What is the composite decking?


Composite decking is a type of outdoor decking material that is made from a mixture of wood fibers or wood flour and plastic, along with other additives. It’s designed to resemble real wood but offers a more durable and low-maintenance alternative. 

Composite decking is often touted as a more environmentally friendly option compared to traditional wood decking, but its environmental impact is multifaceted

Such as, many composite decking products are made from recycled plastics and wood waste, reducing landfill waste. Composite decks typically have a longer lifespan than traditional wood decks, decreasing the frequency of replacements. 

Composite decks don’t require regular treatments with potentially harmful chemicals like stains, sealers, or paints. Using composite decking can decrease the demand for new wood, especially if the wood component of the composite comes from recycled sources.

But it also has a bad influence on the environment.

The plastic components in composite decking aren’t biodegradable. Producing the plastics used in composite decking can be energy-intensive and might involve the use of fossil fuels. Some composite decking materials can release toxins when cut or burned and limited Recyclability.

You can read our article: Composite Decking vs. PVC: Pros and Cons

The key benefits of composite decking

l Durability: Composite decking is resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. It’s also less likely to splinter or warp compared to traditional wood decking.

l Low Maintenance: Unlike traditional wood decking, composite decking doesn’t need to be stained or sealed regularly. A simple cleaning with soap and water is usually sufficient to maintain its appearance.

l Appearance: Composite decking comes in a variety of colors and textures, many of which mimic the look of natural wood. This allows homeowners to choose a style that matches their desired aesthetic.

l Eco-Friendly: Many composite decking materials are made from recycled plastic and wood waste, making them a more environmentally friendly option compared to decks made entirely of wood.

l Consistency: Since it’s a manufactured product, composite decking offers a more consistent color, shape, and texture compared to natural wood.

l Longevity: Composite decks tend to have a longer lifespan than traditional wood decks, often lasting 25-30 years or more with proper maintenance.

l Cost: Initially, composite decking can be more expensive than traditional wood decking. However, when considering the costs of regular maintenance, staining, and potential replacement of wood decks, composite decking can be cost-effective in the long run.

l Slip Resistance: Some composite decking products are designed with a textured surface to reduce the risk of slipping, especially when wet.

While composite decking offers many advantages, it’s essential to research and choose a quality brand, as there can be variations in material quality, durability, and warranty among different manufacturers.

What is Real Wood?


Real wood, often referred to as “solid wood” or “natural wood,” is lumber that has been directly cut from trees and processed into boards or planks without being reconstituted or mixed with other materials. Here are some characteristics and details about real wood:

l Natural Origin: Real wood comes directly from trees, such as oak, pine, maple, cherry, and many others. Each type of wood has its unique grain patterns, colors, and properties.

l Variability: Because it’s a natural material, no two pieces of real wood are exactly alike. This results in unique grain patterns, knots, and color variations.

l Durability: Many types of solid wood are known for their durability and longevity, especially when properly treated and maintained.

l Workability: Real wood can be cut, sanded, carved, and joined in various ways, making it a favorite material for carpentry, woodworking, and furniture-making.

l Sustainability: Many types of wood can be sustainably harvested, ensuring that logging practices don’t deplete forests faster than they can regrow. Look for wood products certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure sustainable practices.

l Maintenance: Real wood can be susceptible to factors like moisture, insects, and decay. However, with proper treatment and care (like sealing or staining), its lifespan can be extended significantly.

l Versatility: Real wood is used in a wide range of applications, from construction and flooring to furniture and decorative items.

l Environmental Impact: While wood is a renewable resource, irresponsible logging practices can lead to deforestation and habitat destruction. It’s essential to support sustainable wood harvesting practices.

In contrast to real wood, there are engineered wood products, like plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which are made by combining wood fibers, chips, or veneers with adhesives to form boards and panels. While these products have their advantages, they don’t possess the natural uniqueness and characteristics of real wood.

What is the difference between them?

