You’re sure of one thing. You want to build a new deck. You’re excited about backyard barbeques and looking forward to spending time lounging with family and friends.
The trouble is, you’re not sure what kind of deck you should buy. A deck is a significant investment and you want to make sure that you get your money’s worth.
Some materials are cheaper up front, but cost more in the long run in maintenance. Some are never cheaper. And some last longer (i.e. you get more bang for your buck) than others. It’s hard to find an actual comparison, though.
Look no further! This cost guide will show you the cost comparison between pressure treated wood and manufactured decks.
You can find out once and for all which one is better for you!
Pressure Treated Wood vs Manufactured Decks
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There are two umbrella categories of decking materials that you can choose from. These are natural wood and man-made composites or manufactured decks.
Of course, within each of these categories, there is quite a bit of variety. That’s what makes it difficult to create a direct cost comparison.
For instance, the cost of your wood deck can vary quite a bit. It depends on whether you choose pine or something fancier like cedar or redwood.
There are also various manufactured deck materials to choose from. There are PVC, plastic, wood composite, and more.
We’re going to show you a cost comparison based on average costs. Your actual costs may be higher or lower depending on the material, the climate where you live, and whether the deck is covered or not.
The actual cost of a deck encompasses quite a few factors. The materials you choose, the complexity of the design, and the contractor you hire to build it.
But it doesn’t stop there. Whatever material you choose, there will be a certain amount of maintenance required to keep it looking nice.
Good maintenance practices will also extend the life of your deck. Thus getting you more out of your investment.
Let’s compare the costs of pressure treated wood and manufactured decks. We’ll start will initial costs and follow the breakdown up to 20 years out.
Wood is still an overwhelmingly popular decking material choice. Why? Because it is so much more affordable at the outset.
The average cost of basic pressure treated pine runs about $15-$25 per square foot. Fancier woods will cost a bit more, usually between $25-$30 per square foot.
This is the cost for a basic deck. It doesn’t include extras like railings or benches. So you’re looking at something between $4,800 and $9,600 for a 16×20 deck.
The price for manufactured decks also varies depending on the particular material you choose. But you can expect to pay around $30-$45 per square foot or $9,600 to $14,400 for the same basic 16×20 deck.
As you can see, wood represents significant savings over manufactured decking materials. When homeowners are deciding on deck materials, they often comparison shop that initial price tag only. After all, that’s the most pressing cost.
But, manufactured decks have one big advantage over wood. They are more durable and require very little maintenance to keep them nice. You just have to wash them a few times a year.
Wood, on the other hand, requires constant upkeep to keep it from rotting and disintegrating within a few years. You’ll have to sand, stain, and reseal every 2-5 years.
If you do it yourself, it will only cost you the materials and the time to do it. But if you decide to hire it out, you’ll end up paying quite a bit over the years. Let’s see how much.
5 Years Out
A lot of factors play into how often you’ll have to sand, stain, and reseal your wood deck. How much harsh weather it is exposed to and whether it is covered or uncovered are big ones. But let’s look at averages.
You’ll probably need to restain the deck every two years. Plus, let’s say the deck needs a full sanding and restaining once in the first 5 years. If you hire that out you’ll pay roughly $700 for the staining and $900 for sanding and staining. That should run you about $1,600.
Manufactured decks don’t require nearly as much maintenance. Wash it down a few times a year and you’re good to go. However, even if you do the washing yourself, the wood deck is still cheaper at this point.
10 Years Out
This is where things start to level out. If you’ve been properly maintaining your wood deck you’ll have paid out about $3,900. The cost of your wood deck is now rivaling the cheaper end of the manufactured decking spectrum.
By the way, for the manufactured material you won’t have had to do anything but wash it for all those years.
20 Years Out
A properly maintained wood deck should still be going strong at 20 years old. Since manufactured decks are not susceptible to warping, splintering, or rotting, it should also be looking really good.
However, over 20 years you will have spent roughly $8000 in upkeep on your wood deck. This is where you’ll start to see the advantage of having a manufactured deck.
Which Material Should You Choose?
When it comes right down to it, neither material is necessarily ‘better’ than the other. It depends on your situation and what works best for you.
If your deck will take a beating from the elements, it may be worth it to invest in the hardier manufactured decks. But if you don’t have the money to pay for those more expensive materials, you may have to settle for wood.
The length of time you plan to use it is also a factor. If you plan to sell within a few years, it makes sense for you to purchase a wood deck. But keep in mind that manufactured decks may add more value to your home because low-maintenance decks are attractive to buyers.
Looking for more great information about decks? Be sure to check out our blog for great ideas and resources.