Modern Composite Decking

Choosing the Right Decking Material for WA Climate

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Are you facing the perplexing choice of finding the perfect decking material for the unpredictable climate of Washington State? Well, you're not alone. We all want our outdoor spaces to remain beautiful and functional, no matter what the weather throws our way.

With years of experience working with homeowners in the evergreen city of Marysville, WA, we've come to understand the key factors that play into your decision when selecting the ideal decking material. But here's the often-underestimated secret that makes a world of difference, especially in Washington State - durability.

Some materials are more suited to handle Washington's unique climate, where it's common to experience both rainy days and brilliant sunshine in the same week. Two heavyweights in weather-resistant decking materials are PVC and composite decking.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore decking materials and why Washington's climatic diversity calls for an extra level of resilience.

Understanding Washington's Climate

Before we delve into the world of decking materials, it's crucial to grasp the distinct characteristics of Washington's climate. Our state is quite diverse when it comes to weather, so your choice of decking material should reflect where you reside.

Western Washington - The Wet Side

Living on the western side of Washington is an experience in itself. The weather here tends to be relatively mild, but it's also known for frequent rainfall and moisture. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of choosing the right deck material for your Western Washington home, here's a quick climate snapshot to set the stage:

  • Mild, But Moist: Summer days are pleasant, with temperatures rarely rising above 79°F (26°C). Even in winter, daytime temperatures seldom drop below 45°F (8°C). Snow is a rarity, but you can expect nighttime temperatures to dip into the 20s and 30s (-6° to -1°C). So, while you might not need a snow shovel, you'll still want your deck to endure some chilly nights.
  • A Shower of Rain: Western Washington, especially the greater Seattle area, is well-acquainted with an annual rainfall of about 37 inches (94 cm). This means your deck material needs to be primed to handle moisture without falling apart. After all, you wouldn't want your beautiful deck to succumb to the frequent drizzles and downpours, right?

In the rain-soaked world of Western Washington, choosing the right decking material isn't just about aesthetics; it's about ensuring your outdoor space stands up to the elements with unwavering strength. So, if you're wondering which deck material is up to the task, stick with us, and let's explore your options.

Eastern Washington - The Land of Extremes

The eastern part of Washington is a land of weather extremes. Influenced by the imposing Cascade Range, this region experiences everything from scorching hot summers to bone-chilling winters. Let's delve into what you need to know about the unique climate of Eastern Washington:

  • Two Sides of the Cascade Coin: The Cascade Range plays a pivotal role in shaping the weather here. While the mountains bear the brunt of heavy rainfall and snowfall, the areas in the rain shadow, like Wenatchee, Ellensburg, and the Tri-Cities, revel in sunshine, boasting up to 300 days of it every year. Rainfall in this central region is minimal, typically around 7 to 9 inches (18 to 23 cm) annually. As you move further east towards Spokane, the annual rainfall inches up a bit, averaging between 15 to 30 inches (38 to 76 cm) a year.
  • Weather of Extremes: Summers here are scorchers with average highs ranging from the upper 80s to mid-90s (27° to 34° C). In contrast, winter delivers a bone-chilling experience, with average daytime temperatures oscillating between the upper 30s to just above 0°F (3° to -17° C). This means your deck has to withstand not just the elements, but also the extreme temperature fluctuations that this part of the state throws at it.

In Eastern Washington, where Mother Nature's mood swings can be as extreme as the weather, selecting the right decking material becomes more than just a decision; it's a strategic choice to ensure your outdoor space stands the test of time.

Now that we have the climate baseline set, let's explore the different types of decking materials that can withstand the wide-ranging conditions of Washington State.

Wooden Decking Options

Outdoor Natural Cedar Deck with Patio Furniture

Let's kick things off with traditional wooden decking materials. Many homeowners adore the classic, timeless look of wood. However, you need to choose the right type of wood to cope with our state's erratic climate.

Cedar Decking - The Pacific Northwest's Sweetheart

  • Cedar's Benefits: Cedar is a local favorite due to its natural resistance to both rot and insects. This makes it a stellar choice for Washington's wet climate.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: There's no denying the beautiful appearance and pleasant aroma of cedar. It's an instant crowd-pleaser.
  • Maintenance Needed: To keep cedar decking in tip-top shape, you'll need to commit to regular sealing and staining. But the effort is well worth it.

Redwood Decking - Beauty and Brawn

  • Performance in Washington: Redwood stands up well to our wet climate.
  • Durability: It's naturally resistant to decay, which makes it an excellent choice.
  • Aesthetics: Much like cedar, redwood is known for its stunning appearance.

Pressure-Treated Wood - A Budget-Friendly Option

  • Suitable for Washington's Climate: Pressure-treated wood can hold its own in the unpredictable weather of Washington State.
  • Budget-Friendly: It's often a cost-effective choice, perfect if you're watching your wallet.
  • Maintenance: However, be ready for some upkeep, including regular sealing and staining.

Engineered Decking Options - Low Maintenance, High Durability

PVC Decking

If you're inclined toward low-maintenance solutions, engineered decking materials are the answer, especially in Washington's changeable climate.

Recycled Plastic and Wood Composite - Eco-Friendly Choice

  • Composition: These materials blend recycled plastic with wood fibers to create a composite material.
  • Durability: These composites are highly durable and need minimal maintenance.
  • Eco-Friendly: Using recycled materials is a fantastic eco-conscious choice.

Capped Composite Decking - Ready for Washington's Weather

  • Advantages for Washington: Capped composite materials can handle the Pacific Northwest's inclement weather.
  • Resistance: They withstand moisture, fading, and staining - all common issues due to our climate.
  • Aesthetics: You're not limited when it comes to style and color options.

PVC Decking - The Wet Climate Warrior

  • Ready for the Wet: PVC decking materials are strong contenders against Washington's frequent rain.
  • Low Maintenance: They require minimal upkeep, making them a hassle-free option.
  • Design Choices: You have a plethora of colors and styles to match your personal aesthetic.

Climate-Resistant Decking Accessories - The Unsung Heroes

Railing Systems

While selecting the right decking material is crucial, don't forget the importance of climate-resistant accessories. Washington's harsh weather means you should choose durable add-ons.

  • Fasteners: Opt for weather-resistant screws and nails to keep your deck intact despite the elements.
  • Railing Systems: Invest in sturdy railing systems that withstand rain and sun without excessive wear.
  • Under-Deck Drainage Systems: Consider installing a drainage system to keep the area under your deck dry during heavy rain. This is especially useful in regions with heavy rainfall.

Maintaining Your Deck - A Little Care Goes a Long Way

 proper technique of sealing the deck

Regardless of the material you choose, regular maintenance is key to extending your deck's life.

  • Cleaning: Periodically clean your deck to remove dirt, debris, and prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Sealing: Wooden decks should be sealed every year or two to maintain their integrity.
  • Staining: Apply stain when needed to protect your deck from the elements. How often you need to do this depends on your decking material.

Conclusion - The Perfect Deck, Come Rain or Shine

In Washington State, where the weather can be as unpredictable as a plot twist in your favorite novel, selecting the right decking material is vital. Take into account the climate in your specific area, your aesthetic preferences, and your willingness to invest in maintenance.

If you're still unsure which material is best for you, don't hesitate to reach out to a friendly deck contractor in Marysville, WA. Your deck can become an amazing outdoor haven for every season with their expertise and guidance. So, go ahead and choose your ideal all weather decking material with confidence! You're just a few steps away from enjoying your beautiful outdoor space all year round. Don't let the weather rain on your parade!