There are a few options to choose from if you are planning to build a deck. To be able to choose carefully, you will want to look at each option and consider their advantages. When looking for decking materials, most homeowners tend to select one that can last the longest. Among the many choices for decking, two stands out, composite decking and wood. But the question is, What is the life expectancy of a wood deck vs composite decking? 

Wood Deck Life Expectancy

For many years, people have used wood for construction projects. It’s easy to find, relatively cheap, and has a timeless beauty. Until now, many homeowners use wooden decking materials to build their decks. But how long do wooden decks last. It depends. 

There are various types of wood, and each one has a different lifespan. For decking, there are two classifications of lumber used, softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods are more common, cheaper, and often lighter and less dense, although a few exceptions exist. The life expectancy of a softwood deck ranges anywhere between 5 to 10 years. That’s relatively short compared to hardwoods.  

Hardwoods are more expensive and rarer types of lumber because they grow slower than softwood trees. Compared to softwoods, hardwoods offer longer lifespans. A typical hardwood deck can last at least 10 to 15 years, depending on the quality. 

To sum it all up, softwood decks can last a decade at most, whereas hardwood decks can last more than a decade. But how do they compare to composite decking?

Composite Decking’s Lifespan

Composites are alternative materials to wood. They are more expensive than real lumber, but they do have many advantages over wood. They offer better protection against elements than wood. Because of this, they have longer lifespans than wooden decks.

Many composite decking materials can last for more than 25 years. High-quality decking boards can even last for 50 years. While it may seem unbelievable, there are many reviews to back many of the suppliers’ claims. Some companies even offer warranty coverages of up to 30 years.

Of course, there are various types of composite decking boards, and as such, each one has different lifespans. The older generations of composites, especially uncapped ones, tend to last only as long as softwood decks. However, newer generations or most composites in the market today will last at least 20 years. 

Overall, composite decking will last longer than most wood decks. Some types of hardwoods can come close. But they can be more expensive than composite decks. 

Why Do Composite Last Longer?

decking life expectancy

So why do composite decks last longer than wooden decks? There are a few reasons why. But one of the main reasons why is composite’s resistance to moisture. 

Wood absorbs water and other liquids. If your wooden deck absorbs moisture, it can cause some few, irreparable problems. For instance, water can cause your deck to expand and shrink. Continuous expansion and shrinking can warp the deck. As it absorbs more moisture, wood also becomes a breeding spot for moulds and mildew. Not only do they damage your deck, but they can also leave permanent stains. 

As for composite decks, these problems shouldn’t be a problem, especially if you use capped composites. They don’t absorb water, meaning they don’t rot. Although they do warp, they can hold their shape better. Moulds and mildew will also not be a problem as long as the deck is kept clean. 

Composite Decks are Low-Maintenance

Another reason why composite decks last longer than wooden decks is because they are easier to maintain. In the UK, many homeowners live busy lives. Many people may likely neglect cleaning and inspecting their decks. And if you forget or skip to maintain a wooden deck, it’s only a matter of time until you see the problems as a result.

Composite decks, on the other hand, require very little maintenance. Of course, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean it. You still do. However, compared to wood, you’ll put less effort, money, and time in doing so. Even if you have a busy schedule, maintaining a composite deck won’t be a huge problem. Because composite decks are easier to maintain, you will more likely preserve it’s quality, thus extending it’s lifespan, whereas it can prove difficult for a wooden deck. 

So, what is the life expectancy of a wood deck vs composite decking? Overall, composite decking will tend to last longer than most wooden decks. If you want a long-lasting deck, composites are your best option.