When building a deck, two of the best options are composites and wood. Both of the materials have their pros and cons. But you may wonder is composite decking better than timber? Many say that composites are better than timber. For others, they prefer real wood. So, which one is it? Let’s take a look and compare each of the aspects of wood and composite decking to help you determine which one to choose.
First, let’s consider the price of each of the materials. Deck construction is a big project. So the budget is a major deciding factor on which one to get.
When it comes to the initial value, wood is cheaper than composites. Expect to pay as much as twice for composites compared to the cheaper softwoods. The only exceptions are some of the most expensive hardwoods. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly material, softwoods are an excellent choice.
Next, let’s talk about the life span of the materials. The longer the lifespan of the deck, the more value it gives for your money. Among wood and composites, which one lasts longer?
The most common type of wood called softwoods can last for up to 15 years, provided that it is properly maintained. On the other hand, expensive hardwoods can last for 25 years. As for composite decking, they can last for more than 25 years. Some even claim that they can last for 50 years.
So when it comes to longevity, top-quality hardwoods and composite decking better than timber. Softwoods, on the other hand, while cheap, don’t last very long. So if you’re looking for a deck that can last for decades, choose hardwoods or composites. In terms of longevity, composites win, except for a few hardwoods.
When building a deck, you want something strong. You want it to resist any damage. For this, is composites better than timber? Using wood has many issues. For instance, softwoods are prone to moisture, mould growth and insect damage.
They can also expand, shrink, and warp. When exposed to UV, they can turn to greyish colour. As for composites, they are resistant to moisture, moulds and insects. Instead of fading to grey, they only lighten in colour. And while composite decking boards expand, they don’t warp. So for endurance, composite is the winner.
Next, we’re going to look at the ease of maintenance. Since maintaining your deck can both be expensive and time-consuming, you want the one which is less demanding. So is composite decking better when it comes to maintenance?
For maintenance, composites dominate wood decks. Composite materials are easy to clean. You only need common household items, such as a brush, some soap, and some water and nothing else. Whereas for wood, you will need to regularly seal, stain, and paint the deck. Wood decks are also more susceptible to damage, which means you’ll need to constantly clean it. So if you want a deck that’s easy to clean, go with composites.
Another crucial factor when selecting materials is safety. When it comes to being safe, is composite better than timber? With regard to safety, both composite decking better than timber and wood have their advantages. When wet, composites can be slippery.
But more and more manufacturers are finding ways around that issue. However, wood is susceptible to splintering, which can be dangerous. Some composites are also more fire-proof than most wood. So in this case, you may choose either one. But if you will be building it near a wet area, you may want to go with hardwood.
Another thing to look at is the ease of installation. This factor is crucial, especially if you’ll be working on the project alone. So are composites better than wood when it comes to installation?
Wood can be quite difficult to install, especially the denser varieties. You will need to pre-drill holes to avoid cracking the materials. When installing them, your options are limited to nails and screws, which have some disadvantages. On the other hand, you can use hidden fasteners on composites. The only problem with composites is that they are usually heavier. But with the development of hollow composites, the problem is non-existent.
To summarize, there are many ways how composites are better than timber. Likewise, there are situations that you may want to use wood instead.