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Composite vs. Wood Decks: Pros and Cons
Composite vs. Wood Decks: Pros and Cons

So, you’ve decided to add a deck to your home — a cozy space for summer barbecues, family gatherings, and relaxing evenings under the stars. But before you dive into your deck construction project, you need to make an important decision: wood or composite? Both materials have unique qualities and distinct pros and cons; understanding their differences is essential in choosing the perfect decking material options for your outdoor space.

Wood Decking: The Allure of Natural Beauty

Wood offers a natural elegance that blends seamlessly with landscaping, creating a warm and inviting environment. Its classic, timeless look makes wood the most popular decking material. Homeowners typically choose cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated pine for wood decking; the decision comes down to aesthetics, cost, and resistance to insects and rot. 

Wood decking offers some great advantages beyond natural beauty. It’s generally cheaper upfront than composite materials and most repairs are relatively simple; minor damage can easily be sanded and restrained, allowing you to extend its lifespan. It’s an eco-friendly choice, as well; wood is a renewable resource and can be sourced from sustainable forests.

It’s not without its drawbacks, of course. Wood decking is high maintenance; it requires regular cleaning, staining, and sealing to prevent rot, insect damage, and fading caused by sun and weather exposure. It’s susceptible to the elements and prone to warping, cracking, and splitting when exposed to moisture. Splintering can pose a safety hazard for bare feet, especially for children and pets, and can detract from its overall appearance. Wood has a shorter lifespan compared to composite decking, requiring more frequent replacement.

Composite Decking: Low-Maintenance Appeal

Composite decking is an increasingly popular choice for homeowners, combining the beauty of wood with the durability and convenience of modern materials. Wood plastic composites first hit the market in the 1980s; composite decking boards are typically made from a blend of wood fibers and plastic, offering a variety of colors and styles to match your home’s aesthetic and bring your deck design vision to life. 

The biggest draw of composite decking is its low maintenance. It requires minimal cleaning and no staining or sealing. Composite decking offers great durability; it’s resistant to rot, insect damage, and fading, offering a longer lifespan than wood decking. It’s splinter-free, making it safe for bare feet and ideal for families with children and pets. Composite decking is well suited for pool decks and areas with frequent use. 

There are some disadvantages to composite decking, as well. It’s generally more expensive than wood, though the cost difference can be offset by lower maintenance needs over time. While more resistant than wood, some composite materials can fade slightly over time. They can get hot under direct sunlight, making them uncomfortable to walk on barefoot — and while there’s a variety of styles available, they might not perfectly replicate the natural look of genuine wood. Finally, the composite decking production process can have a higher environmental impact compared to wood. 

Deck Construction: Which Material is Best?

Ultimately, the best choice for your deck construction depends on your priorities, budget, and lifestyle. If you prioritize affordability, natural aesthetics, and are comfortable with regular maintenance, then wood decking is a solid choice. However, if you value low maintenance, durability, and a wider variety of styles, composite decking may be a better fit.

When you’re ready to design your dream deck, Marling Lumber and HomeWorks will help bring your vision to life. We work with a number of decking companies and have access to a wide range of affordable cedar and composite decking materials. Our experts are happy to help through every step of the process. Contact us today to kick off your project; warmer weather is right around the corner!




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