Decking choices extend beyond aesthetics and durability; they profoundly impact our environment. The quest for eco-friendly decking has become paramount in an era of heightened environmental consciousness. The pursuit of sustainable living has steered the construction industry towards embracing materials that minimize ecological footprints and prioritize renewable resources.

This comprehensive buying guide is crafted to navigate the intricate realm of eco-friendly decking. It aims to empower buyers with the knowledge to make conscientious choices, shedding light on materials that harmonize outdoor living with environmental preservation.

By understanding the significance of eco-friendly decking and exploring various sustainable options, consumers can contribute positively to the planet while enhancing their outdoor spaces. Join us in this exploration as we unveil the world of eco-conscious decking, redefining outdoor living while embracing a commitment to a greener, more sustainable future.

Eco-friendly decking involves using sustainable materials that minimize environmental impact without compromising quality or aesthetics. Understanding the nuances of eco-friendly decking involves a comprehensive exploration of materials, their impact, and their benefits over traditional options.

What Is Eco-Friendly Decking

Eco-friendly decking is a construction approach that emphasizes sustainability and environmental responsibility in creating outdoor deck spaces. It centers on choosing materials and methods that reduce harm to the environment while prioritizing durability and aesthetics.

At its core, eco-friendly decking focuses on utilizing environmentally conscious materials. This includes selecting resources that are sustainably sourced, recyclable, and contribute to reducing waste. It often involves using recycled or reclaimed materials, such as composite decking made from a blend of recycled wood fibers and plastics or opting for natural wood alternatives sourced from responsibly managed forests. Materials like recycled plastic lumber, aluminum, and bamboo are also favored for their renewable nature or recyclability.

The environmental friendliness of decking materials is evaluated based on various factors. These include the sustainability of the material source, its recyclability or reusability at the end of its lifespan, durability to reduce the need for frequent replacements, and the environmental impact of its manufacturing process.

The methods and practices for installing composite decking are also crucial. Techniques that minimize waste during construction, reduce energy consumption and employ efficiency-focused designs can help achieve more sustainable results. In addition, responsible waste disposal and eco-friendly cleaning and maintenance products further support the environmental aspects of the flooring.

Choosing eco-friendly decking preserves resources and fosters healthier outdoor environments, thereby promoting sustainability and responsible living. These spaces provide aesthetic value and align with environmentally conscious practices, promoting a more sustainable approach to construction and living. Eco-friendly decking blends sustainability, durability, aesthetics, and resource responsibility, crafting functional, eco-conscious outdoor spaces.


Types of Eco-Friendly Decking

1. Recycled Composite Decking

Recycled composite decking typically comprises a blend of recycled wood fibers or sawdust, reclaimed plastics often from plastic bags or bottles, and binding agents like resins. These materials are manufactured, mixed, heated, and molded into boards or planks.


Eco-Friendly: It employs recycled materials such as wood fibers, sawdust, and plastic, thereby reducing the need for virgin resources and minimizing waste deposited in landfills.

Durability: Highly resistant to rot, decay, pests such as termites, and mold, ensuring a longer lifespan than traditional wood decking.

Low Maintenance: It demands minimal maintenance; typically, a simple cleaning with soap and water is enough to preserve its appearance.

Variety of Designs: Available in various colors, textures, and styles, offering aesthetic versatility to suit different preferences.

Longevity: Typically, it has a longer lifespan compared to natural wood, reducing the frequency of replacements and contributing to sustainability.


Higher Initial Cost: This can have a higher upfront price than some natural wood options, which might deter budget-conscious buyers.

Fading or Discoloration:  Some recycled composite materials may exhibit fading or discoloration over time due to exposure to sunlight or UV rays, though advancements in manufacturing have addressed this to some extent.

Heat Retention: In hotter climates, certain composite materials might retain more heat than wood, making them slightly uncomfortable to walk on during peak sunlight hours.

Limited Repairability: While durable, repairs can be challenging or sometimes impossible, and damaged sections may need complete replacement rather than simple repairs.

Sourcing Variability:  Quality and composition can vary between brands or products, so thorough research is necessary to find a reliable and high-quality option.

2. Bamboo Decking

Bamboo Decking

Bamboo decking stands as a sustainable alternative to conventional wood or composite materials, harnessing the rapid growth of the bamboo plant. Harvested from renewable bamboo forests, this material undergoes processing to create durable decking boards.

The decking comes in various profiles, similar to wood, and can be installed using similar methods. It is available in different colors, textures, and grain patterns, providing versatility in design options for outdoor spaces. Its inherent resistance to pests and mold makes it a favorable choice for areas prone to these issues.


Sustainability: Bamboo’s rapid growth allows it to reach maturity within just a few years, rendering it a significantly more renewable resource compared to traditional wood.

