Decking is a great way to add value to your home and create an outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment. When choosing the suitable material for your deck, there are two main options: composite decking and wood decking. 

Each material offers unique advantages and drawbacks, making the selection process a balance between durability, cost, and visual appeal. Let’s delve into the intricacies of these materials to help you navigate this essential decision for your outdoor space.

Comparison Table

ProductPriceService LifeFor People
Composite DeckingVariable25-30 years (approx.)Eco-conscious, low-maintenance seekers
Wood DeckingVariable10-15 years (approx.)Natural aesthetics enthusiasts

What Is Composite Decking?

Composite Decking is also called manufactured wood; it refers to mixing the merged wood fibers, sawdust, and recycled plastics. It looks like natural wood, but its strength and resilience are better than wood, which meets people’s high- requirements. 

Compared with standard wood decks, its lifespan is 25 to 30 years. Some composite decks also incorporate additives like UV stabilizers and color pigments to enhance durability and prevent color fading. Using these materials results in a product resistant to rot, mold, and insects. 

Additionally, including recycled materials contributes to its eco-friendly profile, reducing the environmental impact. This composition varies among manufacturers, leading to different qualities, colors, and textures in composite decking boards, offering consumers a range of options to suit their preferences and needs.


1. Advantages of Composite Decking

Low Maintenance: Composite decking keeps things simple for homeowners. You don’t need to spend time and effort on staining, sealing, or constant upkeep as it stays strong against decay and weathering. This means more time to enjoy your outdoor space without the hassle of regular maintenance chores, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer relaxation over constant upkeep.

Resistant to Rot, Mold, and Insects: Composite decking is like a shield against common enemies of outdoor wood. It doesn’t give in to rot, mold, or pesky insects, ensuring your deck remains strong and durable for years. This resistance means you can count on it to withstand various weather conditions and avoid the typical deterioration that affects natural wood, giving peace of mind to homeowners worried about these common issues.

Environmentally Friendly: Choosing composite decking means choosing a greener option. By using recycled materials, it contributes to reducing waste while also preserving forests. This eco-friendly approach not only benefits the environment by decreasing reliance on fresh timber but also reflects a conscientious choice for homeowners who prioritize sustainability in their lifestyle and want to make a positive impact through their decking choice.

2. Disadvantages of Composite Decking

Higher Upfront Cost: Initial installation for composite decking tends to be pricier compared to wood, requiring a larger upfront investment due to its durability and low-maintenance features.

Susceptible to Scratches and Stains: While robust, composite materials can be vulnerable to scratches and staining, requiring care to maintain their appearance and potentially impacting their overall aesthetic over time.

Limited Color Choices: Composite decks often offer a narrower range of color options compared to wood, which might constrain design choices for those seeking specific or diverse color schemes in their outdoor spaces. 

3. Composite Wood Decking Cost

The cost of composite wood decking varies based on factors like brand, quality, and features. Generally, composite decks have a higher upfront expense compared to wood. This higher cost is due to their longevity and minimal maintenance requirements over time.

While the initial investment might be more, composite decking tends to offer a better long-term value proposition. Its durability often translates to fewer replacement and maintenance costs, potentially offsetting the higher initial price.

The use of recycled materials in composite decking also contributes to its eco-friendly profile, but it can impact the pricing as well. It’s essential to consider the upfront cost against the long-term benefits when weighing composite wood decking’s affordability. 

4. Types of Composite Decking

Capped Composite Decking: This is a protective outer layer, shielding the boards from scratches, stains, and fading. This extra covering provides enhanced durability and resistance to wear and tear, making it a premium, long-lasting decking option.

Uncapped Composite Decking: This lacks an additional protective layer found in capped varieties. While it offers the benefits of composite material, it may be more vulnerable to staining, fading, and wear over time, requiring potentially more maintenance for upkeep.

Co-Extruded Composite Decking: This composite decking involves a process where a robust outer layer is fused onto the composite core, providing superior protection against scratches, stains, and fading. This method ensures exceptional durability and low maintenance, making it a premium choice for decking solutions.

You can read this article about what composite decking is best? to choose the best composite decking for you.

5. The Scenes to Be Used of Composite Wood

Composite wood decking finds its place in diverse settings due to its durability and resistance. It thrives in high-traffic areas like backyard decks, handling heavy use while maintaining its aesthetic appeal. Its robustness against rot and insects makes it a perfect fit for regions with high humidity or frequent rain.

In various scenes, from bustling outdoor entertainment areas to serene garden retreats, composite decking stands strong, providing a long-lasting and visually appealing surface.

