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Concrete vs Wood Deck in Des Moines: What’s Best for Your Home

Choosing the right material for your outdoor deck in Des Moines is crucial. It’s not just about looks; it’s about creating a space that fits your lifestyle and lasts for years. In this guide, we’ll compare concrete and wood decks, helping you decide the best option for your home.

Understanding Concrete Decks

Concrete decks are popular for their strength and versatility. Made from a mix of cement, sand, gravel, and water, they are poured and shaped into the desired design. They can even mimic other materials like stone or brick. In Des Moines, concrete decks are a great choice due to their ability to withstand varying weather conditions.

Types of concrete decks include traditional smooth finishes and stamped concrete, which offers a more decorative look. Stamped concrete is especially popular for its ability to replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood while maintaining concrete’s durability. This makes it an attractive option for homeowners who want a unique, low-maintenance outdoor space.

With the basics of concrete decks covered, let’s delve into the world of wood decks.

Understanding Wood Decks

Wood decks have a natural charm and warmth that many homeowners love. They’re built using various wood types, ranging from pressure-treated lumber to hardwoods like cedar or redwood. In Des Moines, cedar is a favorite for its natural resistance to rot and insects.

The beauty of wood decks lies in their natural grain patterns and colors, which can be enhanced with stains and sealers. However, the type of wood chosen greatly affects the deck’s longevity and maintenance needs. For instance, pressure-treated wood is affordable and durable but requires regular maintenance to prevent warping and rot.

When considering a wood deck, think about the look you want and how much time you’re willing to spend on upkeep. With this understanding of wood decks, let’s compare them with concrete decks.

Continuing in the next part with the pros and cons of each type.

Pros and Cons of Concrete Decks

Advantages of Concrete Decks:

Durability: Concrete decks are known for their strength and long lifespan. They resist weathering, pests, and rot, making them ideal for Des Moines’ varying climate.

Low Maintenance: Unlike wood, concrete doesn’t require regular staining or sealing. Occasional cleaning is usually enough to keep it in good condition.

Customization: With options like stamped concrete, homeowners can enjoy various designs and colors, fitting any style from modern to rustic.

Disadvantages of Concrete Decks:

Hard Surface: Concrete is hard and unforgiving. If comfort is a priority, especially for children’s play areas, this might be a concern.

Cracking: Temperature changes can cause concrete to expand and contract, leading to cracking over time. However, proper installation and care can minimize this issue.

Heat Retention: In summer, concrete can become quite hot, which might be uncomfortable for barefoot enjoyment.

Pros and Cons of Wood Decks

Advantages of Wood Decks:

Aesthetic Appeal: Wood’s natural beauty, with its varied grains and colors, adds warmth and charm to any outdoor space.

Comfort: Wood is generally more comfortable to walk on, especially barefoot, and doesn’t get as hot as concrete in the summer sun.

Customizable: Wood decks can be built in various styles and easily modified or expanded.

Disadvantages of Wood Decks:

Maintenance: Wood requires regular upkeep, including staining and sealing, to prevent decay, warping, and insect damage.

Weather Sensitivity: In Des Moines’ climate, wood decks can suffer from moisture-related problems like rotting, especially without proper maintenance.

Cost: Depending on the wood type, initial costs can be higher than concrete, and maintenance expenses add up over time.

Next, we’ll compare concrete and wood decks in various aspects.

Comparing Concrete and Wood Decks

Cost Comparison:

Concrete Decks: Generally, concrete decks have lower initial costs than wood, especially for standard designs. Stamped concrete can be more expensive but still often less than high-end wood options.

Wood Decks: The cost varies widely based on the type of wood. While pressure-treated lumber is budget-friendly, hardwoods like cedar can be quite costly. Additionally, the long-term maintenance costs of wood can add up.

Durability and Maintenance:

Concrete: Exceptionally durable and requires minimal maintenance. It stands up well to the harsh winters and humid summers of Des Moines.

Wood: While it offers a classic look, wood needs regular maintenance like staining and sealing to protect against weather and pests.

Aesthetics and Design Flexibility:

Concrete: Offers a wide range of styles, especially with stamped designs. It can mimic other materials and fit various architectural styles.

Wood: Provides a timeless, natural look that many find appealing. It can be customized with different stains and designs.

Environmental Impact:

Concrete: Its production can have a significant environmental footprint, but its durability means less frequent replacement.

Wood: Sustainable if sourced responsibly. However, treatments and maintenance can impact the environment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Concrete and Wood

When deciding between a concrete or wood deck for your Des Moines home, consider:

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Concrete and Wood

When selecting the perfect deck material for your home in Des Moines, several crucial factors should be weighed:

  • Climate and Location: Concrete’s resilience makes it a great choice for Iowa’s fluctuating temperatures, whereas wood demands more care under extreme weather.
  • Terrain: The nature of your property’s landscape is important. Concrete decks need a stable, level base and might be harder to install on uneven ground. Wood decks offer more flexibility for varied terrains, including slopes.
  • Usage and Functionality: Reflect on your deck’s intended use. For frequent entertaining, concrete’s low-maintenance aspect is appealing. For a warm, family-friendly space, the natural look of wood is advantageous.
  • Weight Restrictions: Planning to place heavy items like hot tubs on your deck? Concrete’s robustness is ideal. Wood can support weight too but might need extra support for heavy loads.
  • Personal Style and Preferences: Match the deck to your home’s style. Concrete is versatile and modern, able to imitate other materials, while wood offers a classic, natural charm.
  • Cost: Consider your budget. Concrete typically has lower initial and upkeep costs. Wood’s price varies, and maintenance can add to its long-term cost.
  • Design Versatility: Your creative vision matters. Concrete allows for diverse design options, especially with stamped and colored varieties. Wood, with its various types and finishes, offers a different kind of aesthetic flexibility.
  • Longevity: Think about the lifespan you expect from your deck. Concrete is known for its durability, often lasting longer with minimal maintenance. Wood, while sturdy, generally has a shorter lifespan and requires more upkeep to maintain its condition.
  • Maintenance: Your willingness to perform regular maintenance should guide your choice. Concrete decks are easier to maintain, needing just occasional cleaning. Wood decks require more frequent care, such as staining and sealing, to protect against the elements and wear.

FAQs About Concrete and Wood Decks

Which lasts longer, concrete or wood decks?

Generally, concrete decks have a longer lifespan, especially with proper care.

Is a wood deck more expensive than concrete?

Initial costs can be higher for wood, especially premium types, and maintenance adds to the expense over time.

Can I customize the look of my concrete deck?

Absolutely! Stamped concrete offers a variety of design options.


Deciding between a concrete or wood deck in Des Moines hinges on factors like cost, maintenance, and personal preference. Whether you seek the durability and versatility of concrete or the natural beauty of wood, ensure your choice aligns with your lifestyle and home aesthetics. Make an informed decision for a deck that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

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