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Your Ultimate Guide: Composite vs. Wood Decking

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One of the most important decisions you will make when you design your ideal deck is the decking material you will employ. The two most popular choices are composite decking and a natural wood deck. Learn about the benefits and limitations of wood and composite materials by calling professionals like Green Home Installations so you can make an informed decision when constructing a new deck.

The numerous advantages of wood make it suitable to be used for the framework, which is the structural member of the deck that you do not always see until you are below it. This is the primary aspect to consider when deciding on deck material. Therefore, only the decking area and railing material options are considered.

Wooden Decks Options

Decking and railing may be crafted from several different types of natural wood. You may find a variety of woods, including cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine. Ipe and mahogany are two examples of tropical hardwood decking possibilities for those who like to work with more unusual wood species in their house.

Composite Decking

Composite wood decking, often known as wood-plastic composite decking, was developed in the late 1980s and consists of wood fibers wrapped in plastic. You can buy composite decking at any hardware shop or lumber yard. High-performance composite decking has become more popular as developers and homeowners become aware of the issues associated with wood decking.

Composite Decks vs Wood Decks: The Pros and Cons

Traditional wood decking is a popular option among homeowners. There are many benefits of composite wood including being cost-effective, easy to maintain, and low maintenance.

Although composite wood decking requires less upkeep than traditional natural wood, some homeowners are concerned that it will not look as attractive. Composites, thanks to technological advancements, may now mimic the natural beauty of wood without requiring the maintenance that comes with it. The disadvantages of composite wood include splinters, decay, and extensive upkeep.

Here are the main options to consider when comparing natural wood decking with composite decking;


Composite decking has advanced to the point where it feels and appears more like real wood than ever, thanks to strong wood grain designs and vibrant colors. You may choose from tropically themed boards with the characteristic streaking appearance of hardwoods in patterns that would deceive even Mother Nature. Similarly, there are tropically inspired boards in rich earth tones and fashionable neutrals.

Decks made of wood that are not properly cared for lose their inviting tones to the outdoors and become dull gray with time.

Easier to Work With

Natural wood and composite decking may be cut and fastened using standard home improvement equipment. Composite decking's flexibility when heated makes it easier to shape into curved pieces of decking, which is one area it excels.


Pressure-treated pine, cedar, redwood, and a few exotic woods like ipe are the most used decking materials for deck construction. A Wood deck, when properly maintained, may endure up to 20 years. However, many wood decks do not last even that long because the inconveniences associated with maintaining and protecting them are too much for some homeowners to handle.

Wood loses its sheen and absorbs moisture, warps, rots, and splinters if not correctly maintained. Therefore, homeowners must constantly apply stains, sealants, or paint to preserve the deck from the weather and prolong its lifespan.

Composite decking, on the other hand, can be installed whenever you are ready. Sanding, drying, and painting will never be an issue. You can keep the durability and beauty of your furniture for decades with only regular cleaning with soap and water.

The strong weather-resistant shell of composite decking is impervious to the damaging effects of the sun, rain, and insects, not for the first year alone but for the next 25.


Splintering is inevitable in owning a wood deck, particularly after years of being subjected to weather extremes. Composite decking, which has tiny wood fibers wrapped in plastic, will not split, even if exposed to extreme temperatures and humidity. It's particularly crucial in areas like pool decks where people often walk barefoot.

Cost Difference

Price is the primary consideration for most homeowners when deciding between composite decks and wood decks. In weighing the benefits and drawbacks of wood decking, its low cost is a clear winner. The initial investment in wood decking is often less than that of composites.

Cooling Effect

Wood decking and composite decking react differently to extreme temperatures. Wood decking has always been preferred over composites during the summer months because composites, due to their density, may become unbearably hot in direct sunlight. However, because of advances in manufacturing, modern composite decking may absorb up to 35% less heat than traditional sealed composites of the same color.


Wood decking must be painted, stained, and sealed regularly to protect it from the effects of weather, water, and insects. How frequently must composite decking be maintained by applying paint, stain, and sealant? Never. To keep the boards of a composite deck looking and performing like new, you have to sweep them or give them a quick wash which ultimately is less maintenance to natural wood that will need yearly staining and sealing.

Moisture Absorption

There are many disadvantages of wood but water absorption is the leading problem. Timber decks may bend, splinter, fracture, and rot if they aren't regularly treated with a stain, sealer, or paint. But composite decking is impervious to degradation even when put in wet environments, thanks to its waterproof cores.

Final Verdict

There are various decking materials to choose from, whether you are constructing a brand-new deck from scratch or replacing old, worn-out planks.

To help narrow down the options, choose your preferred wood decking and then evaluate how that wood is decking lines up against your preferred type of composite decking. You may easily compare two or three choices, such as cedar vs composite, redwood vs composite, or cured lumber vs composite, and make an informed decision. If you are a homeowner in East Tennessee and Knoxville, Tennessee, Contact Green Home Installations for more information about deck fixing.

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