How to Choose Between Composite and Wood Decking for Your Home

Manmade composite material and natural wood can both be used for decking. But, there are some significant differences between them in terms of durability and cost.

Both composite and wood decking require framing with treated wood floor joists to support the decking. Floor joist spacing for a deck will vary depending on the type and thickness of the decking material. Composite decking requires closer spaced joists than those for wood decking.

When installing wood or composite decking, keep these tips in mind:

  • While wood decking can be screwed or nailed in place, composite decking is almost always screwed down to the deck framing.
  • Depending on the type of composite decking, the screws may be driven through the face of the planks or hidden from sight.
  • When installing wood decking that is still wet with preservative, butt the boards up tightly together since they will shrink upon drying.
  • Wood decking costs less than composite, but it requires finishing with a sealer or stain after installation, as well as refinishing every few years.
  • Wood decking also has a tendency to warp or crack from exposure to the elements compared to composite material.
  • Both wood and composite decking will need to be cleaned from time to time to remove dirt, stains, and mildew.

Watch the video above to find out more.

Further Reading


  1. Your tip to put wood board tightly together (if they are still wet with preservative), since they’ll still shrink later… was great! You also mentioned that wood decking might cost less up front, but requires extra materials like sealants every few years. Another thing to think about is that with composite decking, you won’t get splinters in your bare feet!


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