DIY Tips for Fix and Flip Real estate investors-Composite or Wood Decking which is better

October 7, 2020

Which Is Better Composite or Wood Decking?


If you are a DIY real estate investor you might be asking what is DECKING?

According to Wikipedia: “In architecture, a deck is a flat surface capable of supporting weight, similar to a floor, but typically constructed outdoors, often elevated from the ground, and usually connected to a building.”

The patio options otherwise known as decking have grown exponentially in recent years, with five basic types, each with its own aesthetics, maintenance, and price range.

Well, if you’re planning to build a deck anytime soon, a new one or renovate your existing deck, I’m sure you are asking these questions.

  • What is the best material to use for decking?
  • What is the most cost effective decking material?
  • What is the best low maintenance deck material?
  • Is composite decking slippery when wet?
  • What is the best wood to use for a deck? And so many others.

You may have noticed that choosing a deck material has become much more difficult than ever. A few years ago, wood was the only option that might come in two or three variety. Today, we now have dozens of different decking materials that includes composite, plastic decks and hardwood.

Hence, before you start building your new deck, it is a good idea to look at the basic deck types, which has its own advantage and disadvantage.

In this article, we will be looking at two out five major materials you can use for your decking.

Thus, Composite decking and wood decking which is better?

Composite decking vs. wooden decking

When we talk about Wood and composites as a decking material we should know that they come in different quality range (low and high quality). But cost or quality is not the only ranking factor.

Though, it is well known that composites require less maintenance, so their cost is generally higher. However, they do require some maintenance and which brings other factors into play. Let’s look at some of the problems that may arise when choosing to use wooden deck or composite decking material.

Composite Decking

Like its name goes it is more like a hybrid of an existing material. Composite decking materials are becoming increasingly popular and mainly consist of a mixture of recycled plastic and wood fibres. While a deck built with these materials is clearly not “natural” and does not have the potential beauty of a real wood deck, you can choose from a range of colours to mimic a more natural look.

What makes composite decks such a good choice? To begin with, composite decks are almost maintenance-free. They generally do not need to be sanded, sealed or stained. However, they do require a biannual cleaning, with a soapy water and a low-power washing machine or a brush with soft bristles.

Composite decking Maintenance & Durability

Composite decks are made of durable materials that can withstand stains and weathering as well as natural wear and tear for up to 50 years. Unlike a natural wood deck that can last 10 to 30 years before being repaired. Composite deck don’t crack, rot, or become susceptible to insects attack.

In addition, most composite decks have built-in UV resistance so that they do not discolour and lighten as much as natural wood will do over time.

However, if your composite deck fades over time due to direct sunlight, you can dye or paint it to give it a new look. Many people don’t realize that colouring or painting composite materials is possible, but it is doable and can improve the beauty of your deck over time so that it looks new.

Composite decking cost

Not minding the cost, Is composite deck better than wood?

Well, the main disadvantage of composite decks is probably the higher price. At $ 30 to $ 45 per square foot for installation, the cost can quickly add up, compared to $ 15 to $ 25 for natural wood. With the benefits accorded with composite decks – like low maintenance, durability, and longevity of the material – the cost of composite decks can easily be overlooked. Thus, saving you money in the long run.

Wooden Decks

This is the oldest form of decking. Since the inception of decking, people have been used to using wood. We therefore know that it is a proven material that looks great. When it comes to wood, the biggest advantage is that it is economical and durable, and is available in different types of wood from cheaper and pressure-treated options such as yellow pine or better quality varieties like the cedar and redwood.

Wood decking Maintenance & Durability

Though composite decks look like a natural wood, some people still prefer the authenticity of real wood. As durable as wooden patios, it still require high maintenance costs, time and effort. Most wooden decks require full reprocessing, which includes sanding, cleansing, staining, or painting and sealing every two to five years. If left untreated, the wood deck will fade and eventually rot.

In addition, it is known that wooden decks break or warp due to the elements, or are normally worn out due to their use. This is particularly noticeable with pressure treated wood (PT wood). On average, however, a well-maintained wood deck can last up to 20 years or more. Still not as long as composite deck, but admirable time if handled properly.

Wooden Deck Cost

If you are on a budget and the price of a composite deck is too high for you then, a wooden deck is a great alternative. The lowest cost per square foot for a pressure-treated pine deck is about half the price of composite materials ($ 15 vs. $ 30). Even higher quality wood like cedar and redwood is still below the price of the lowest composite deck.

Choosing Between Composite or Wood Decking

The argument of the wooden or composite deck ultimately boils down to preference. If you just love the rich, natural look of real wood and don’t mind that it needs time and money to maintain it, natural wood may be for you. However, if you want a low maintenance deck that lasts almost twice as long as a natural deck, you can go for the composite deck. It’s your decision! But Talking to a pro offers great options that you may not find yourself.

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