Wood and Composite Decks

Wood or Composite Deck?

While the longtime standard in decking has been pressure treated wood, advances in the arena of composite plastics has yielded a composite deck option.  There are, however, several factors to consider when deciding whether to go with wood or composite decking that include cost, maintenance, longevity, and the intended use of the decking surface.

Wood Decks

Wood decks are considerably less expensive than composite decks.  This is simply a result of the lower cost of the materials than is realized when building a composite deck.  Depending on the specific project, wood decks can be as much as 50% less expensive than composite decks.  There are, however, some aspects of wood decks that need to be considered.

Wood decks require maintenance.  When initially installed, the pressure treated wood is “wet” and a period of several months must pass before the wood has dried enough to allow for staining or paint.  Wood decks need to be stained with a sealer that will increase the longevity of the wood.  The sealer must then be reapplied every few years (some manufacturer’s claim a many as five years may pass between applications) to continue to maintain the appearance and durability of the wood.

When properly maintained, wood decks are expected to remain structurally viable for a period of fifteen to twenty years.

Composite Decks

Composite decks were developed to address the aspects of wood decking that were undesirable to property owners.  They last considerably longer, are very low maintenance (they still need to be pressure washed annually to remove mold or mildew), and tend to remain as constructed (no bowing or splintering).  Composite decks that are constructed in full sun locations may become too hot during the summer to walk on with bare feet whereas wood tends to do a better job of shedding heat.

Decisions, Decisions

We look forward to discussing the various options for your project with you and would be happy to give you a price comparison of composite and wood decking.