Composite VS Wood Decking: Which One is Better?

Modern house with seamless transition from indoor to outdoors with decking

Nothing looks inviting like a well-done deck.

Whether it be sitting on the deck with family members, watching the sunset with your partner, or having friends over for a BBQ, decks give us space to enjoy all that nature has to offer. But when it comes to building your dream deck, you must decide whether you want wood or composite decking materials. Decking materials are available in various types of woods and composites. Both come with their benefits and disadvantages that’ll affect your outdoor overall look and cost.

Composite Decking Materials

Composite decking materials are becoming very popular among homeowners because they are more durable, resistant to mildew, and come in various colours. A composite comprises a mixture of plastic and sawdust or wood fibers held together with synthetic resin. This makes them resistant to insects, rot, mold, fire, fading due to sunlight exposure, splitting/cracking from snow loads, or heavy foot traffic.

Due to its durability factor, it’s considered the better option for high-traffic areas. Also, the water resistant composite decking materials are suitable for any climate zone since they do not warp or shrink when exposed to extreme heat or cold. Composite decking comes at a higher price than wood but, over time, can be cost-effective since it lasts more than twice as long with proper care.

Wood Decking Materials

You’ve probably heard about different types of cedar decks before. Cedar is a popular choice among homeowners because of its durability and natural resistance against weather conditions like rain and snow. It’s also softwood, so it’s easy to work with. The only downside is that cedar can be expensive, and it needs to be resealed every year or two to maintain its colour.

Backyard Deck and garden pond

Other types of wood that are often used for decking include redwood, ipe, and teak. Redwood is the most affordable type of wood, but it doesn’t have the same natural resistance against weather conditions as cedar. Ipe is a very hardwood that lasts a long time, but it’s also one of the most expensive options. Finally, teak is a popular choice because it has a lovely uand grain pattern, but it’s also susceptible to insect damage

Factors To Consider When Choosing Decking Materials

So, which one is better for your needs: wood or composite decking materials? It all comes down to the value you place on different aspects of building a deck. Here are some things to consider when making your decision:

Wooden decking with deck chairs

Cost:

Composite decking materials are typically cheaper than wood by about 15 percent. However, if you’re looking for something that will last longer, then ipe is probably your best bet. Wood decks need to be resealed every few years, while composites only require washing once in a while. There are also different composites with varying price tags, so you should find out which type will suit your needs best. Remember that if you choose a pricier material like ipe or teak, the cost can be doubled or even tripled compared to other materials.

Weather Resistance:

Some types of wood are naturally resistant to weather conditions like rain or snow. If you live in an area where it snows regularly during the winter months, having wood decking might not be ideal because heavy snowfall may cause damage by pushing up the boards and splitting them apart. Composite materials are better for areas with weather extremes since they don’t warp or shrink when exposed to moisture, heat, sun exposure, or coldness.  Also, avoid using cedar if you expect your deck to be exposed to snow loads since it can crack under the weight.

Durability:

Decking materials are often categorised based on how quickly they show signs of wear. Composite decking is said to have a lower durability, but that all depends on the quality of the used material. This is because they’re made with a mix of plastic and other materials, making them more resistant to fading, staining, and splitting. They also don’t absorb water like wood, so they’re less likely to warp over time. The downside is that they can’t withstand heavy physical damage like pressure or forceful impact, so avoid putting heavy objects on the decking. Wood decks should last several years if properly maintained and made with higher quality wood such as redwood and cedar.

Style & Design:

One of the benefits of wood decking is that there are many different types and styles to choose from. You can find a kind of wood that will match your home’s exterior and create a cohesive look. These can also be stained or left natural if you plan to reseal them every few years. Composite decking materials come in various colours, but the designs are typically more limited. However, composite decking colour won’t fade even after years of exposure to sunlight and rain. So if you’re looking for something with more variation, then wood might be the better choice for you.

Ease of Maintenance:

Composite decking is much easier to maintain than wood. All you need to do is sweep or hose it off every so often, and it will look good as new. On the other hand, wood decks require more work; they must be sanded, stained, and sealed regularly. Weather conditions like rain or snow can also cause problems when maintaining a wood deck, so if your yard is generally wet, then composite may be the better choice.

Environmental Impact:

If you’re worried about causing damage to the environment by using specific materials for your deck, then it is suggested that you use composite decks instead of wooden ones. This is because many varieties of wood are harvested from virgin forests; this prevents regrowth and damages habitats for animals like bears and deer. In addition, composite products are made with recycled plastics and other materials, so their environmental impact is lesser than that of traditional woods.

There isn’t necessarily a “better” option for composite vs wood decking materials. Which one you choose will ultimately come down to your personal preferences and budget. For example, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance deck that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep, composite decking materials may be a better choice for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get maximum value for your money and don’t mind the additional maintenance associated with owning a wood deck, then wood might be a better choice. Whichever type of decking material you choose will depend on where you live and how much time and effort you plan to put into maintaining it.

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