A well-designed deck can vastly improve the outer appearance of your home. If you’re thinking of building one yourself, you’ve probably encountered the ever-lasting dilemma: wood or composite?
Your choice will depend on many different factors, and we’re here to give you a comparative overview of the two! Once you know how they differ, you’ll be able to make your decision more easily.
So, without further ado, let’s talk decking!
What is wood decking?
Just as the name suggests, wood decking is all about natural wood. You can choose between many different wood types, and it’s generally a great decking solution. Of course, the wood is treated with chemicals during the manufacturing process so it can withstand and resist all kinds of external damages.
What is composite decking?
The second decking type discussed in this article is composite decking. Composite decks are made by mixing wooden materials with recycled plastic. The plastic acts as protection from insects and other types of threats.
So, now when we have a general idea about what wood and composite decking is, we can start the comparison.
Differences in costs
We can’t say one is pricier than the other, as the price mostly depends on the materials you choose. Some types of wood decks such as those made of pressure-treated pine are much more cost-efficient than the composite decks. On the other hand, most composite decking solutions are cheaper in comparison to decks made of ipe or redwood.
So, if the price is your primary concern, we suggest you do some research beforehand. You can find many resources online that deal with pricing rates in your area. As you probably suspect, prices vary depending on your location, time of the year, and the terrain the deck is built on.
Differences in appearance
Which one looks better? Well, that will mostly depend on your personal preferences. Some people prefer how the real wood looks and feels like, while composite seems too plasticky. Others say composite looks more polished.
No matter which one you choose, you should ask for a sample before you start building. If you just order the materials without touching them and seeing them in real life, you may be up for a surprise.
While appearance is important, you should focus on quality before anything else. No matter how good it looks, if it’s of poor quality, you’ll have to replace it sooner than you think.
Differences in durability
When it comes to durability, in most cases, composite is the way to go. If you live in an area with humid and rainy weather, having a wooden deck isn’t the best idea. Of course, you can still find quality wooden boards that can withstand the harsh conditions, but going composite is simply more rewarding.
Other than that, most composite decks come with long warranties, which can’t be said for the wooden ones. Make sure to choose high-quality composite decking boards to ensure longevity and durability. You can check this site out if you’re interested in browsing through some great examples.
Differences in maintenance
If you’re looking for easy maintenance, you should go with composite decking. It still needs occasional scrubbing but it doesn’t require sealing and repairing. Again, it depends on your personal preferences. Some people enjoy taking care of their wooden decks, even though it can be quite a hassle to do so.
Of course, you have to consider the costs of maintenance too. Even if you go with the cheapest wooden option, the costs of maintenance can make it more expensive in the long haul.
Whatever you choose, make sure to ask the supplier for some maintenance tips. If it’s your first time taking care of a deck, you’ll probably have to invest in a couple of cleaning tools.
Pros and cons
We’ve done the basic comparisons, so now we’re going to put it all in neat little lists that contain the advantages and disadvantages of both decking types. Let’s start with the wood decking:
- It’s completely natural
- Lower upfront costs
- It can be painted and decorated
- It doesn’t get overly hot during summer
- Staining and refreshing can be fun
- Real wood can’t be replicated
- It’s prone to breakage and splits, which can be costly to repair
- Insects are a threat
- Maintenance can be costly and it takes a lot of time
Now, let’s talk about composite decking:
- It’s low maintenance
- It’s easier to install
- More styling options
- They come with a warranty
- They’re more environmentally friendly
- Higher upfront costs
- Higher surface temperatures due to the plastic
- It can be slippery
So, which one should I choose?
It all depends on what has more value to you: low upfront costs or easy maintenance? Do you live in a humid or dry area? Do you have an insect problem? Do you prefer having that woody aroma or more styling options?
Once you have an answer to all of these questions, you’ll know what to choose. Of course, make sure to do your research and look for reliable suppliers. No matter whether you choose composite or wood, the quality of materials should be your primary concern.
Also, if you’re planning on installing it yourself, be careful to learn proper techniques and get the right tools. It’s not an overly complicated task, but a poor installation could cost you a whole lot of money.
The bottom line
When it comes to the “wood vs composite” debate, there are no correct answers. The optimal choice solely depends on your needs and goals. Wooden decks are natural, come in at lower prices, and they’re generally better for when you’re living in areas with a lot of sunny days. Composite decks, on the other hand, require less maintenance, are mold-proof and insect-proof, and are completely customizable.
Overall, they’re both great options, just make sure to find a reliable supplier. Read some online reviews, and look for indicators of high quality. Make sure you’ve seen and touched the materials before placing the order.