A Comparison Of Composite Decking Vs Wood Decking

Are you intending on getting a new deck installed? If so, you are likely going to be interested in a detailed comparison of composite decking vs wood decking. There are plenty of things to consider when you are looking at the two. Below, we will be going over some of the pros and cons of each.

A Comparison Of Composite Decking Vs Wood Decking

Image Credit: hgtv.com

Composite Decking Pros:

1. Much Less Maintenance Required

One of the greatest benefits that composite decking has going for it would be the lack of maintenance required. While wood requires a lot of routine maintenance, composite is the opposite. With composite decks, you are pretty much going to get away with not having to worry about your deck after installation with the exception of regular cleanings.

2. Greater Durability

Composite decks are typically made up of some of the most durable and long-lasting materials that can hold up much better than wood. In fact, you can find these decks lasting anywhere from 40 to 50 years. Whereas, the max duration a wood deck can last will sit around 30 years prior to needing major work.

3. Long-Term Savings

While you will have to spend more money per square foot than wood, the added cost allows for savings in not having to invest in routine maintenance and having a deck that has a longer lifespan. Over time, you will begin to experience long-term savings with a composite deck. 

Cons Of Composite Decking

1. Up-front Cost

There is no getting around this. You can expect to pay a lot of money for composite deck materials per square foot compared to wood decks. Therefore, you have to be willing to invest more money initially. 

Wood Decking Pros: 

1. Lower Up-front Cost

You will end up spending a lot less money on your initial deck installation if you opt for wood decking. The materials are much cheaper.

2. Authentic Look

A lot of homeowners make the decision to opt for wood decking purely because of aesthetics and authenticity. To some, wood simply looks better and the higher maintenance costs are justified by the aesthetics it provides. 

Wood Decking Cons: 

1. Greater Durability

The fact is, wood decks are not going to hold up to the same kind of wear and tear and exposure to elements as composite decking. That being said, there are ways to enhance the durability of your wood decks. For one, you can opt for treated lumber or you could go with weather-resistant wood which can hold up much better to the harsh elements. An example of this type of wood would be cedar. That being said, they are still not going to hold up nearly as long as you would get from a composite deck.

2. High Maintenance Requirements

You are going to need to put a lot more time and money into maintaining a wood deck. They are the most demanding when it comes to maintenance requirements as they will require things like an annual refinishing.

Overall, there is a lot to think about when you are weighing your options. First, you should consider your budget as composite decking is much more expensive up-front. Beyond that, you will want to consider what matters most to you. It really all comes down to preference at the end of the day.

In Conclusion:

Having Composite Decking & Wood Decking Combined Is Also An Option

Image Credit: BuildDirect

If you follow the link above in the first paragraph, you will be taken to our website that displays a little about a second story deck we built here in the local area that has composite and wood combined. We used PT for the frame and rails and composite for the decking. It came out very nice, as you can see in the video at the link above.

It is possible to have a little bit of both worlds. Most deck builders – (BEWARE: not all because some unethical builders will cut corners to save themselves money) will use Pressure Treated (commonly called PT) lumber for the framing and other parts and pieces. 

Pressure treated is expensive but, at the end of the day will last significantly longer than un-treated exterior lumber. Yes, PT is considered an exterior wood option when building decks, awnings, gazebos, trellises, storage sheds etc etc. 

Exterior buildings that use PT will last a lot longer period. However, plan on applying a coat of sealer at minimum once a year. If not more. You’ll be happy you did.

A Short Story About Treating A PT Wood Deck When I Was In High School

When I was growing up in high school, my Dad “made me” LOL  – when I look back from today, I laugh at my lazy shortcomings… But I digress. I’m glad he trained me well. He was a great Dad!

Every year, like clockwork, we faithfully treated our deck with a fresh coat of sealer. I’m really glad we did that because that deck lasted my Dad many many years. He treated it long before I arrived and long after I left. Over 30 years!

lbert Dugdale @ Preferred Building Contractors

It was still in good condition when he died. I think he lived in that home more than 40 years or so. As long as I can remember, that deck was there. It was his pride and joy. And it showed. 

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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