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Adding a deck or porch to your home is a great investment, and a decision that will leave you with an elegant outdoor space which is perfect for entertaining, spending time with the family on sunny days, or simply sitting and enjoying the fresh outdoor air while sipping your favorite beverage. Decks and porches are generally based on a wood construction, although metal can be used as well.

When designing and choosing your deck or porch, it's important to choose something that fits really well with your existing home. After all, porches can be made in endless styles, from futuristic chic with touches of metal to ornate gingerbread details or delightful Southern-style wraparound porches. You want to add a porch that sits naturally with the rest of your home and looks like it's always belonged there, rather than looking like a last minute addition.

Here are some of the most popular choices when it comes to wood for your porch.

Pressure treated wood is an economical choice that can look very pleasing. Pressure treated wood lasts for around 15 years and requires some care and maintenance in terms of regular cleaning. A good quality stain will also go a long way to prolonging the life of your pressure treated wood porch.

Redwood and cedar are a more expensive option, but offer a timelessly elegant finish with deep colors and natural grains, and a great deal of durability. Redwood and cedar are naturally resistant to bugs and rot, and can be left untreated for a beautiful naturally weathered finish.

Ipé is a tropical hardwood, similar to teak, which is extremely durable and hard wearing, while still retaining all the elegance and quality of softer lumbers. Ipé tends towards the pricey end of the spectrum, but its beautiful finish, 40 year plus lifespan and natural resistance to decay make it a good investment.

Composite lumber is made of a mix of wood fibers and plastics. An affordable choice, good quality composites can recreate the look of more expensive finishes, though professional advice is recommended to help you avoid choosing a decking that will look plastic. Composites are splinter free and resistant to UV rays, insects and rot. They can be treated with stains to add color and depth.

A deck or porch is one of the best ways to add instant character and charm to your home.

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