Durability: It boasts impressive strength and resilience, often outperforming many hardwoods. It’s resistant to warping, rotting, and insect damage.

Aesthetics: Offers a unique and natural look with various color options and textures, providing an appealing aesthetic for outdoor decks.

Low Maintenance: Requires minimal maintenance, typically requiring occasional cleaning and sealing to maintain its appearance.


Price Variability: While generally cost-effective, prices vary based on quality and availability.

Vulnerability to Weathering: Some types of bamboo decking may be susceptible to weathering if not properly sealed or maintained, especially in harsh climates.

Installation Challenges: Depending on the type, it may require specific installation techniques due to its hardness and composition, which could add complexity to the installation process.

3. Natural Wood Alternatives

Natural wood alternatives, such as cedar, redwood, or reclaimed wood, serve as sustainable options for decking. Cedar and redwood naturally resist decay and insects due to their natural oils and tannins. Reclaimed wood, salvaged from various sources like old barns or factories, promotes sustainability by repurposing existing materials. These alternatives offer an authentic wood appearance while addressing concerns related to deforestation and environmental impact.


Sustainability: These materials are sourced from renewable or reclaimed sources, reducing the need for harvesting new timber.

Natural Beauty: Cedar and redwood exhibit unique grains and colors, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces.

Natural Resistance: Certain wood species, like cedar and redwood, possess inherent resistance to decay and insect infestation, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Biodegradability: At the end of their lifespan, natural wood alternatives can biodegrade without releasing harmful substances into the environment.


Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including staining, sealing, and periodic treatments, is necessary to maintain their appearance and durability.

Cost: Initial costs for natural wood alternatives can be higher than synthetic decking materials.

Limited Availability: Reclaimed wood might have limited availability and requires careful sourcing, impacting accessibility for some buyers.

Longevity Concerns: Despite natural resistance, these materials might have a shorter lifespan compared to certain synthetic alternatives if not properly maintained.

4. Plastic Lumber

Plastic lumber is a versatile and eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood decking. It’s primarily made from recycled plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, or PVC. These materials are sourced from post-consumer and post-industrial waste like plastic bags, bottles, and packaging materials.

Through melting, molding, and shaping, these plastics are transformed into boards or planks that mimic the appearance of natural wood. The boards come in various colors, textures, and lengths, catering to different aesthetic preferences and architectural designs. Plastic lumber is known for its resistance to rot, moisture, insects, and UV rays, making it a durable option for outdoor decking.


Environmental Benefits: Using recycled plastics diverts waste, lessens virgin material reliance, and promotes sustainability in the construction industry.

Durability: Plastic lumber is highly resistant to decay, moisture, insects, and UV exposure, leading to a longer lifespan compared to traditional wood.

Low Maintenance: It requires minimal maintenance, eliminating the need for staining, sealing, or regular treatments. Cleaning typically involves simple soap and water.

Design Versatility: Available in various colors, textures, and profiles, providing flexibility in design and style options for different preferences.


Initial Cost: Plastic lumber’s initial price might surpass traditional wood, but long-term savings from lower maintenance costs compensate for this.

Heat Retention: Some plastic lumber boards can retain heat, making them hot to the touch in direct sunlight, which might be uncomfortable for bare feet.

Fading and Discoloration: Prolonged exposure to sunlight may cause fading or slight discoloration over time, requiring occasional upkeep to maintain appearance.

Limited Biodegradability: While made from recycled materials, certain plastic lumber variants might still have limited biodegradability compared to natural wood alternatives, posing disposal challenges at the end of their life cycle.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Eco-Friendly Decking

1. Environmental Impact

Assessing the environmental impact of eco-friendly decking involves evaluating the entire material lifecycle, from production to disposal. This assessment considers various factors, such as the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing processes, transportation, and eventual disposal or recyclability.

Responsibly sourced materials or recycled content often yield lower environmental impacts within decking material selection. Certifications like FSC or LEED assure sustainable practices in the production chain. Understanding the environmental footprint includes examining energy consumption, emissions, water usage, and waste generation during manufacturing.

Furthermore, assessing the recyclability or biodegradability of the decking material determines its impact at the end of its life. Materials designed for easy recycling or composting contribute to a circular economy, minimizing waste and reducing environmental harm. Considering these aspects empowers buyers to align decking materials with sustainability goals, minimizing environmental repercussions throughout their lifecycle.

2. Durability & Maintenance

Durability and maintenance considerations are pivotal when selecting eco-friendly decking. Durability reflects how well the decking withstands environmental elements, impacts, and wear over time. It involves assessing resistance to moisture, UV exposure, temperature fluctuations, and physical damage. Understanding a material’s durability helps anticipate its longevity and performance, which is crucial for making a sustainable, long-lasting investment.

