For many homeowners, the most significant decision comes when they need to choose the material to use for decking and railing. In the past, the only option for decking was between common wood and more exotic wood species. But gone are the days when these were the only solutions. These days, you can choose between composite decking and wood. Both options come with other options under them. Composite decking is relatively new in the industry but has gained popularity over the years, becoming a top option for homeowners. When constructing your deck, you’re looking for one that lasts you for over ten years at least that’s why you need to know whether wood or composite decking is a better option for your needs.
Composite decking, even though new in the industry, has brought about a new way for you to build your decking with less maintenance. Composite decking was invented in the 1980s for the use of decking and railing. Even though traditional decking is still pleasant to homeowners, this appeal fades quickly as soon as the wood does. Wood requires constant repair, treatments, and maintenance. On the other hand, composite decking doesn’t require the same because they have a clean, smooth, modern finish and look.
What is composite decking?
Composite decking is made up of wood fibers encased in plastic. It is often described as a mixture of recycled plastic and wood fibers. Composite decking is made to mimic the appearance of wood. Even if it can’t exactly look like natural wood, the more technology advances, the more realistic this becomes, offering a “cleaner” appearance. Despite how good it looks, the most significant advantage it has over wood is the lack of splinters.
Unlike wood decking, composite decking is artificial. The mixture of wood, plastic, and bonding agents has a very smooth finish. These three mixtures are heated and shaped into boards, and then cooled. This process results in a board that needs less maintenance and looks more authentic than plastic alternatives.
Some common questions regarding composite decking:
- What is composite decking? It is an artificial material made to mimic wood. It is made using mainly recycled plastic, wood fibers, bonding agents, and other materials, then encapsulated in PVC.
- How does the cost of composite decking compare to pressure-treated wood? Composite decking will cost more than pressure-treated wood, for a good reason. The price of composite decking is because of its lifespan, resistance to insects and rot, splintering, and warranty. It also requires minimal maintenance giving it an advantage over pressure-treated wood.
- Will my deck look like plastic? It depends on what you purchase. When it comes to composite decking, the price point determines its quality. So, if you want a good-quality composite decking that won’t appear plastic, you’ll have to invest a little more.
- What is the maintenance of composite decking? Just because a composite deck is low-maintenance doesn’t mean you won’t need any maintenance. You will need mild dish detergent diluted in warm water, a bristled broom, and a hose to clean it. You can then scrub it down and rinse it off. Do not use strong detergents like bleach or power washer on composite decking as it might ruin it.
- Does composite decking get hot? While the first generation of composite decking retained so much heat, the newer composite decking doesn’t retain as much heat. Composite deckings don’t get much hotter than regular wood unless you pick a dark-colored board that tends to retain and absorb more heat because of the color.
- What colors are available? Depending on your chosen brand, you will find varying colors to suit your needs. Most resemble actual wood colors and go on to more grey colors.
- Can I install composite decking on my own? Yes, you can, but if you’ve never done it before and have no experience, it would be best to leave it to the professionals.
Does composite decking add more value than wood?
Composite decking is more expensive than wood, thus giving your home more value. Despite the higher pricing, you can still see that it’s also high-quality. Composite decking can add up to 68% value to your house, which is a better option for a homeowner. An average mid-range composite deck (16-20-foot) can cost about $17,249 in construction, which will reflect on your resale value, increasing it by $11,252. On the other hand, Wooden decks tend to cost less than composite decks and require lots of maintenance.
Is composite decking better than pressure-treated wood?
Pressure-treated wood needs you to apply a stain or clear sealer every other year, which is half the maintenance needed for natural wood. Composite decking, on the other hand, doesn’t require any refinishing, but you need to clean them every three to four years to prevent it from hosting mold.
7 Key Benefits Of Composite Decking Vs. Wood
Composite decking has so many benefits over wood, and we’ll compare them over here so you can see which one you’d instead go with.
Appearance and color choices
Composite decking has wood beauty with high performance and durability. Even though you can choose a color for your wooden deck, you’ll need to do touch-ups and fresh coats once in a while, and that’s not the case with a composite deck because it comes with its color and finishes, and they all retain their hue. Even though the first generation of composite decking in the market looks more like plastic and is very artificial, this is no longer the case. Currently, composite decking closely resembles wood deck boards.
When you have composite decking, you don’t have to worry about the frequency of water contact. But with wood, you’ll need to prevent frequent contact with moisture as it will lead to rot. Apart from moisture, composite decking is also resistant to rot and termites.
When you have composite decking, you will spend less time maintaining it than a wooden deck. You will use approximately 2-4 hours of cleaning per year, while a wood deck will cost you between 16-32 hours of staining, cleaning, and painting per year. Considering the vast difference in the time and money required to maintain composite decking, it is a better option than wood decking.
A composite deck often resists warping, rot, termite damage, and splintering, while wood is susceptible to all these problems. Composite decking is highly durable compared to plastic and timber. Every homeowner will want a decking that will last for long; hence the better option is a composite deck. It can stand heavy foot traffic and not have wear and tear for a long while.
Composite decking has a higher upfront cost but a longer life, while wood has a lower initial spend, and the durability varies on the species. Some woods last long while others don’t. Even though composite decking is pricey, it repays that by being highly durable. It also adds value to your home. If you’re planning on reselling the house, your price point will increase if you’ve used composite decking because it’s considered luxurious.
Workability and environmentally friendly
A composite deck can be ripped, bent, and routed to fit any required space. On the other hand, wood can be ripped and routed but is difficult to bend. No trees are harmed in making composite decking since most of them are created from recycled or scrap materials, which are pretty friendly to the environment compared to wood decks requiring a huge amount of lumber.
If you find the latest composite decking, you’ll notice that it reduces heat absorption by 35%, while wood can be uncomfortable in the hot summer.
Is composite decking worth the money?
Most people use wood when building their decks, even though it’s often not the better choice. If you’re considering building your deck, you need to know other options like composite decking so you can be sure the cost and effort is worth it. Composite decking is on the pricier side when you compare it to wood because of how it’s made and how long it lasts. When you get a good brand of composite decking, you can even have one that will last you 20 to 30 years before you need to change it.
When it comes to composite decking, you needn’t worry about walking barefoot in case of splinters because there will never be any. Besides the lack of harm to your bare feet, composite decking looks amazing compared to wood. You will also realize it’s easy to clean and doesn’t require any kind of maintenance besides that. You will also not get insect attack, damage, or rot. All you’ll have to do is do some deep cleaning once a year or every other year to prevent mold from growing.
So, when it comes to the price point, it is pretty fair considering its durability, quality, and longevity. You’d have cut the costs of maintaining a wooden deck and all the damage that comes with it, like splinters. It is a fair price.
How can I learn more about building a composite deck in San Antonio and surrounding areas?
If you’re considering building a deck, you should speak to a deck building service with the expertise required to give you a seamless extension of your home. French’s Custom Outdoor Concepts will build you a deck that fits seamlessly into your home’s architectural style and structure. You will have a deck that looks connected to your home rather than one that stands out. They will help you by designing an amazing deck that can hold as much weight as possible without any construction issues. You can contact them in case you have any queries on how to build your deck, materials, or style. They will be willing to help you come up with the most essential part of your home as it’s the one that presents your house even before one gets in.