Best Decking Materials for Your Charlotte Home

There’s nothing more southern than sipping a glass of sweet tea on your back deck. That’s why hundreds of Charlotte homeowners hire Team Portico each year to create functional outdoor spaces that are perfect for porch sittin’.


From our experience building decks in the Queen City, we understand which materials fare well in Charlotte’s hot and humid climate. However, there is no one-size-fits-all suggestion. Rather, the best decking material for your Charlotte home depends on a variety of factors like budget, style, and even sun exposure.

Keep reading for a detailed comparison of popular decking material options.

WOOD DECKING MATERIALS IN CHARLOTTE

Wood is the most popular decking option because it’s strong, easy to install and repair, and can be stained to match any home’s aesthetic.

The downsides? Thanks to supply chain kinks and inflated demand, lumber prices have skyrocketed in years past. Wood is also prone to rotting and warping.

If you’re set on a wood porch, check out the top wood decking options for Charlotte, North Carolina:

BEST FOR WET CLIMATES: IPE

It might always be sunny in Philadelphia, but it’s not in Charlotte. According to online weather data, Charlotte receives 43% more rain than the U.S. average.

Fortunately, Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is up to the challenge. This exotic hardwood comes from the forests of South America and is naturally resistant to rot and decay. However, it comes at a cost: $20 to $25 per square foot.

PROS:

  • Pest-resistant 
  • Doesn’t need to be treated
  • Very durable; can last for up to 75 years
  • Slip-resistant

CONS:

  • Expensive 
  • Difficult to cut and drill through
  • Quite rare

BEST FOR SUN EXPOSURE: TEAK

UV rays do a number on your deck, leaving the boards weathered and cracked. That being said, if your Charlotte backyard receives full sun, you need to select a durable decking material like teak.

An exotic hardwood indigenous to just four countries (Burma, Laos, Thailand, and India), teak has long been sought for its resistance to rot and mold. But it also handles sun exposure like a champ. The downside? Expect to pay about $35 per square foot.

PROS:

  • Durable, even when exposed to full sun
  • Rot-resistant 
  • Retains color if oiled properly

CONS:

  • Quite expensive
  • Must be stained or oiled regularly
  • Environmental sustainability concerns

BEST FOR THE WALLET: PRESSURE-TREATED WOOD

Are you on a budget? If so, skip the exotics and go straight for a pressure-treated pine, fir, or spruce. After all, it only costs $6 to $10 per square foot.

During the pressure-treatment process, wood planks are infused with chemicals like chromium, copper, and arsenic. This adds sturdiness and also protects the wood from rot, fungal decay, and insects.

PROS:

  • Very affordable
  • Resistant to wear and tear
  • Easy to repair
  • Repels insects

CONS:

  • Prone to splintering and fading
  • Can release harmful chemicals
  • Requires regular maintenance

COMPOSITE DECKING MATERIALS IN CHARLOTTE

Let’s face it: wood can be fussy. That’s why so many Charlotte homeowners opt for composite materials, instead.

Composite decking is a low-maintenance wood look-alike typically made of equal parts waste wood (think: sawdust from mills and furniture factories) and recycled plastic (think: shredded milk jugs and plastic bags). Unlike wood decking, which has to be re-stained every two to three years, composite boards just need a soapy scrub to prevent mildew.

Ready for a low-maintenance porch? Check out the top three composite decking options for Charlotte homeowners:

BEST FOR SUNNY BACKYARDS: CAPPED COMPOSITE

Is your backyard sun-parched? If so, choose capped composite – a decking material that can withstand the Charlotte heat.

Capped composite is made with 75-95% recycled materials. It’s then coated with a polymer shell made of PVC that provides extra protection from the elements. What’s the catch? Expect to pay between $20 to $38 per square foot.

PROS:

  • Long-lasting
  • Minimal fading
  • Low maintenance
  • Environmentally friendly

CONS:

  • 30% more expensive than pressure-treated wood
  • Prone to staining and scuffing
  • Can be hot underfoot relative to wood

BEST FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: PLASTIC LUMBER

Turtle lovers rejoice: there’s now a composite decking option for you. Plastic lumber, also referred to as PVC, is made with up to 90% recycled materials and only costs between $5 and $13 per square foot.

What’s even better? This stuff is well-suited for the fickle climate of Charlotte. It can withstand heavy precipitation and temperature changes much like traditional wood decking.

PROS:

  • Low environmental impact
  • Resistant to water, mold, and insects
  • No staining needed
  • Lightweight but durable

CONS:

  • Easily stained and scuffed 
  • Can have a “fake” appearance

 

BEST FOR RAINY WEATHER: FIBERGLASS

When it comes to waterproof decking, fiberglass is the best choice. Typically made from a blend of wood pulp and fiberglass particles, this composite material doesn’t absorb a single drop of water and allows for easy snow runoff.

What does it cost? Only about $8 per square foot.

PROS:

  • Very water-resistant
  • Easy to maintain
  • Affordable
  • Won’t expand or contract because of temperature

CONS:

  • Might get hot underfoot
  • Heavier than wood
  • Prone to mold growth
  • May fade over time

ALTERNATIVE DECKING MATERIALS IN CHARLOTTE

If none of the materials discussed thus far strike your fancy, consider these two alternatives:

BEST FOR HOT TEMPERATURES: ALUMINUM

Though aluminum isn’t appropriate for coastal abodes (saltwater corrodes the metal), it’s a perfect choice for an ultra-modern home in Charlotte. The material stays cool to the touch, even during a sweltering Piedmont summer.

Expect to pay about $6 to $15 per square foot for anodized aluminum decking.

PROS:

  • Adds an attractive and contemporary look
  • Easy to clean
  • Typically lasts 30 to 50 years

CONS:

  • Prone to denting and scratching
  • Not suited for coastal locales
  • Difficult to install relative to wood

 

BEST FOR LONGEVITY: STONE

If you want durability, stick with stone. A stone deck is a wood-framed structure with stones that replace wood or composite deck boards and can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years. (Yes, an entire century!)

Of course, that longevity is reflected in the price. Depending on the complexity of your project and the type of stone you choose, you can be charged anywhere from $15 to $50 per square foot.

PROS:

  • Highest durability
  • Wide variety of colors and textures
  • Offers a refined aesthetic

CONS:

  • Most expensive material
  • Pavers may crack in very cold weather
  • More difficult to install

 

SELECTING THE RIGHT DECKING MATERIAL FOR YOUR CHARLOTTE HOME

Back porches are made for homemade BBQ and time with family. Simply put, they’re made for relaxing. With that being said, selecting the perfect decking material for your Charlotte home shouldn’t be stressful.


If you’re struggling to decide between teak or aluminum or two types of composite, contact Portico today. We can offer guidance based on your budget and style. We can also offer a free project estimate.