Building a deck can be quite an expensive home improvement, more so when using high-quality materials such as composites. Naturally, most homeowners want to spend as little as possible. So the question is, how much more expensive is composite decking? And is it really worth it?
Cost of Composite Decking
Composites are materials made through the extrusion of wood and plastic fibres. Since it’s more complex to produce, it’s more expensive than common wood materials. But by how much? It depends.
Wooden decks in the UK have an average cost of £1000 to £1600 for a 15-square metre deck. Meanwhile, composite decks can range anywhere from £1600 to £2000. These are all estimates, but composites will be more expensive than most wooden decks. The only exception is high-quality hardwoods such as Ipe, which can be, if not more, expensive than composites.
So if composite decking is so much more expensive, why would you even choose to use it? What are its advantages?
Why Composite Decking is Worth It
There are many reasons why choosing composites is worth it, despite its higher initial cost. Here are the top reasons that you may want to consider.
- Low-maintenance – Wooden decks, although cheap, are often high-maintenance. They require staining, painting, and sealing every few years, which adds to the upkeep costs. You will also need to inspect and clean wooden decks regularly. On the other hand, composites require very little maintenance. Composite decks don’t need stains, paint, or seals. Cleaning it is also simple, usually only requiring some soap and a soft-bristled brush.
- Long Lifespan – Composite decks can last very long due to its resistance to various outdoor elements. To compare, most wooden decks can last anywhere between 5 to 20 years, depending on the quality. Composite decks, however, will last at least 20 years. And many companies offer extended warranty coverages, ranging anywhere between 10 to 30 years.
- Resistance to Moisture – Moisture can be damaging to most decks, especially wooden ones. Prolonged exposure to water and humid climates can cause mould and mildew growth, rotting, and warping. But as for composites, you don’t have to worry as much about these issues. You do need to maintain it regularly to avoid any potential problems, such as staining.
- Can Withstand High Temperatures – Plastic decks are also long-lasting and durable. However, they are susceptible to thermal expansion, which can cause warping. For this reason, PVC and vinyl decking is often not recommended in places with hot climates. Composites, on the other hand, while similar to PVC, is resistant to hot weather. Composite decking boards hold its shape better than PVC, even when exposed to high temperatures, reducing the chance of warping. For this reason, composite decks are a better option for places with hot weather.
- Aesthetically Pleasing – Another advantage of composites over plastic decks is its appearance. PVC and vinyl decks, despite beautiful, will often seem synthetic and artificial. As for composite decks, it looks as natural and as authentic as real wood. Many high-quality composites also have textured surfaces and unique wood grain patterns.
Disadvantages of Composite Decking
When deciding whether a material is worth it or not, you will also need to consider the disadvantages. But what are the disadvantages of composite decking? Aside from the high initial price, composites have very few drawbacks.
One disadvantage of composite decks is that many manufacturers don’t recommend painting it. For most people, it wouldn’t be a problem. But if you like to redesign your home once every few years, it can be an issue. While you can technically paint a composite deck, there are drawbacks in doing so.
When you paint a composite deck, you will need to sand it, because the paint won’t adhere to the decking boards’ surfaces. Doing so, you will lose all protection the capping has to offer. You will also need to treat the composite deck as a wooden deck, including repainting and sealing it once every few years. For this reason, painting a composite deck should be your last option.
Composite Decks Are Worth It
Overall, composite decks are worth it, despite how much more expensive it can be. Not only do composite decking is more durable, longer-lasting, and is easier to maintain, but it can also be as beautiful as wood. The only issue is that painting a composite deck is not recommended. But if you don’t mind, choosing composites is definitely worth it.