What is the Life Expectancy of a Wood Decking vs Composite Decking?

Henry A
decking life expectancy

There are a few options to choose from if you are planning to build decking. To be able to choose carefully, you will want to look at each option and consider its 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, Ultradecking and wood. But the question is, What is the life expectancy of a wood decking 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 deckings. But how long do wooden deckings 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 decking ranges anywhere between 5 and 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 deckings can last a decade at most, whereas hardwood deckings can last more than a decade. But how do they compare to composite decking?

life expectancy of wood and 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 deckings.

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 a different lifespan. The older generations of composites, especially uncapped ones, tend to last only as long as softwood deckings. 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 deckings. Some types of hardwoods can come close. But they can be more expensive than composite deckings.

Why Do Composite Last Longer?

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

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

As for composite deckings, 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 decking is kept clean.

Composite Deckings are Low-Maintenance

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

Composite decking, on the other hand, requires 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 into doing so. Even if you have a busy schedule, maintaining composite decking won’t be a huge problem. Because composite decking is easier to maintain, you will more likely preserve its quality, thus extending its lifespan, whereas it can prove difficult for wooden decking.

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

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