Weather-Resistant Deck Materials for Calgary’s Climate

Created on: June 25th, 2024
Categories: Deck Materials

No matter the weather, there are sturdy decks out there that can withstand it all.

But if the different types of deck materials were to have a showdown, which one do you think would be crowned as the most weather-resistant one? 

Would it be cedar, pressure-treated, composite, PVC, or vinyl decking

Well—keep reading to find out. 

Here at Mountain View Sundecks, the leading deck builders in Calgary, we’ll walk you through the details of how the weather affects your deck, the weather resistance properties of various deck materials, and helpful maintenance tips to prolong the life of deck materials. 

Table of Contents | Weather-Resistant Deck Materials for Calgary’s Climate

  1. What’s Calgary’s Climate Like?
  2. How Does the Weather Affect Your Deck?
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring 
  1. The Weather Resistance Properties of Various Deck Materials: A Comparison
  • Vinyl decking
  • PVC decks
  • Composite decks
  • Pressure treated decks 
  • Cedar decks
  1. Maintenance Tips To Prolong the Life of Deck Materials 
  2. Deck Your Outdoor Space with Top-Tier Weather Resistant Materials
  • Our Calgary Deck Repair Services


What’s Calgary’s Climate Like?


Those who live in Calgary, Alberta are no strangers to the fact that the area experiences a variety of weather conditions throughout the year. 

From an average of 128 cm of snowfall each year and -12 degrees Celsius temperatures in the winter to 21 degrees Celsius summer temperatures and approximately 333 days of sunshine a year, it’s a game of snowy and sunny for the city of Calgary—not to mention the occasional thunderstorms and heavy rainfall as well. 

With unpredictable weather patterns and fluctuations in temperature, you and your deck just never know what to expect. 

A deck designed by Mountain View Sun Decks


How Does the Weather Affect Your Deck? 


While you can easily throw on a winter jacket, don a raincoat, or slather on some SPF, the same can’t exactly be said about your deck. 

Whether it rains, shines, or snows—your deck materials simply have to put up with it all and shake it off. But let’s not forget how these elements can significantly impact the condition and longevity of your deck over time. 

As a home feature that truly elevates the style and functionality of your outdoor space, it’s only natural to want it to stand the test of time. But making it weather-resistant requires understanding exactly how the weather and changing seasons affect it. Let’s take a look from the point of view of your deck and discover what it goes through as the seasons change: 

Summer

During the summer months, the hot and humid weather can cause wood decks to expand and contract, leading to warping and cracking. It’s important to regularly clean and seal your wood deck to help protect it from the elements. Composite decks are more resistant to these issues, but they can still be affected by excessive heat and UV exposure. 

But thank goodness, you could always apply a UV protectant that can help prevent fading.

Fall 

There’s no denying that watching the leaves fall all autumn long is quite the picturesque scene—but did you know that when this foliage and other debris accumulate on your deck, it can lead to mould and mildew growth? (Sorry, we didn’t mean to burst your bubble there.) 

As such, don’t forget to regularly sweep and clean your deck to prevent these issues. 

Winter

Contrary to what pop culture tells us, not everyone actually wants to build a snowman—at least, your deck surely doesn’t want to.

During the winter months, accumulated snow and ice can cause damage to your deck. Be sure to remove snow and ice promptly to prevent any moisture damage. Salt and ice melt products can also damage your deck, so be mindful of what you use to melt snow and ice. 

Additionally, the freezing and thawing cycle can cause damage to wood decks, leading to warping and cracking.

A snow-covered deck


Spring

Spring may have us singing in the rain, but that’s a beat your deck materials won’t want to bop along to all the time.  

One of the main ways that spring weather can affect your deck materials is through moisture. With the increase in rainfall and humidity that comes with spring, your deck can become more susceptible to moisture damage. This can lead to issues such as rotting wood, mould, mildew, and warping. To prevent moisture damage, regularly inspect your deck for any signs of water pooling or rotting wood and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Also, make sure to properly ventilate your deck to prevent moisture buildup.

Another way that spring weather can impact your deck is through UV exposure. As the sun starts to shine more frequently in the spring, your deck can be exposed to damaging UV rays. This can cause the wood to fade, crack, and splinter over time. To protect your deck from UV damage, consider applying a UV-resistant sealant or stain to help prolong the life of your deck.

In addition to moisture and UV exposure, spring weather can also bring debris such as leaves, pollen, and dirt onto your deck. This can make your deck look dirty and unkempt, as well as create a breeding ground for mould and mildew. To keep your deck clean and free of debris, regularly sweep and clean your deck with a mild detergent and water solution.


The Weather Resistance Properties of Various Deck Materials: A Comparison


1. Vinyl Decking

  • Vinyl decking is made from a mixture of synthetic materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and offers excellent weather resistance.
  • It doesn’t warp, crack, or splinter when exposed to the elements.
  • Vinyl decking is impervious to moisture, making it highly resistant to mould, mildew, and rot.
  • It has built-in UV resistance, so it’s less likely to fade or discolour over time compared to wood.
  • Vinyl decks can become slippery when wet, which is a consideration for weather resistance as a safety aspect.

2. PVC Decks

  • Much like vinyl decking, PVC decking is made from 100% plastic and shares similar properties.
  • It does not contain any wood fibres, which contributes to its excellent resistance to rot, decay, and insect infestation.
  • It also handles extreme weather conditions well, with minimal expansion and contraction.
  • PVC decks are also highly resistant to staining and scratching.
  • Despite being durable against the elements, PVC can become somewhat brittle in extremely cold temperatures.

