Decking Materials For Porch Flooring: Options & Ideas To Consider
Looking for porch flooring ideas or need help deciding what kind of decking to use? When choosing porch flooring, it is important to consider both aesthetics and function. The look of your porch decking material is crucial and must blend in with the rest of your home. It also needs to be long-lasting and able to withstand the weather and foot traffic over time.
There are many different types of decking materials for porches, including wood, Wood-Plastic Composite, Mineral-Based Composite, and PVC. Each porch flooring option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it is good to compare them before making a final decision.
Wood Decking: The Most Common Porch Decking Material
Wood is the most popular type of decking, even though it is not necessarily the most durable or long-lasting. It is more susceptible to rot, insect damage, and weathering than other porch flooring options, but it is natural and can add a lot of character to your space.
So, why is wood so popular? The upfront cost of wood is lower than any other porch decking material, making it a tempting choice for many homeowners. It also offers a natural look and feel that is hard to match.
If the reason you’re considering wood is affordability, keep in mind that the costs of maintenance will add up over time, resulting in a higher overall cost. Repairs or replacements will be necessary sooner than with other porch flooring materials, and you will need to re-invest to keep enjoying your porch.
Maintaining Your Wood Porch Floors Involves:
- Inspecting the porch yearly for damage.
- Repainting or re-staining every few years.
- Regularly cleaning and periodically sealing the wood.
- Repairing or replacing damaged boards (and they will become damaged sooner or later).
That is not to say that wood is a bad option. It is an excellent choice in the right circumstances, and we still build wood decks to this day because of their beauty and natural look. Wood offers a lot of charm and character, but it is important to be aware of the trade-offs.
WPC Composite Decking: The Most Popular Composite On The Market
Composite decking is a man-made product that combines wood and plastic fibers. The result is a material that resembles wood but is more durable and long-lasting.
In the past, composite decking was not as popular as it is today because it was too expensive and didn’t closely resemble real wood. But, over the years, composite decking has come a long way.
Advancements in manufacturing have led to composites that look more like real wood, and the price has come down as well. Performance and durability are also better than ever, making composite an excellent material for porches and other outdoor projects.
Benefits Of Composite Decking:
- Resistant to rot, insect damage, and weathering.
- Won’t warp, decay, splinter, or crack easily.
- Easy to clean and low maintenance (no need to paint or stain).
- Will last for decades.
- Lots of choices when it comes to colors and grain patterns.
Whenever you hear about composite decking, chances are that WPC composite is what they are talking about. WPC composite is the “traditional” composite that most people are familiar with. Most composite decking manufacturers produce their boards using this type of composite, with few exceptions.
The popular Trex brand uses this type of composite for ALL of its boards. Other industry leaders like Deckorators, Fiberon, and Timber Tech also offer WPC products.
However, as we will explore later, there are other new types of composites that are rising in popularity, offering new benefits.
Mineral-Based Composite Decking: A New, Revolutionary Option On The Market
Mineral-based composite decking is a newer option on the market that is made from a combination of minerals and plastic. This type of composite is designed to be more durable, longer-lasting, and resistant to damage than traditional WPC composite.
Mineral-based composite decking was developed by Deckorators, one of the leaders in decking technology. We’ve tried and tested countless brands and products, and Deckorators’ MBC decking offers many new benefits that do wonders for improving the experience of using your porch.
Benefits Of MBC Decking:
- Extremely resistant to rot, insects, mold, mildew, and water damage.
- Strongest composite decking in the world with the best weight-to-strength ratio.
- Highly stable in harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures.
- Minimal thermal expansion or contraction (and less likely to warp, crack, or split).
- Greater surface traction for improved safety.
In warm climates like Texas, MBC decking is an ideal option because it doesn’t retain heat like WPC composite. This makes it more comfortable to walk barefoot, and it also helps to keep your porch cooler in the hot summer months. The result is a more enjoyable experience when using your porch.
However, comfort is not the only benefit. MBC is also more durable and long-lasting.
When other types of decking get hot, they can bend and become warped. MBC decking is much more resistant to this type of damage, meaning that it will keep its shape and last longer.
Even when it comes to safety, MBC decking is superior. The increased surface traction reduces the likelihood of slips even when wet, keeping your family and friends safe.
Currently, Deckorators owns the patent for MBC decking, so they are the only company that offers this type of composite.
The 50-year warranty that comes with Deckorators’ MBC decking is a testament to the quality and durability of this product. To put things in perspective, the longest warranty offered by Trex is only 25 years.
Are there any drawbacks? Yes. One of the main drawbacks of MBC deck boards is that they can be more costly, in part because they are harder to work with. Due to their high stability in extreme temperatures, it’s more difficult to cut and bend the boards during installation.
However, with so many benefits, MBC decking is well worth the investment, especially if you live in a warm climate or if you are looking for a long-lasting, durable option.
PVC Decking: An All-Plastic Option
PVC decking is made entirely from plastic. There are no wood fibers or any other type of organic material. This makes it one of the most weather-resistant and insect-resistant options.
PVC decking and other types of composite decking share many of the same benefits. They are very easy to clean and maintain, you won’t have to worry about staining or sealing your deck, and they are extremely durable.
Key Differences Between WPC And PVC Decking:
+ PVC is more resistant to insects, water damage, and mold than WPC decking.
+ PVC is more durable than WPC decking.
+ PVC warranties are typically longer than WPC decking.
– PVC is more expensive than WPC decking.
– PVC fades when exposed to the sun’s UV rays, losing color.
– More prone to warping caused by temperature changes.
What About Mineral-Based Decking? PVC Vs. MBC:
Although PVC decking is typically cheaper, MBC decking offers many benefits that PVC cannot match. In our experience, one of the most important differences lies in their thermal stability.
In hot climates like Texas, PVC will retain more heat, making your porch hotter in the summer. And when winter rolls around, PVC will contract more and can crack more easily.
MBC, on the other hand, is much more stable in extreme temperatures and is less likely to warp or crack. It will not contract in the winter, and it won’t retain much heat in the summer.
Even when installed underground or underwater, MBCs will not easily break down. The extra cost is worth it because you won’t have to replace your porch flooring for a long time. However, if you need a more budget-friendly option, PVC can be a great choice.
Conclusion: Which Porch Decking Material Is Best For Porch Flooring?
Whether you are planning on building a screened-in porch, an open porch, a front porch, or a back porch, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is what type of porch flooring material to use.
If you live in a hot climate or you are looking for a long-lasting option, MBC decking is a great choice you can’t go wrong with. We think it’s the superior option and you should consider it if you can swing the slightly higher cost.
Nevertheless, WPC and PVC are both solid choices that will give you a durable porch floor.
Wood is far less durable, but it is unique and has a classic look. We recommend you avoid using wood unless you love the natural look and are willing to regularly maintain and replace it.
We hope this blog has helped you narrow down your choices and decide on the best porch flooring material for your needs! If you’re interested in adding a deck to your home, make sure to read our article “Things To Consider Before Adding An Outdoor Deck.“