to the environment, especially rare species.

Related Post

author avatar
Galen Content Writer
Galen is a content creator and decorator with five years of experience designing home decor. In his daily life, Galen is constantly on the lookout for the latest, great examples of house design and further optimizes his solutions. Additionally, he writes articles related to outdoor design, interior design, and architectural decorating materials to help brands build more engaging relationships with their audiences.
Latest Posts
Composite Decking Designs In Outdoor Living Spaces Composite Decking Designs In Outdoor Living Spaces
July 10, 2024
No matter what the view is from your window, whether you have a small lawn or a beautiful body of water. Outdoor composite deck designs are a great addition to your home.
How Long Does Composite Decking Last? How Long Does Composite Decking Last?
July 9, 2024
The service life of composite decking materials varies depending on factors such as the quality of the material, the level of maintenance, and the local climate.
Deck Cable Railing Design Ideas Deck Cable Railing Design Ideas
July 8, 2024
Cable railings have an industrial look that originally appeared in restaurants, stadiums, and other large venues around the city, and are now popular in homes as well.
Can you put a grill on a composite deck? Can you put a grill on a composite deck?
July 6, 2024
Also, this is to ensure the safety of your outdoor living space. Most composite decking materials are heat-resistant and safe for grilling.