Maintenance entails the upkeep required to preserve the decking’s quality and appearance. Different materials demand varied levels of maintenance. Some, like recycled composites, need minimal upkeep, while natural wood alternatives might require regular staining, sealing, or treatments to prevent decay or fading.

Buyers can anticipate ongoing efforts and costs by evaluating maintenance needs, ensuring they align with their willingness and capacity to maintain the decking’s condition over its lifespan. Assessing durability and maintenance provides a comprehensive understanding of how the chosen eco-friendly decking material will perform and be sustained in the long run.

3. Cost Analysis

Cost analysis in choosing eco-friendly decking involves a comprehensive evaluation beyond the initial purchase price. It encompasses the total cost of ownership throughout the decking’s lifespan. While certain eco-friendly materials may have higher upfront costs, they might present long-term savings by minimizing maintenance expenses or avoiding premature replacements.

Consideration of maintenance, repairs, and longevity is crucial. Some materials, like recycled composites or plastic lumber, require minimal upkeep and can last longer without deteriorating, reducing ongoing expenses. Comparatively, natural wood alternatives may demand regular treatments, staining, or sealing, adding to the overall expenditure.

Furthermore, assessing the return on investment (ROI) involves understanding the financial and environmental benefits. While initial costs seem higher for some eco-friendly options, their sustainability, durability, and reduced environmental impact can contribute to long-term savings and align with environmentally conscious values. Therefore, buyers should weigh the initial investment against the potential savings and environmental advantages over the decking’s lifespan.

4. Aesthetics & Suitability

This eco-friendly decking refers to aligning the material’s appearance with your desired outdoor ambiance while ensuring it fits well with your location and climate. This factor involves choosing a decking material that matches your home’s style and your preferences for color, texture, and overall appearance. For instance, options like natural wood alternatives offer a traditional, warm appearance, while recycled composites provide a more modern, sleek finish.

Additionally, suitability entails considering the material’s performance in your specific environment. Some materials might be better suited for particular climates, offering better resistance to moisture, heat, or cold.

By assessing aesthetics and suitability, you can select an eco-friendly decking material that not only enhances the visual appeal of your outdoor space but also withstands the unique environmental conditions of your area, ensuring longevity and satisfaction with your choice.


Buying Tips & Considerations

Researching Reputable Suppliers or Manufacturers: This involves investigating and identifying trustworthy suppliers or manufacturers known for their commitment to sustainability. Look for companies with a track record of using recycled materials or sustainable sourcing practices. Customer reviews and certifications related to environmental standards can aid in this research.

Reading and Understanding Product Certifications or Eco-Labels: Familiarize yourself with certifications or eco-labels specific to eco-friendly decking materials. These labels validate the product’s sustainability claims, ensuring it meets certain environmental standards. Common certifications include FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), Cradle to Cradle, or certifications that confirm recycled content.

Exploring Warranties and Guarantees for Eco-Friendly Decking Options: Evaluate manufacturers’ warranties and guarantees. Consider factors like the longevity of the warranty, what it covers, such as defects and fading, and the manufacturer’s commitment to standing behind their eco-friendly products. A robust warranty can indicate the manufacturer’s confidence in the product’s durability and performance.

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Installation and Maintenance Tips

Installation Techniques: This part emphasizes the importance of following manufacturer guidelines and best practices when installing eco-friendly decking materials. It may include advice on proper tools, fasteners, and techniques specific to each type of decking material.

For instance, composite decking might require specific fasteners or handling due to its composition, while bamboo decking might need specialized cutting tools. Correct installation ensures structural integrity and maximizes the material’s performance and durability.

Maintenance Guidelines: This aspect educates readers on maintaining eco-friendly decking to prolong its lifespan. It covers routine care routines, such as cleaning procedures, recommended cleaning products, and frequency. For instance, while some materials only need occasional washing with soap and water, others might require specialized cleaners or treatments. It’s crucial to highlight eco-friendly cleaning methods that don’t harm the environment or compromise the decking material’s sustainability.

Longevity Considerations: This part emphasizes the significance of regular maintenance to extend the decking’s lifespan. It might include insights into proactive measures to prevent mold, mildew, or rot, which can impact the material’s longevity. Additionally, educating users on factors affecting the material’s durability helps them take proactive measures to protect their investment.


Selecting eco-friendly decking materials minimizes environmental impact and offers durability and aesthetic appeal. This guide has underscored the significance of informed choices, emphasizing factors like recyclability, sustainability, and long-term maintenance.

Buyers can contribute to a healthier planet by prioritizing these considerations while enjoying durable, visually appealing outdoor spaces. Making mindful decisions aligns with responsible consumer practices, balancing personal preferences and environmental consciousness.

Notably, EVODEK offers composite decking, presenting an eco-friendly option. Choose EVODEK’s eco-friendly decking, to create a sustainable, long-lasting outdoor haven that resonates with your values and supports a greener future.