Anyone who likes to walk around barefoot will want to carefully consider their options when selecting a deck material. If sandals really interfere with your vibe, then you’ll want to choose a wood or composite material that doesn’t absorb much heat, even when it is directly in the sun. Otherwise, your toes are going to be uncomfortable.

Dense Woods

In essence, if you want to choose the material that will keep your feet the coolest, you’re looking for the densest wood. A denser material will pull heat to the inside of the board, instead of keeping it on the outside, where your feet are. The surface will be cooler than lighter woods, especially those light woods that are more conductive, and therefore release more of their heat to you when you step on them. While they feel cooler, heavier woods will also retain heat longer than light boards, making it a little more comfortable for use in cool evenings too.

If you are looking for the coolest wood, you want the heaviest available. Dense woods that you might consider include:

  • Ipe
  • Cedar
  • Redwood
  • Mahogany

Cool Composite Options

Composite wood has a reputation for being too hot to touch in summer. While many brands of composite material have this problem, newer options have been engineered against it. Some have reflective surfaces that prevent the absorption of heat. Others are denser, with actual wood mixed with the plastic, so they absorb more heat into their core. You can get quality composite decking that will be significantly cooler to the touch than their competitors. Plus, the general principle that lighter boards are hotter also applies to composite materials.

Color Matters Too

While you’ll find that dense woods are the coolest, their color matters too. Any wood that you take and stain a dark brown will end up absorbing more heat. Darker colors always absorb more heat, which the wood will then release to your feet. Choosing a lightly colored and dense wood is best. However, you may find that many of the densest woods are dark! You’ll have to balance weight and color along with other factors like budget to find the right wood for you.

All the same color considerations apply to composite materials. Composite materials that are lighter in color will reflect more heat and feel cooler to the touch.

Other Ways to Cool Your Deck

Dark decking materials are popular, and so are lightweight composite materials. They can be stylish and affordable. So, if you’re going to choose one, what can you do about the fact that it’ll be pretty hot to the touch come afternoon? Great deck design can save your feet. Here are some options:

  • Shade: Wherever your decking is out of direct sunlight, it will be cooler. You can add shade with umbrellas. Or you may notice that privacy features like walls, trellises and ceilings provide shade.
  • Rugs: Add a rug as a barrier between your toes and the hot wood.

If you need help choosing a cool decking material or making up for a hot one, reach out to a local professional. For example, if you’re looking for a deck builder in Oakland, Fremont, Livermore, San Rafael or anywhere in between, our team can help you choose the perfect decking material for your yard, tastes, needs, and lifestyle.