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Knowing the difference between a Cedar Deck vs Pressure-Treated vs Composite can help you make a decision on your next deck!

Adding a deck to your home, or even upgrading an old one, can add a lot of value to your property. It also gives you and your family a space to relax and enjoy the outdoors, and entertain. But you need to decide whether or not you want to build a traditional cedar deck (or use another wood), use pressure treated wood, or build a composite deck.

While all of these materials could be great choices for you and your home, only one will best suit you. Knowing the difference can also save you hundreds- regional weather conditions make a huge difference in decking. Here are the pros and cons of each:

Cedar Decking

A Cedar Deck:

There are a lot of homeowners who push for a natural wood deck like a cedar deck, because it is beautiful. 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.


  • Natural wood look that so many homeowners love- an organic product.
  • Resistance to rot that is natural to the wood.
  • Cedar doesn’t readily absorb water or any other moisture- moisture is what warps, twists, and cracks, and rots wood- so cedar is more likely to ward against these issues and remain strong for approximately 20 years.


  • The natural color won’t retain for long. (Although staining is often recommended to help further the life of your deck)
  • Cedar is a soft wood, which means it can be susceptible to scratches if furniture is frequently moved around.
  • 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).


pressure treated deck(This pressure treated deck came from, HGTV)

A Pressure-Treated Deck:

While pressure-treated wood is often confused with traditional wood decks, there is a huge difference. In places like Colorado, that difference can be worth hundreds in disrepair. But first, let’s tell you about the pros and cons.


  • Durable, and can handle moisture a lot better than untreated woods.
  • Persistent to rot.
  • Long deck lifespan.


  • Although pressure-treated can stand up against moisture and rot, it often can’t tolerate the heat and dry air as well.
  • Because pressure treated wood is often full of moisture, when it dries, it will shrink unevenly and twist.

This is where money becomes an issue, especially in Colorado, where the air is dry and we are closer to the sun. You don’t want to spend all that money on a deck for it to only last a few months until it becomes cracked by the heat.

Composite Deck

A Composite Deck:

Composite is touted as the low maintenance option, and in many regards it is. For homeowners that don’t care whether the deck has a natural look, this is a great option. There are even a few composite decking companies that make their materials out of recycled plastic, wood chips, and other natural materials such as bamboo (though this isn’t always the case- it requires a little research).


  • Low maintenance- a hose will usually do the trick.
  • Can use natural materials, and keep away from deforestation.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Some people don’t like the lack of a natural look.


Whether it be a cedar deck, composite, or pressure- treated, Rocky Mountain Forest Products can provide you with a free estimate for your decking project when you give us a call at: 866-534-2108