Composite decking materials, also called synthetics, have zoomed in popularity over the last 10 years or so. Made from recycled plastic, wood fiber, and epoxy, composites don’t require stain or paint and they don’t splinter. You can get them in various colors to mimic real wood. One thing to note: composites are used for the deck pieces only, not the understructure. Low maintenance and safety are the main benefits: an occasional power wash is all it takes to keep a composite deck looking like new, and the boards never splinter and will outlast wood.
If you want a wood deck, your most practical choice is pressure-treated pine or fir. Woods that are naturally moisture resistant, such as cedar, cypress, or redwood are also used, but they have become very expensive. Most expensive of all are exotic hardwoods such as Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) or jarrah. Wood requires cleaning and sealing to keep it looking like new. Otherwise it will weather brown and then gray.
BHG expert Lacey Howard explains the options in this video.