If you have decided to add a deck to your backyard how do you choose the best decking material to use: Wood or Composite?
All decks use treated lumber to construct the framing or substructure of the deck. So your decision is what type of material will you put on top. Before choosing, you need to know where your new deck will be. Is it in full sun the majority of the day or shade, and when you will use it most? You want to choose a material that will be comfortable for those extremely hot days. Size, style, cost and maintenance should also enter into your decision.
Two types of decking materials
There are two main categories to choose from: natural wood or manmade (composite). The most popular choices for wood are treated lumber and cedar. Manmade deck materials are called composites. Composite decking is made from wood fibers and recycled plastic. Dense, weather and stain resistant, it won’t warp, splinter, or rot.
The main reason people choose wood is that initially, it’s a lower cost alternative. The main reason people choose composite deck material is for its low maintenance. No matter what material you choose, your deck will require maintenance.
Composite decks need a regularly applied finish to keep them from fading. This is usually done once or twice a year. Wood decks are more susceptible to warping and rot, but mold can develop on composite decks and become very difficult to remove.
The installation price for a composite is going to be more than a wood deck but the actual cost over time is about the same. Wood decks require more maintenance like resealing and repair as well as occasional power washing. If you are willing to do the work yourself, wood is still a slightly cheaper option.
When composite first came out, very little thought was given to how they would perform in the heat. They get extremely hot, and you cannot walk on them barefoot. However, the lighter the color, the less heat it holds.
For this reason, it is recommended that areas where the climate is extra hot that wood is used as the decking material. The lighter the wood, the less heat it will hold. In the West, Redwood is a popular choice because it is reasonably priced, low maintenance and cool surface.
Composite decking can be twice as expensive as a wooden deck primarily because the materials cost more. Because composite decks aren’t as stiff as wood, the structure needs more support resulting in more cost to construct the base frame.
As you can see, choosing the right decking material depends on many different factors. Carefree Decks and Patio Covers have been a leader in the industry since 1994. Composite decking is our specialty, but our knowledgeable deck builders can help you make a decision that is right for you and your budget.