Composite or Wood Decking – Which Is Better?

Part of the process of building a deck is deciding which materials to use for the decking. Basically, you have two choices – wood or composite. In this article, I’ll share the pros and cons of each type to help you choose the best one for your deck.

The main difference between wood and composite decking is the amount of maintenance required. Wood decking requires more upkeep than composite, but looks nicer. The companies who manufacture composite decking are doing their best to make their product look like real wood, but so far haven’t achieved it. I personally don’t think they’ll ever be able to match the beauty of real wood.

Because of the extra time needed to maintain wood decking, you first need to ask yourself if you have the extra time required to keep a wood deck sealed and looking good. If you DO have the time and are willing to spend it on your deck, great! Go with wood.

If, however, you don’t have extra time or don’t want to commit to sealing a wood deck once or twice a year, composite might be your best option. You can buy onlineĀ Decking Woods.

Even though wood decks require more upkeep, there is a type of wood that can be used for decking which requires very little or no upkeep. That wood is cedar. I’ve actually laid wood decking and done absolutely NOTHING to it and had it last for years with no problems. Cedar is naturally resistant to rain, snow, and sunlight. It doesn’t warp or twist, and have very little tendency to check or cup.

The only drawback with cedar decking left unsealed is that is will turn gray over time. If you are opposed to this look, you can opt to seal it once or twice per year. It may still “gray”, but it will take longer to do so. Actually ALL wood decks will turn gray over time, unless you apply sealer every few months, which is a lot of work.

Composite decking, on the other hand, is virtually maintenance free. Once it’s laid down, it won’t change much even through extreme weather. Some composite deck colors will fade over several years, but the fading is uniform, so you won’t really notice it happening.

There are a few disadvantages to using composite. First, composite decking is more expensive than wood. This could be a problem if you have budget constraints. If you factor in the cost savings of not buying sealer for years, it might balance out the cost increase somewhat.

Another disadvantage of using composite decking is the possibility of the product failing. Just like any man-made product, composite decking could be faulty. A few years ago, one major composite decking manufacturer put out some defective material. This resulted in many decks going bad which created a class action lawsuit. Even with compensation given to consumers, many were stuck with high replacement costs. This doesn’t mean every composite deck product is going to have problems, it’s just a reminder that it COULD happen.

Overall, wood or composite decks are good. You just need to decide between a gray deck, a wood deck that requires maintenance, or a composite deck which requires no upkeep, but is more expensive and has the potential to go awry.