Wood vs Composite Decking: Which One Is Better?

Wood vs Composite Decking: Which One Is Better?

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As you start to plan for your dream deck, one of the most challenging decisions you need to face is to choose the type of decking and material to use. While deck options abound, two of the most popular choices are wood and composite decking. The first type of decking offers the feel and appeal of natural wood, while the other is made from a combination of wood and plastic materials. Each type provides its share of merits and drawbacks that you should know before you even hire a professional contractor or a Maryland composite deck builder near you. Let’s compare each type of decking and identify which one is better? 

The Differences Between Wood And Composite Decking

Wood remains the top choice in building a new deck. Because it comes from a natural source, it is readily available in the market and has a wide array of selections. Many wood species can be used for decking—from cedar to redwood, pressure-treated lumber, and exotic wood species. Also, a lot of homeowners love the natural grain and appeal of wood in their outdoor living spaces, making it a perennial favorite across the US. While wood decking is undoubtedly an excellent choice, more homeowners are leaning towards high-performance composite decking to prevent any problems associated with wood decking such as rotting and high maintenance requirements. As a Maryland composite deck builder, many homeowners are becoming aware of the tremendous benefits that composite decking can offer. Made up of a mix of plastic, wood fibers, and a little portion of bonding agents, composite decking is the largest wood deck alternative in the market these days. It is no longer a stranger in the decking industry, so you can expect that it will become more popular in years to come. 

Appearance

Design and style options for composite and wood decking really vary. Many people still find that the natural appeal of genuine wood is superior to wood-plastic decking. In most cases, composite deck boards are available in a few selections and may come off as fake looking. This is the main reason why wood decking adds better real estate value than composite decking. However, this still boils down to your preference and style. Although modern composite decking products have better appearances, it is more beneficial to talk to your Maryland composite deck builder for recommendations and options. 

Durability

Wood decking is known to be durable and tough that it can last for decades. However, it still suffers from wear and tear over time and becomes even worse if not properly maintained. Exposure to harsh elements outside such as moisture, ultraviolet rays, or weather changes may impact the structure and stability of a timber deck. These factors can reduce your deck’s lifespan. On the other hand, the good thing about composite decking is that it can keep up with the lifespan and durability of a wood decking but with fewer maintenance requirements. In fact, it does not require the same upkeep that the regular wood decking needs. 

Price

Another big consideration when choosing the right material for your deck is the cost. Normally, wood decking is much less expensive than composite decking, particularly in the initial cost. There are affordable wood species that you can use for timber decking, so this is a perfect choice if you are on a strict budget. Due to the type and quality of raw materials utilized during the manufacturing process, the initial cost of composite decking is much higher. However, composite decking typically ends up paying for itself in about 2 to 3 years if you consider the cost of annual maintenance. With the yearly cost of sealing, staining, and refinishing a wood deck, building a composite deck might be a money-saver in the long run. And if you love to find more cost-effective options, you can always speak to a Maryland composite deck builder and schedule a free in-home consultation. 

Workability

Both composite and wood decking materials can be easily cut and fastened using common household tools, although it is much recommended if you hire a professional contractor or Maryland composite deck builder to do the job for you. The slight advantage of composite decking over wood decking is that the material can be bent easily to create curved sections on your deck. 

Moisture

One of the major downsides of wood decking is that the boards can quickly absorb water. If you won’t regularly maintain your wood deck with sealers, stains, or paint, you can expect it to rot, crack, and warp over time. On the other hand, composite decking can become fully moisture-resistant depending on the brand and quality of the composite materials you will use. So, if you live in an area with high humid or moisture conditions, then talk to your Maryland composite deck builder to start a composite decking project. 

Insect Infestations And Damage

Since wood deck comes from a natural source, it is very prone to insect infestation and damage. In contrast, composite decking is typically not susceptible to any damage caused by wood-destroying insects. 

Environmental Impact 

If you want a deck material that won’t harm the environment, both types of decking are great options. Both materials can help reduce carbon footprint and landfill waste. Most wood products come from sustainable forests. Composite decking, on the other hand, is even much greener because it comes from wood fibers and recyclable plastics. 

Maintenance

All types of decking need cleaning and maintenance. It just boils down to the amount of maintenance it requires to keep your deck in pristine condition. For instance, wood decking needs a lot of upkeep. You must regularly stain, seal, or paint it to combat moisture. You may also use a special chemical treatment to prevent it from cracking, rotting, warping, or splinting. With this, it requires a high degree of time, money, and labor to guarantee that your wood deck is in great shape. Depending on the quality of the wood, maintenance should happen every year. Composite decking, on the other hand, requires less maintenance and upkeep. Unlike wood decking, you only have to wash or sweep the boards to maintain their look. In the end, it even saves you time, energy, and money. Also, you don’t need to purchase any special treatments to keep it in pristine condition. 

Authenticity

For some homeowners, the authentic natural wood look is a deciding factor. In this case, nothing beats wood decking in providing the natural appeal and feel of genuine wood. Wood decking has an advantage over composite decking when it comes to authenticity. However, modern-day composite products are designed to closely resemble the look of natural timber. You just need to talk to your Maryland composite deck builder regarding design options and recommendations. 

Slip Resistance And Safety

If you have young kids at home, you need a completely safe deck material. Hence, you must choose a type of decking that provides slip-resistance and is non-hazardous. Wood decking can be potentially hazardous and slippery, particularly if there is already a growth of algae or moss on your outdoor living space. Moss and algae occur when you do not regularly maintain your wood deck. That is why periodic maintenance is necessary to prevent this from happening. Composite decking, on the other hand, does not have the same problem with wood decking, even when boards are wet and exposed to high humid conditions. High-quality composites are slip-resistance, so you can expect a safe environment for your kids. 

Final Thoughts

Both composite and wood decks offer excellent benefits and can enhance your curb appeal. However, both types of decking also share their own drawbacks that you need to watch out for. While there are special considerations that will guide you to make an informed decision, the choice of decking still comes down to your personal preferences, style, and budget. But if you think that you need an expert’s advice, feel free to connect with us. Let’s schedule a free in-home consultation today!

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