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HomeWood vs. Composite Decking

Wood vs. Composite Decking

When planning your deck project, one of the first choices you will need to make is what type of material you want to use; the most common options for modern decks are wood and wood/plastic composite decking.

At Treesdale Landscaping, we have put together the pros and cons of each type of material to help you choose the best one for your dream deck.

Options for Wooden DecksDeck Building

There are a variety of wood species available for your decking and railing, including:
  • Redwood
  • Cedar
  • Pressure-treated pine lumber

Other options such as tropical hardwoods are also available, like mahogany or tigerwood.

What is Composite Wood Decking?

Composite wood decking, also called wood-plastic composite decking, is composed of wood fibers encased in plastic. This type of decking material is readily available at home improvement stores such as Lowe’s as well as lumberyards.

Wood decking presents certain challenges, so many homeowners and builders work with composite decking for its high performance.

Wood Decking Pros

Wood decking is a common option for many homeowners due to its availability and affordability. Other pros of wood decking include:
  • Affordability- Typically, wood decking costs less than wood composites in the initial purchase.
  • Appearance- Wood decking offers a more natural look.
  • Workability- Wood is easy to cut and fasten.
  • Temperature- The surface temperature of wood does not become as hot in the summer sun as composite decking.

Wood Decking Cons

Wood decking can cause issues such as rot and splinters and is a higher maintenance option. Some cons of wood decking include:
  • Moisture- Wood boards absorb water which can lead to rot.
  • High maintenance- Wood requires regular staining, sealing, or painting to prevent warping, splintering, rotting, and cracking.
  • Insect damage- Wood decking is susceptible to damage by insects like termites.
  • Splinters- All wood decking will eventually splinter, leading to pets, children, or those walking barefoot to get a splinter.

Composite Wood Decking Pros

Composite decking is easy to maintain and durable, making it a great option for a long-lasting deck.
  • Workability- This material is easy to cut and fasten and can also be heated and bent for curved deck areas.
  • Maintenance- Wood composite decking only requires sweeping and washing to keep the material looking great.
  • Insect-resistant- This material is resistant to damage from termites and other wood-destroying insects.
  • Moisture resistant- Composite decking is water-resistant, meaning they can be installed in high moisture conditions without the risk of decay.

Composite Wood Decking Cons

Composite wood decking, while it has many pros, also has its own set of cons, such as not looking as real or as nice as real wooden decking.
  • Temperature- This material gets hot in the direct sun due to its density.
  • Price- While the initial cost is higher for composite decking, it ends up paying for itself in the first few years when you factor in the costs you would have incurred with wood maintenance.
  • Appearance- Earlier generation composite decking had a tendency to look fake and plastic. Some of the more modern composites offer randomly embossed grain patterns to make the boards look unique and more realistic.

Selecting the Right Deck Material

With so many choices out there, we recommend that you choose a type of wood decking you like and then compare it with a composite you are interested in. This will help you narrow down your list and make a simpler comparison.

Deck Building Services

With our deck-building services, we can help you create a relaxing outdoor space to enjoy with family and friends. If you’d like to learn more about your wood and composite decking options or need help choosing the right material for your needs, contact Treesdale Landscaping today to learn more!