Wood Decks vs. Composite Decks: Which One Is Better?

My Home Handyman deck craftmanship detail

Written by My Home Handyman

December 14, 2021

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Whether you’re building a new deck or replacing an old one, it’s crucial to know the differences between wood and composite options to make informed decisions, just like any other structural or architectural material. This article will cover the following aspects of each material: durability, maintenance, longevity, cost, appearance, and strength. So let’s have a look!

Composite decking

Composite decking is made of wood fibres encased in plastic and has gained momentum in the construction industry. This manufactured product can be a great choice but comes with various pros and cons that you should know before purchasing:


  • Requires less maintenance: Composite decking doesn’t require much maintenance. There’s minimal staining, painting, or probability for deterioration since the product is designed to be sturdy. They are also stain-resistant and can withstand harsh weather. So, if you are looking for long-lasting materials and easy maintenance, composite is the answer!
  • Range of colours: Composite decking comes in a wide array of colours and stains. You don’t need to paint and repaint them over the years to match your home exterior.
  • Environmental friendly: Help the planet by choosing a synthetic decking composed of recycled products. Many manufacturing companies worldwide are optimizing the use of sustainable products for a cleaner future.
  • Scope for improvement: Composite decking is constantly improving. As technology advances, so do the manufactured products available. These offer the best quality and features and are continually improving.
  • Longevity: Composite decking has a life of up to 50 years. This is comparatively greater than wood which lasts for almost 10 to 30 years.
My Home Handyman deck steps detail

Cons of composite decking

  • Higher price tag: Composite decking is more expensive than wood. It might cost around $30-$60 per square foot. However, its estimated maintenance cost is $200 per year in the long run. If you’re on a budget, you might want to do some careful planning.
  • Not natural: Wood and composites can’t be compared in terms of appearances. Regardless of how much effort you make, the composite will never look natural because it isn’t. It’s a compromise for durability and low maintenance.
  • Research required: When purchasing composite decking, you must be careful while consulting the manufacturer regarding the product’s durability. You must ensure to check the fade and stain warranty as well.

Wood decking

This one is a classic choice for your deck. Since it’s a proven material for durability, strength, and longevity – it’s an excellent option for your home. However, not all wood is created equal, and there are different types to consider, such as pine, which is cheaper, or redwood and cedar that are higher-end materials. So, let’s have a look at the various pros and cons involved!

Pros of wood decking

  • Natural appearance: You can never go wrong with wood decking. It has an organic, beautiful, and natural appeal that offers a timeless and versatile look. Also, since they have a unique embossed grain, there are never two boards that look precisely the same.
  • Cost-efficient: Wood decking will cost you around $23-$42 per square foot – which is comparatively lower than composite decks. If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best options.
  • Less material required: Since wood decking doesn’t require much treatment and encasing, fewer materials are used to manufacture than composite decks.

Cons of wood decking

  • Expensive over time: In the long run, Wood decking is a more expensive option. Generally, wood decking requires $1000 per annum as an estimated maintenance cost, which over time adds up.
  • High maintenance: To extend the life of a wood deck, it’s crucial to paint regularly, stain and seal the surface and protect it against deterioration. In addition, it’s important to sweep and dust off the surface now and then to keep the deck clean and inspect for damage.
  • Insects: Wood is susceptible to insect and pest damage. And if there is extreme weather, wood decking will need regular inspecting for damage.
  • Prone to splintering: As we all know, wood can crack, making the surface less welcoming to bare feet or any exposed skin touching the boards or railings.
  • Unique shapes: Do you want curved timber sections for the deck? If yes, then probably composite decks are one of the best considerations. And note that they can’t be bent easily!
  • Uncomfortable in the sun: Wood decking absorbs the sunlight and can become quite painful in the hot summer sun.

Ready to refresh your home?

The argument of composite decking versus wood decking comes down to your preference. If you genuinely love the rich hues of wood and the climate mainly allows, wood decking makes a great option. On the other hand, if time, money, and maintenance are an issue, composite decking is the material for you.

Moreover, if you want the decking to last for a decade or two, you fall into the composite decking option. Yes! It can be challenging picking that perfect material for your home. So, sit back, relax, and choose what works best for you!

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