Composite Decking vs Wood Decking: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

Thinking of building a new deck or replacing an old one? One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is what kind of material to use: good, old-fashioned wood; PVC, which is made out of an engineered polymer; or composite decking, which is made primarily from recycled plastic with additional ingredients, like rice husks or saw dust, added for extra strength. These materials are wrapped in plastic ‘capping’ that holds the colour, has UVB protection, and contains scratch-resistant ingredients.
This blog will compare the wood decking with composite decking in several important categories – from there, the decision is yours!
Let’s get down to brass tacks. There are two ways to compare the price of composite decking vs the price of using wood. The first is up-front cost. There’s no question that most wood decking will cost less up front than most composite decking, unless you’re using an exotic wood material.
The second is long-term value. Even though a composite deck might cost more up front, it will pay for itself in saved maintenance and labour costs within a few years.
Maintenance & Lifespan
This is where composite decking really shines. Wood decking is notoriously expensive and time-consuming to maintain. It requires regular staining, sealing, or painting to prevent it from absorbing moisture. When it does absorb moisture, it is liable to warp, crack, or rot. It also fades quickly in the sun and requires frequent sanding to reduce the risk of splinters. Even when it’s not fading in the sun or warping with time, wood decking is prone to attack from damaging insects, like termites.
Composite decking avoids all of these issues. Composite decks are moisture-resistant, meaning they can be installed poolside or in uncovered areas – composite wood can even be used in docks! They also aren’t prone to insect damage, and are less likely to fade in the sun. They don’t splinter, so you and your family can comfortably walk around barefoot in the summertime.
Speaking of walking comfortably, composite decking with heat-blocking technology can prevent your deck from overheating in the summer. You can also choose hollow boards, which dissipate heat more easily, and lighter colours to better reflect the sun’s rays.
The lifespan of a composite deck tends to be around 25-50 years; with a wood deck – even an expertly-maintained one – you’ll be lucky to get 10-15.
The one area in which wood decking tends to have an advantage is appearance. Many homeowners consider wood decking familiar and attractive, and worry that composite decking may look ‘plastic-y’ or cheap.
But recent advances in composite decking technology make this an outdated point of view. You can now purchase composite decking that closely resembles wood decking, without the hassle and maintenance issues. Composite decking also has a built-in tread, so it’s good for those wet days.
Contact Us for More Information
If you’re interested in building a new deck for your home, consider shopping our wide variety of PVC and composite decking. We are one of the few retailers that offer online purchase of PVC and composite deck boards from trusted brand names including TruNorth, Clubhouse Premium PVC, and Lanai Premium PVC.
For more information, feel free to contact us today!
Image: Shutterstock

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