3. Composite Decks

  • Composite decking is made from a mixture of wood fibres and plastic, which gives it some of the desirable properties of both materials.
  • It’s more resistant to weather than natural wood, with lower susceptibility to moisture, warping, and splitting.
  • Most composite decking materials have UV inhibitors that help prevent fading from sunlight exposure.
  • While its mould and mildew resistance is good, it’s not as excellent as pure vinyl or PVC because of the organic material (wood fibres) in the composite material.
  • Composite decks can handle temperature fluctuations well but may swell or contract slightly with extreme temperature changes.

4. Pressure Treated Decks

  • Pressure-treated wood decking is made from lumber that has been infused with chemical preservatives to protect it from rot, decay, and termite damage.
  • While more resistant to rot and insect damage than untreated wood, it’s less resistant compared to synthetic materials.
  • It can warp, crack, and split over time due to weather exposure, especially if not properly maintained.
  • The chemicals used can help stave off mould and mildew, but moisture can still be an issue if the deck is not sealed regularly.
  • Pressure-treated wood is susceptible to UV damage and can fade or become discoloured without proper staining and sealing.

5. Cedar Decks

  • Cedar is a naturally rot-resistant wood, making it a better choice for weather resistance compared to many other types of natural wood decking.
  • It contains natural oils that repel insects and prevent decay, but it’s still vulnerable to some weather-related issues like warping and splitting.
  • Cedar requires regular maintenance, including sealing to retain its natural resistance to moisture and UV rays.
  • Over time, cedar can weather to a silver-gray patina if not stained, which some homeowners find appealing.
  • While more resistant than untreated woods, cedar does not match the weather resistance of synthetics like vinyl or composite decking.


The Weather Resistance of Decking Materials: A Summary


When choosing deck materials for Calgary’s climate, there’s a lot to consider—durability, maintenance requirements, and resistance to moisture, rot, insects, UV rays, and temperature fluctuations.

We know—that’s a lot of info to take in and weigh out. That’s why we’ve summed it all up in the table below to help you decide which deck materials will best suit your home and your lifestyle: 

Decking MaterialMoisture ResistanceRot and Decay ResistanceInsect ResistanceUV ResistanceTemperature FluctuationMaintenance Required
VinylExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentGoodLow
PVCExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentGoodLow
CompositeGoodGoodGoodGoodModerateModerate
Pressure Treated WoodModerateGoodGoodModerateModerateHigh
CedarModerateGoodGoodModerateModerateHigh


Leading Deck Company-Approved Maintenance Tips


No matter how durable your chosen deck materials are, if they aren’t given the proper care, you can’t expect them to stand strong for long. As the leading deck builders in Calgary, we’re here to share our top maintenance tips for prolonging the life of deck materials: 

Protection MethodDescriptionFrequency/Applicability
Regular CleaningSweep and wash the deck to remove debris and prevent mould growth.Regular sweeping; periodic washing with mild liquid dish soap. 
Water Repellents/SealantsApply repellent to prevent water damage.Every 1-3 years or as needed.
Staining and FinishingUse stain with UV inhibitors to protect wood from sun and moisture.As needed, typically every 2-4 years.
PaintApply exterior-grade paint for additional protection.As needed, check for chipping or peeling.
Regular MaintenanceInspect and repair damage, check for rot and insect damage.At least once a year.
Deck CoveringInstall a pergola, awning, or use outdoor rugs to shield the deck from direct sun.Install once; replace as needed.
Proper Drainage and GapsEnsure good drainage and proper spacing between boards for runoff and ventilation.During installation and check annually.
Snow and Ice RemovalRemove snow and ice promptly to avoid damage from freeze-thaw cycles.After snowfall or ice formation.
Deck StrippingStrip old finishes before applying new stain or paint for better adhesion.Before reapplying stain/paint after several years.
Deck PreservativesApply products containing anti-fungal chemicals to protect against mould and algae.As specified by product or as needed.


Deck Your Outdoor Space with Top-Tier Weather Resistant Materials


Which of these deck materials passed your vibe check?

Whether you’re leaning toward cedar, pressure-treated, composite, PVC, or vinyl decking, you’ll find the most weather-resistant materials and top-of-the-line solutions at Mountain View Sundecks. 

We’re the leading deck designers and deck builders in Calgary with over 20 years of experience in transforming outdoor spaces into al-fresco masterpieces. From start to finish, our experts exceed expectations and set the bar high for what it means to perfect deck design and installation. 


Our Calgary Deck Repair Services 


Has your deck weathered through it all—prompting the need for deck repair services?  

We’re not just the top deck builders in Calgary—when it comes to deck repair in Calgary, our team has got you covered too. From footing replacements to frost heave repairs and rebuilds, we’re just one call away from restoring your deck back to its heyday mode

Contact us today to get a quote. 

Check out our other blogs:

Mountain View Sun Decks
Welcome to the Mountain View Sun Decks Blog, your go-to resource for inspiration, tips, and expert advice on creating the perfect outdoor living spaces. With over 20 years of experience in designing and constructing maintenance-free decks and sunrooms, our team shares valuable insights and innovative ideas to help you transform your backyard into a beautiful, functional retreat.

Contact Us

For expertly crafted custom decks, railings, and stairs in Calgary, trust Mountain View Sun Decks to elevate your outdoor space.

Contact us today to discuss your project and let our team turn your vision into a stunning reality.

Unit B, 2121 39 Ave N.E.
Calgary, AB T2E 6R7
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