If you are planning on adding a deck to your outdoor space, you probably have a huge Pinterest board of ideas. Shape, size, steps, colors, all the fun stuff. But have you considered what material to use on your fabulous deck? The question for today is whether you should use composite or wood for your deck.
We have installed tons of decks over the years and have some insights on composite vs wood as a decking material. Check it out!
What is Composite Decking?
Do you love reusing and recycling materials?
Then you will be excited to know that composite decking is made from reclaimed wood materials like sawdust, wood chips, or wood shavings and a mix of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) recycled plastics.
UV inhibitors and stabilizers are added to protect against sun damage and ensure consistent performance over time. To mimic the natural colors of wood, color pigments are also included.
Everything is mixed all together and then formed into boards or extruded planks.
Is Composite More Expensive than Wood?
Sadly, composite decking is more expensive than traditional wood – almost double in cost. But for a good reason!
Rather than just using cut wood boards, composite decking is a mix of wood fibers, recycled plastic, UV inhibitors, stabilizers, and pigment. Then it’s formed into boards or planks. So the time invested is longer, more complicated, and includes a lot of forethought (more to follow on that) with these products.
Why Use Composite Decking when it is so Expensive?
Double the cost of wood? It sounds crazy to even consider it, but read on and you might change your mind.
Let’s discuss the forethought mentioned above that goes into these products and why it makes it such a wonderful alternative to wood:
1. Durability & Longevity
The number one consideration when planning for an expensive project is: how long will it last?
Because of the method of creation, composite decking is resistant to weather, rot, insects, and other forms of damage. The combination of wood fibers and plastic make each plank super strong. And the plastic part of the composite is resistant to water damage plus repels wood-eating insects.
A wood deck, if properly cared for, lasts an average of 15 years. A composite deck has the potential to last 30 years! Think of it this way. You won’t have to replace your deck until after you paid off that 30 year mortgage.
2. Low Maintenance
Who likes to spend their free time on upkeep? You’ll be excited to learn that composite decks require very little maintenance.
While wood decks require regular staining, sealing, and painting to stay strong and pretty, composite decks only need a simple cleaning now and then due to their non-porous nature. There are no splinters to sand down. And with the UV inhibitor added into the mix, colors stay vibrant and fresh.
You always have to consider how it will look! If it’s not pretty, why bother, right?
While it is not exactly the same as real wood, composite decking is designed to replicate the look of natural wood with color variations in each plank and a wood grain texture. If you had planned on painting your wood anyway, it’s even easier to pick the perfect color for your outdoor space.
And while composite decking is not impervious to damage like dents and scratches, they are much less noticeable because the composite is the same color all the way through (forethought for the win!)
What did you Decide? Composite or Wood Decking?
Building a deck is a big deal and shouldn’t be taken lightly. This will be a place where you can escape for an afternoon and host parties. You not only want to have a lovely place to hang out, but be proud of your material decision.
Our thoughts on composite versus wood summed up:
Composite decks, like our favorite supplier Timbertech, offer low maintenance, durability, and a longer lifespan, but they are more expensive upfront. Wood decks provide a classic look and may be more affordable initially, but they require more maintenance and have a shorter lifespan.