Wood or Composite Decking: Which is Best?
If you’re thinking about building a new deck or replacing an old one, you have a lot of decisions to make. How large will this deck be? Are you attaching it to a house or other structure? Most importantly, what type of material will you use?
Designing a deck to suit your needs should be fun and exciting. But when it comes to choosing a decking board that will last, you need to be aware of what you’re buying. It’s the most important step in your project.
Some people are more prone to install wood decking for its natural appearance. Others like composite decking better. Here, we’re discussing the pros and cons of either choice. Keep reading to learn more.
Many people prefer wood decking for their projects because it’s more natural. But you have to be careful to choose wood that will withstand the tests of time. There are a variety of options available so that you can build a wood deck in no time once you choose your material.
The most popular form of wood decking is treated lumber. It’s also known as pressure treated lumber and it’s an inexpensive option.
Wood is significantly less expensive than composite wood but it requires more upkeep over time. Depending on your overall future plans, you can decide if a wood deck is right for you.
Treated lumber is an economical option but you can also opt for cedar or pine. There are other variations available depending on your region but be prepared to pay more. And some lumber may not last as long as others.
Real wood will require annual maintenance. Aside from keeping your deck clean, you’ll need to stain or seal it to protect it from the elements and water damage. Some decks may splinter and require sanding from time to time and loose boards need to be repaired.
Real wood is more susceptible to damage over time but proper care will ensure a deck that lasts for years.
There are a variety of pests like bugs that want nothing more than to make a home under, or even in your new wooden deck. While pressure-treated wood protects against insects, it doesn’t protect against certain pests that will burrow and nest in your new deck.
You’ll need to take the proper precautions when installing your deck and make sure to keep up with the annual maintenance so you can catch pests before they cause a problem.
The location of your deck should depend on the type of weather it will be subject to among other factors.
Wood decks might warp in the heat and they’re more susceptible to developing mold and stains when exposed to too much shade.
It’s important to consider the location of your deck if you’re going to use wood materials. Also, consider the color of the wood and the stain for hot, sunny days when you plan to walk around in your bare feet.
Wood decking is, of course, the most natural route you can take in building your new deck.
Your selection of wood vs. composite decking mostly boils down to your preference regarding aesthetics. If you really enjoy the natural look of wood, composite decking probably isn’t for you. Likewise, if you’re more concerned about a neat and clean appearance, you might like composite better.
Composite decking is becoming more popular as people learn more about it. It’s made from recycled plastic and wood fibers to create the look and feel of real wood. Of course, this material is not natural but advancements in the technology and production of composite decking have made it more appealing.
If you’re on a budget you probably want to stay away from composite decking because it can be quite expensive. However, in many cases, it will last longer than wood materials and it doesn’t require as much upkeep.
The cost of composite decking is likely to be double that of what you would spend on wood materials for the same deck project. You’ll also need to consider different costs on joists that may be required to support your deck built with composite materials.
There is virtually no maintenance with composite decking. Once you install it, just enjoy its beauty and keep it clean.
This material is resistant to staining and splintering and you don’t need to seal it. Because it’s made from recycled plastic and wood fibers, it’s also resistant to the elements so you don’t need to consider other yearly maintenance.
Composite decking is impenetrable to pests like carpenter bees that will still find a way to make their homes in pressure treated wood.
Carpenter bees can drill nearly perfectly round holes about a half inch in diameter right into your new wood deck. Not only that but then they create tunnels with the grain of the wood, compromising the structure.
Composite decking is resistant to staining, warping, and rotting, so you can rest easy just about anywhere you decide to put it. Beware though that darker colors of composite materials are not resistant to heat in the hot months, especially when exposed to a lot of sun. They might also fade in too much light.
It might take some getting used to at first, but a composite deck can be beautiful and even luxurious. Because there’s not much upkeep, you can keep your deck looking great all year round.
Look for composites that resemble real wood to get the best of both worlds.
Sometimes the choice for decking is all about your preference. But it’s important to keep these tips in mind for safety and effectiveness when building your deck to last a lifetime.
No matter the type of project you’re about to tackle, it could make a difference, in the long run, depending on which type of surface you choose. Don’t forget to do your research and reach out to the experts.
When you’re ready to build your next deck or dock, contact us! We’re here to answer any questions.
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Dan has worked for Decks and Docks for over twenty-five years. He managed the original Decks and Docks store in St. Pete, which is our largest store. Dan is simply the best all around. He knows more about this company and our products than probably anyone else. Dan currently works in Sales at our corporate office.