Composite decking and real wood are both popular choices for outdoor decking, but they have distinct differences in terms of composition, maintenance, durability, cost, and environmental impact. Here’s a comparison of the two:

Composite decking vs real wood composition

l Composite Decking: Made from a mixture of wood fibers or wood flour and plastic, along with other additives. Some brands might also contain recycled materials.

l Real Wood: Directly cut from trees and processed into boards or planks. Common types include cedar, pine, redwood, and tropical hardwoods.

Composite decking vs real on-wood maintenance

l Composite Decking: Generally requires less maintenance. It doesn’t need to be stained or sealed regularly. Cleaning with soap and water is typically sufficient.

l Real Wood: Requires regular maintenance, including staining, sealing, and occasional sanding to prevent splinters and maintain its appearance.

Composite decking vs real wood on durability & lifespan

l Composite Decking: Resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. Less likely to splinter or warp. Typically has a longer lifespan (often 25-30 years or more).

l Real Wood: Susceptible to rot, insects, and decay if not properly treated. Lifespan varies by wood type but can be shorter than composite decking unless regularly maintained.

Composite decking vs real wood on appearance

l Composite Decking: Comes in various colors and textures, many of which mimic the look of natural wood. However, it might not fully capture the natural beauty and grain of real wood.

l Real Wood: Offers a natural and authentic appearance with unique grain patterns and color variations.

Composite decking vs real wood cost

l Composite decking prices: Initially, it can be more expensive than wood decking. However, considering the reduced maintenance costs over time, it might be cost-effective in the long run.

l Real Wood Price: Initial cost can be lower, especially for more common wood types. However, maintenance costs over time can add up.

Composite decking vs real wood on environmental impact

Composite Decking: Many products are made from recycled materials, which is eco-friendly. However, the plastic components are not biodegradable. Production can also be energy-intensive.

Real Wood: If sourced sustainably (e.g., FSC-certified), it can be an eco-friendly choice. However, irresponsible logging practices can lead to deforestation and habitat destruction.

Composite decking vs real wood on installation & workability

l Composite Decking: Generally easier to install with uniform boards. Some brands offer hidden fastening systems.

l Real Wood: This can be more challenging to install due to variations in board sizes and potential warping. Requires traditional fastening methods.

In summary, the choice between composite decking and real wood depends on individual preferences, budget, desired maintenance level, and environmental considerations. Both materials have their advantages and drawbacks.

Weight of composite decking vs wood

The weight of composite decking versus wood varies based on the specific type of composite material and the species of wood. Here’s a general comparison:

Composite Decking

l Weight: Composite decking tends to be heavier than many types of wood. On average, most composite decking material weighs twice as much as common softwoods like pine. For instance, some composite boards might weigh as much as 2-3 pounds per linear foot.

l Reason: The added weight is due to the density of the plastic and wood fibers used in the composition of the board.

Click to learn: Where to use the Composite Decking


Wood Decking

l Softwoods (like pine, cedar, and redwood) Weight: Generally lighter than composite decking. For example, pressure-treated pine might weigh approximately 1-1.5 pounds per linear foot.

l Hardwoods (like ipe, teak, or mahogany) Weight: These can be much denser and heavier than softwoods, sometimes even heavier than composite decking. Ipe, for instance, can weigh around 3.5 pounds or more per linear foot.


l Structural Support: Due to the weight difference, the substructure or framing for composite decking might need to be more robust than for wood decking, especially if the deck is elevated.

l Installation: The weight can also impact installation. Heavier boards might require more labor or specific handling techniques.

Shipping & Handling Costs: Heavier materials can lead to higher shipping and handling costs.

It’s essential to note that the weight can vary based on the specific brand and model of composite decking, as well as the moisture content in the wood. 

If weight is a critical factor for a project, it’s advisable to check the specifications provided by the decking manufacturer or supplier.

Is composite decking better than wood?

It is not necessarily good or bad, both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, according to your needs to customize it.

Evodek can provide customized service, feel free to contact us, we will reply to you online within 7/24 hours.

Related reading: Composite Decking vs. Wood: Why is Composite Decking Better?