Composite vs Wood: Which Material is Best for Your Deck?

f you’re planning to build a deck, one of the crucial decisions you’ll have to make is choosing the right material. Two popular options are composite and wood decking. But which one is best for your needs? While both materials have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, there’s no denying that they can elevate your outdoor space in different ways. 

What is Composite Decking?

Composite decking material is made from a mixture of wood fibers and plastic. This combination provides the best of both worlds when it comes to your deck: the natural beauty of wood with the added strength and durability of plastic.

Composite decking is also low maintenance, meaning you’ll spend less time and effort keeping it looking like new. And because it’s so durable, you won’t have to replace your composite deck as often as you would a traditional wooden one.

Advantages of Composite Decking

Composite decking offers a number of advantages over wood decking:

1. It is more durable and long-lasting. Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, which makes it more resistant to rot, mold, and insect damage than traditional wood decking.

2. It requires less maintenance. Composite decking is easy to clean and does not require the same level of care and upkeep as wood decking.

3. It is eco-friendly. Composite decking is made from recycled materials, making it an environmentally friendly choice for your home.

4. It is safer than wood decking. Composite decking does not splinter or crack like wood, making it a safer choice for your family and guests.

Disadvantages of Composite Decking

There are a few disadvantages of composite decking to be aware of upfront. First, because it is made of recycled materials, there can be some variation in color and appearance from one board to the next. Second, composite decking expands and contracts with heat and cold much like plastic does, so it can warp or cup if not installed correctly. Finally, it is more expensive than wood decking at initial installation, although it does last longer so you may save money in the long run.

Advantages of Wood Decking

Wood decking has a natural beauty that many homeowners find appealing. It can also give your home a more traditional look if that’s what you’re after. Wood decking is also easy to repair if it becomes damaged. 

Disadvantages of Wood Decking

Wood decking can be susceptible to rot, mold, and insect damage. It also requires regular maintenance, such as cleaning, staining, and sealing. Over time, wood decking can become warped or cracked. These problems can be expensive to repair or replace.

Cost Comparison of Composite vs Wood

The average cost of a composite deck is $35 per square foot, while a wood deck is $25 per square foot. The initial investment for a composite deck is higher than that of a wood deck, but the difference in price begins to even out over the lifespan of the deck. Composite decks last an average of 25 years, while wooden decks only last an average of 10-15 years. So, over the long run, composite decks are cheaper than wooden ones.

Maintenance Requirements for Both Types of Decks

If you’re planning to build a new deck, you may be wondering which type of material is best for your needs. Here’s a look at the maintenance requirements for both composite and wood decks:

Composite Decks:

You’ll need to sweep or hose off your composite deck regularly to remove dirt and debris. Once or twice a year, you can give it a good scrub with soapy water and a soft brush. Be sure to rinse off any soap residue afterwards.

Wood Decks:

You’ll need to clean your wood deck regularly with a mild detergent and water solution. Once or twice a year, you should also sand down your decking boards to smooth out any rough spots. You’ll also need to apply a fresh coat of sealer or stain every few years to protect your deck from the elements.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance option then composite may be the better choice, however, if you want something natural with a classic look then wood might be more suitable. Ultimately, the best material for your deck will depend on your own personal preferences and budget. What will go a long way in determining whether your deck is the one of your dreams is who constructs it. And with decades of experience under our belts, we at MG Construction & Decks have brought joy to endless homes int he Southern California area, taking people’s visions from the design stage through the completion of the works, and everything in between.