What Is Wood Decking?

Wood Decking

Wood decking comprises natural timber planks, creating an inviting and organic feel in outdoor spaces. It embraces a variety of wood types, such as cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods, each offering unique traits in appearance and durability. These wooden planks, sourced from trees, infuse warmth and character into your deck, lending a timeless charm that connects with nature. 

The beauty of wood lies in its natural grains, textures, and hues, allowing for customization and enhancing the overall aesthetics of your outdoor area. However, wood decks require regular maintenance, including staining and sealing, to combat weathering, rot, and insect damage over time. 

Despite its initial affordability, wood decking’s susceptibility to environmental impacts, like deforestation, is a notable consideration. Understanding these aspects helps in appreciating the innate appeal and challenges associated with choosing wood decking for your outdoor space.

1. Advantages of Wood Decking

Natural Aesthetics: Wood decking brings a beautiful, natural look to your outdoor space. Not only that, but it also adds warmth and charm with its unique grain patterns and earthy tones, giving your deck a timeless, inviting feel.

Lower Initial Cost: Choosing wood for your deck can be more budget-friendly upfront compared to other materials. This makes it accessible for homeowners looking to create an outdoor space without breaking the bank.

Easily Customizable: Wood is flexible and easy to work with, allowing you to personalize your deck easily. Whether you want to add built-in features, create different shapes, or apply various finishes, wood makes customization a breeze, letting you tailor your deck to your preferences.

2. Disadvantages of Wood Decking

Requires Regular Maintenance: Wood decks demand lots of upkeep, needing frequent staining and sealing to battle against weathering and wear. Without these treatments, the wood can easily crack, warp, or lose its color, leading to a less appealing outdoor space that needs more repairs.

Prone to Rot, Insects, and Weathering: Natural wood is easily damaged by moisture, insects, and weather, leading to decay and structural weaknesses over time. This vulnerability means you’ll face potential issues like rotting, pest infestations, and damage caused by exposure to sun, rain, or snow, requiring consistent care and repairs.

Environmental Impact (Deforestation): Using natural wood for decking contributes to cutting down trees, which can harm forests and wildlife habitats. Deforestation impacts the environment, affecting ecosystems and biodiversity. Opting for wood decking means supporting this process and contributing to environmental concerns related to habitat destruction and the loss of natural spaces.

3. Wood Decking Materials

Wood decking materials encompass diverse timber options, each with unique attributes. Cedar, prized for its natural resistance to decay and insects, offers durability and emits a pleasant aroma. Redwood displays rich color variations and natural decay resistance.

Tropical hardwoods like Ipe and Tigerwood boast exceptional hardness and longevity but require more maintenance. Pressure-treated lumber, infused with preservatives for enhanced durability, remains a popular, cost-effective choice. These wood types differ in durability, appearance, and maintenance needs, catering to varied preferences and climates among homeowners.

4. Wood Decking Cost

Wood decking costs vary based on the type of wood and factors like availability and location. Cedar and pressure-treated lumber often present more affordable options due to their widespread availability and lower initial cost. Redwood and tropical hardwoods tend to be pricier due to their durability and unique aesthetic appeal.

Additionally, regional differences and market demand can influence prices. Despite initial affordability, ongoing expenses for maintenance and upkeep should also factor into the overall cost assessment when considering wood decking.

5. Types of Wood Decking

There are several types of wood decking available, including:

Pressure-Treated Pine: The most common type of wood decking, pressure-treated pine is treated with chemicals to make it more resistant to rot and insects.

Cedar: Cedar is naturally resistant to rot and insects, making it a good choice for outdoor use. It is also lightweight and easy to work with.

Redwood: Redwood is naturally resistant to rot and insects, making it a popular choice for outdoor use. It is also durable and has a beautiful natural color.

Tropical Hardwoods: Tropical hardwoods, such as ipe and mahogany, are known for their durability and resistance to rot and insects. However, they are also more expensive than other types of wood decking.

6. The Scenes to Be Used of Wood Decking

Wood decking works best in places where nature and beauty come together naturally. It’s great for homes surrounded by nature, like cabins or houses in the countryside. Coastal areas benefit from durable wood species like cedar, with decks enduring saltwater and humidity while adding to coastal allure.

Even in urban spaces, wood decking introduces warmth, serving as an oasis amidst concrete landscapes. Its versatility caters to various architectural styles, from contemporary to traditional designs. Wood’s adaptability also facilitates a smooth indoor-outdoor transition, enhancing the overall living experience.

