Comparing Composite and Wood Decking

There are several aspects to consider if you’re contemplating building a fresh deck. The biggest decision you would have to make is with regard to the choice of material. There are quite a few materials you may choose to build your new deck. But the two most popular materials are wood or composite. If you’re split between the two and aren’t sure which route to take, this article may help you make up your mind. Remember, the material you pick would constitute your deck’s railings and surface. The frame would always be made out of treated lumber.

Intro to Wood and Composite

Wood is a natural product, with cedar and treated lumber being extremely popular. Other varieties of wood are hardwoods such as jutoba, lpe, and tigerwood, and there’s also redwood. Not all these different varieties are commonly used, however. The primary reason why wood is so popular is it’s inexpensive to buy and it looks good too. 
Composite is a manmade material, like vinyl and PVC. It’s made out of recycled plastic and wood fibres (typically rehashed male sawdust). The material is dense, and stain- and weather-resistant. 

Initial Cost

Composite decks could be double the price you would end up paying for wood decks since the composite is an expensive material and the structure must be more extensive. Composite decking doesn’t have the stiffness of lumber, which means it needs more support to mitigate sagging. And thanks to all the complexity, composite requires more time to manufacture, which adds up to the cost as well. In fact, this specific component of the manufacturing process could easily add several hundred dollars to the material’s end price. A wood deck is not so expensive to start with since it’s a natural material and there’s not much manufacturing or processing needed. 

Maintenance

A composite’s installation price is certainly higher than wood. But that higher price you pay in the beginning gets covered over a period of using the material. In other words, a wood deck has more maintenance requirements. If you can repair and reseal the wood yourself, wood would be equally inexpensive to maintain as composite. But if you’re going to hire a professional to get the maintenance done, your costs could soar. 

Wood maintenance would usually entail a stain job every alternate years, and also some sanding and stripping once every six years before performing the yearly deck stain, which would set you back by close to $900. Moreover, all the upkeep would not necessarily mean the deck would never splinter or crack. Composite, on the other hand, would need little routine maintenance. 

Usage Scenario

Wood is a natural material and is, therefore, better at blending into nature. If your deck would be outdoors in the shade or sun most times, a wood deck would serve you better. Composite is not the most comfortable material to use or work with on a hot summer day. In fact, composite could turn extremely hot. This is because the plastic in composite traps heat. The darker the composite colour, the more heat gets arrested. 

This doesn’t mean wood deck has no issues whatsoever when exposed to the elements. For starters, a wood deck could swell, split, warp, and crack. When damp, it could get heavier. But these fluctuating qualities may differ with the kind of wood used for the deck. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, both the materials have their pros and cons. It’s, therefore, recommended to pick a material after weighing the positives and negatives of both the material. If you are going to keep the deck indoors predominantly, you should go the composite deck way. Otherwise, a wood deck makes more sense.

For more information, visit: Timbertech.

 

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