The pros and cons of composite v wood decking

Installing one or more decks in a property is one of the most popular property improvement projects for property owners. In addition, to provide additional space, it also increases the value of the property. While most of the decks installed a few decades ago, were wooden decks, in the last decade, many companies are offering composite decks which combine wood and plastic at reasonable prices. A property owner who is asked to choose the material of his deck by his deck-builder would like to compare composite deck vs wood deck, find out the pros and cons of each material, before taking a decision.

Composite decks

Pros

The composite decks are manufactured after extensive research and combine plastic with wood, to have a wood-like appearance. The main advantage of using composite material is that it is very durable and can last for up to fifty years. The material is also treated to make it resistant to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the sun, so it will not fade or develop cracks. The material is waterproof and will also not rot if exposed to water for a longer period of time. Termites and other insects will not attack it, so it is more durable and does not require pest control.

Cons

The main disadvantage of having a composite deck is the cost of the deck. The manufacturing cost of the material is higher since it combines wood with plastic, so the material is usually priced at between $30 and $45 per square foot. Though it is available in shades that are similar to natural wood, it is not exactly the same color. Since the sheets of the composite material are extruded, the sheets are available only in specified sizes. It is far more difficult to cut it in different sizes like wood. Also if the deck is not cleaned regularly, mold may be formed.

Wood decks

Pros

Since wood is a naturally occurring material the cost of a wooden deck is far lower compared to a similarly sized composite deck. This makes it suitable for property owners who have a limited budget or are planning to change their deck design after a few years. The cheapest material for wooden decks is pressure-treated pine or other wood, which will cost $15 per square foot. Redwood and other hardwoods are more expensive, priced at $25 /square feet, however, they are cheaper than composite deck material. The wood gives a natural and luxurious look to the deck. It is possible to have a carved or customized designed deck as required.

Cons

The main disadvantage of wood decks is that it is less durable, lasting for less than ten years if it is not properly maintained. The wood can rot if it is immersed in water for a longer time. The wooden deck material may also become dirty, develop cracks, or get warped after some time. So to maintain the deck, every few years, sanding, staining, painting, and sealing will be required, which is time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, termites and similar pests may attack the wooden deck, damaging it.