Scenes conducive to wood decking reflect a longing for natural beauty and a desire for a profound connection with nature. They encompass environments seeking a harmonious integration of organic charm, where wooden decks effortlessly complement and elevate the surroundings.

What are the differences between them?

We have talked about the definition of the two terms above. Next, I want to tell you how to choose from following these aspects.

1. Which Resists Insect Damage?

When comparing composite decking and wood in terms of resistance to insect damage, composite decking generally has the upper hand. Here’s why:

Composite Decking: This material is made from a blend of wood fibers and plastic, which makes it less attractive to insects like termites. The plastic content in composite decking acts as a barrier against insect infestation. Furthermore, composite decking doesn’t rot, warp, or splinter like wood, which are conditions that often attract insects.

Wood Decking: Depending on the type of wood, traditional wood decking can be susceptible to insect damage. Woods like cedar and redwood have some natural resistance to insects, but they’re not entirely immune. Other types of wood, especially softer woods, are more prone to insect damage. Over time, wood can rot and become more attractive to insects like termites.

2. Which Requires the Least Maintenance?

When comparing composite decking and wood decking in terms of resistance to insect damage and maintenance requirements, here are the key points:

Composite Decking: Requires relatively low maintenance, typically only needing regular cleaning. There’s no need for sanding, staining, or sealing.

Wood Decking: Requires frequent maintenance, including regular sanding, staining, or painting, and inspections and repairs for rot and damage.

3. Which Repels Moisture Better?

composite decking is generally the better choice for moisture resistance, offering greater durability and less maintenance in wet or humid conditions. Wood decking, while offering a natural look, demands more upkeep to maintain its resistance to moisture.

Composite Decking: Offers higher moisture resistance due to its blend of wood fibers and plastic. Less likely to absorb water, reducing the risk of rot, mold, and mildew. Maintains its shape and size better in wet conditions, with less warping or swelling.

Wood Decking: Moisture resistance varies depending on the type of wood, with some hardwoods and treated softwoods offering decent resistance. Requires regular sealing and maintenance to protect against moisture. More susceptible to water absorption, which can lead to rot, warping, and swelling, especially if not properly maintained.

4. What is the Cost Difference?

while composite decking has a higher initial cost, its durability and low maintenance needs can make it a more cost-effective option over time. Wood decking may be more affordable upfront, but it requires more maintenance, which can increase its overall cost in the long run. Your choice should consider both the initial investment and the long-term financial implications.

5. Which Offers A Cooler Surface Temperature?

When considering surface temperature, especially in hot weather, there’s a noticeable difference between composite decking and wood decking:

Composite Decking: Heat Retention. Composite decking tends to retain more heat compared to wood, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. This can result in a hotter surface, which might be uncomfortable for barefoot walking in high temperatures.

Wood Decking: Cooler Surface. Wood generally remains cooler than composite materials in the sun. It absorbs less heat, making it a more comfortable choice for areas exposed to direct sunlight.

In summary, if a cooler surface temperature is a priority, especially in sunny, hot climates, wood decking typically offers a cooler surface than composite decking. This factor can be particularly important in areas where the deck will be used barefoot or in very hot weather.

People Often Ask

1. Why is composite decking so expensive?

Composite decking tends to have a higher price tag due to several reasons. Firstly, it’s engineered to last longer, often boasting a service life of around 25 to 30 years, which outweighs the lifespan of traditional wood decking by a significant margin.

This increased longevity is a result of the materials used, typically a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastics, making it resistant to rot, insects, and decay. Additionally, the low-maintenance nature of composite decking adds to its cost-effectiveness over time.

Also, the use of recycled materials in its construction contributes to its eco-friendly profile, but this incorporation of sustainable elements can elevate the production expenses, further reflecting the overall price. These combined factors contribute to the initial higher cost of composite decking compared to wood.

2. Is composite decking better than wood?

Choosing between composite and wood decking depends on what matters most to you. Composite decking boasts longevity, needing little maintenance and often being eco-friendly due to recycled materials.

However, it tends to cost more initially, might scratch easily, and has limited color options. On the other hand, wood decking offers natural charm at a lower upfront cost but demands regular maintenance against rot, insects, and weathering. It’s customizable and comes in various wood types, each with its durability. 

Ultimately, the “better” choice varies. If you prioritize durability and low upkeep, composite might suit you. But if you adore the natural look and are ready for maintenance efforts, wood could be your preference. Your decision hinges on what aligns best with your lifestyle, budget, and willingness to maintain your deck over time.

Reading reading: How much does a 20X20 composite deck cost?