Comparing composite decking vs. wood will help you decide which is really worth your money!
There was a long period of time in which no contractor or retailer would recommend composite decking over wood, and actually mean it. This is because during that time, composite rarely looked good, and often warped. But composite decking has taken huge leaps and bounds in the aesthetics, and construction of composite. Composite decking companies are now using more natural materials such as bamboo (a very durable, organic, and antimicrobial option), and are now able to give composite the more natural look that so many homeowners desire. By comparing composite decking vs. wood, we can help you decide which is the best choice for you.
Don’t fret if you’ve already purchased, both are good options, but it is great to know the benefits and negatives of both.
Composite Decking vs. Wood
Composite decking, as mentioned, has made huge leaps and bounds in recent years. More and more people are choosing composite because it is a low maintenance option that can often look just as good as a wood deck, and sometimes even better. It really depends on your personal preference with this one. If you’d prefer low maintenance over a more natural look, this is a good option. But here is a full list of the pros and cons:
- Low maintenance- (no sanding or staining) and to clean, a hose will usually do the trick.
- Can use natural materials such as bamboo to create the composite material. This helps avoid deforestation.
- Often companies will use recycled plastics in their process (which helps to clean up the planet)
- Composite decks are becoming better looking as the companies develop, and can sometimes mimic the look of real wood fairly well.
- Reasonably protected against inclement weather as it will not rot, split after drying, or give splinters after cracking.
- Composite, just like traditional and pressure treated wood, will fade in color. This can be a real problem for composite since it relies on the manufactured colors to give it a more real look.
- Any surface can grow mold, and a composite deck is no different (especially a problem if the deck is not fully capped).
- Typically costs more than a wood deck.
- Not everyone is happy that it contains plastic material in its composition. Especially since not every company uses recycled plastic.
- Some people don’t like the lack of a natural look- especially since even composite can still get scratched, and then look even worse than wood.
There are a lot of homeowners who push for a natural wood deck like a cedar deck, because it is beautiful and often more affordable than composite. It’s a natural product that can last just as long as the man-made materials, this is an attractive benefit for many who like that traditional wood look. A wood deck will stand the test of time, often lasting several decades, as long as it is maintained.
- Natural wood look that so many homeowners love- an organic product.
- Resistance to rot that is natural to the wood.
- Most deck woods like cedar don’t readily absorb water or any other moisture- moisture is what warps, twists, and cracks, and rots wood- traditional wood decking is can ward against these issues and remain strong for approximately 20 years.
- Mahogany and IPE are surprisingly low maintenance as they are a higher quality material, and can outlast other, less-expensive materials.
- The natural color won’t retain for long. (Although staining is often recommended to help further the life of your deck)
- Decks that are low- lying, ground level, or are constantly shaded can deteriorate faster because they dry out slower (yes, they don’t absorb water readily, but it is still wood, and the longer and more consistently it is exposed to wood, the more vulnerable).
- Scratches, cracks, and warping can be a concern.
The right material really depends on you, and your personal preferences. If you like a low maintenance deck without caring whether or not it looks natural, then go with a composite. There are many great companies to choose from. If you want a natural, traditional or exotic wood deck, then go for it. It is still a great investment, as long as you don’t mind a little maintenance. The choice is yours.