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The Rise of Eco-Friendly Decking Materials

Cynthia Cline
November 3, 2023

The construction industry, like many others, has seen a growing trend toward integrating eco-friendly materials and practices into their projects. This change has extended to decking materials, and Homeowners’ Association (HOA) managers are increasingly looking for eco-conscious solutions for common-area decks.

To address environmental sustainability concerns, HOA managers can take advantage of the newer eco-friendly decking materials available. The following points cover some of the benefits and explore how these upgraded decking materials can make an ideal choice for HOA managers who want to upgrade their community's common areas.

Environmental Impact

Materials manufactured with eco-consciousness often use recycled or raw materials sourced from sustainable forests and other sources. Some products, such as composite decking, use a combo of wood fibers with recycled plastic, which helps keep plastics out of landfills while creating an attractive, durable decking product.

Choosing these types of decking materials contributes to preventing deforestation, cuts down waste, and reduces the carbon footprint of common area decks. By selecting eco-friendly materials, HOA managers can help conserve natural resources and fight climate change while aligning their communities with environmentally conscious and responsible practices.

Alternatives to Wood

Deforestation is a significant and growing concern, and eco-decking materials can offer the look and feel of traditional wood while not contributing to deforestation. Bamboo is an excellent eco-friendly material for decks due to the plant's rapid growth, making it a popular renewable resource and an ideal choice for eco-conscious HOAs.

Composite decking is another attractive alternative that offers durability, visual appeal and enhanced protection from the elements. Composite materials gain strength from the recycled plastics used in their manufacture and cut down the demand for timber.

Composite materials offer superior longevity and durability due to their water and weather resistance, but they can still suffer if not correctly installed. If subjected to prolonged moisture, composite decks may sag or warp and can develop some mold and mildew issues. However, proper installation with the right amount of spacing and ventilation provides an easy remedy to prevent this issue.


An essential benefit of eco-conscious decking is its longevity. Unlike wood decks that suffer from decay and other issues over time, eco-decks rely on materials that withstand the ravages of time. Decking made from PVC or composites is engineered to resist moisture, UV rays, and other weathering effects. This enhanced functionality makes them a dependable choice for common areas.

Traditional wood materials are at the mercy of various factors that impact their longevity, including the type of wood used, the climate, and the amount of maintenance they receive. While traditional wood can last up to 30 years in ideal cases, it can easily fail within 10 years due to weather, insects, and other damage. Composite decking is designed to outlast wood while requiring less maintenance and upkeep. It is not uncommon for composite decks to last for 25-30 years, and they can last even longer with proper care.

The longer lifespan of these decks ensures residents can enjoy attractive deck areas for many years without seeing signs of wear and tear. The deck materials’ durability not only lowers maintenance work and costs, it also reduces the frequency of necessary repairs and replacement, which reduces costs for the HOA and residents.

Lower Maintenance

Speaking of less maintenance, eco-friendly decking requires significantly less work to maintain than traditional wood decking. With wood decks, regular maintenance would include staining, sanding, and sealing to prevent discoloration, splinters, and decay.

In contrast, decks made with eco-materials require minimal maintenance. They save HOAs time and money because they never require staining, repainting, or sealing. To keep decks made with eco-friendly materials clean and looking attractive, periodic spraying with a pressure wash or regular hose is sufficient. This feature is significant for HOAs since the reduced need for maintenance and expensive upkeep allows them to allocate resources more effectively to benefit other areas of their communities.

Minimal Deterioration

Traditional wood decking can fall prey to rot, insects, and mold. The wood planks can splinter, warp, and have other problems that affect the safety and aesthetics of the deck area. In contrast, eco-conscious deck materials exhibit exceptional resistance to the forces of decay and deterioration. PVC and composites never splinter and do not easily warp like traditional wood products. These features reduce the need for maintenance, repairs, and frequent replacements.

Eco-friendly decking still requires some cleaning and maintenance because mold and mildew can grow on decks exposed to constant moisture. However, cleaning is much easier with composite materials, requiring less time and effort than traditional wood decks. HOAs can have peace of mind knowing the common areas will remain safe for residents and attractive, regardless of the weather and other conditions.

Water Resistance

Water resistance is a critical feature for decking, especially for HOA common areas involving deck waterproofing. Due to the plastics and other materials used in eco-friendly decking materials, they are inherently moisture-repellant. They are specifically designed to be water-resistant and impervious to issues that plague traditional wood, including cracking, rotting, and warping.

The water-resistant quality of eco-deck materials is essential to maintaining structural integrity, especially in areas constantly subjected to moisture. HOA managers can have confidence in the common-area deck’s ability to remain stable and sturdy while preventing costly water damage, unsafe conditions for residents, and unsightly wear and tear due to weather and other concerns.

Customized Solutions

Eco-decking materials provide a wide range of options for customizing the appearance of common areas to fit the aesthetics of their community. HOAs can choose materials in various colors, finishes, and textures, which aids in creating visually appealing, unique spaces.

Whether the common areas look best with a traditional wood-grain appearance or decking that offers a more contemporary vibe, eco-friendly materials provide plenty of design flexibility. The wide range of customization options allows HOAs to enhance the overall visual appeal of their properties while creating outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy.


Regardless of the materials used for common-area decks, the expense is an investment in the community. Eco-friendly materials can cost slightly more initially, but their longevity and durability make them much more cost-effective over time. This benefit comes from the need for significantly less maintenance, coupled with the extended lifespan and resistance to insects, rot, and other perils.

HOAs will find they need to spend much less on periodic cleaning, maintenance, and repairs and won’t need to face the cost of replacement for much longer than traditional wood decks. Investing in durable and sustainable eco-materials for common-area decks aligns with the HOA’s financial interests and ensures the beauty and longevity of the common areas for years to come.

Invest in Beautifying Your Community's Common Areas

The rise in eco-friendly materials for decking and other applications is more than a trend. It’s a choice HOA managers can make for the sake of environmental responsibility and to ensure the beauty, sustainability, and longevity of their community’s common areas.

As an HOA manager, your responsibility extends beyond your community’s immediate needs. By choosing common-area decking materials that are sustainable and environmentally conscious, your community contributes to a more sustainable future in addition to enjoying the more immediate benefits of enhanced aesthetics and performance of eco-friendly deck materials. Making this choice benefits your community and the environment.

If you're looking for a reliable deck waterproofing company, the experts at West Coast Deck are here to help with all your deck waterproofing needs.