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

Henry A
Learn Decking
decking life expectancy

There are a few options to choose from if you plan 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 stand out, Ultradecking and wood. But the question is, What is the life expectancy of a wood decking vs composite decking?

Life Expectancy of a Wood Deck

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 have used wooden decking materials to build their decking. But how long does wooden decking last? It depends.

There are various types of wood, and each one has a different lifespan. There are two classifications of lumber used for decking: 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. Depending on the quality, a typical hardwood deck can last at least 10 to 15 years with proper care and regular maintenance.

To sum it all up, softwood decking can last a decade at most, whereas hardwood decking 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 the elements than wood. Because of this, they have longer lifespans than wooden decking.

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 supplier’s 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 decking. 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 decking. Some types of hardwoods can come close. But they can be more expensive than composite decking and can cost more to maintain.

Why Do Composite Last Longer?

So why does composite decking last longer than wooden decking? 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 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 mould and mildew. Not only do they damage your decking, but they can also leave permanent stains.

As for composite decking, these issues shouldn’t pose a problem, especially if you use capped composites. They don’t absorb water, meaning they don’t rot and can hold their shape better. Furthermore, mould and mildew shouldn’t be a problem if the decking is regularly kept clean.

Composite Decking is Low-Maintenance

Another reason why composite decking lasts longer than wooden decking 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 maintaining 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. Composite decking is easier to maintain, and you will more likely preserve its quality, thus extending its lifespan. Whereas it can prove difficult, costly and time-consuming to care for and keep wooden decking clean.

So, what is the life expectancy of 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.

Can You Replace Wood with Composites?

Yes, you can use composites instead of replacing the broken wooden boards. Since composite decking materials come in different shades and colours, you may find something similar to your pre-existing deck. If you do not mind the slight difference, feel free to use composites. Keep in mind that there will also be times when replacing a single plank will not work out. In this case, you will need to upgrade your decking.
If you think it is time to upgrade your deck or it is too old, you can replace all decking boards with composites. There are many advantages of using composite decking boards instead of wooden decks.

Why Use Composites?

Consider using composite decking materials when looking for a material to replace your broken or old wooden deck. It may be expensive at first, but it has many advantages over time compared to wood. When buying a replacement, consider some of the reasons why composite decking can be better than wooden boards.

Composite Decking does not Splinter.

One of the many concerns regarding wood decking is splintering. As a homeowner, you will want your family to be safe from accidents. Because of this, you will spend money to sand the wooden decks. It is not that bad if you will only spend once. However, with wooden decks, you will need to sand them every year. On the other hand, unlike wood, composites do not splinter. You can guarantee safety for anyone visiting your home.

Composites are not Prone to Slip.

Wooden decking can be quite slippery, especially when wet. It can pose another problem for your safety. When using composite decking, you will not be worried about you or your guest slipping and injuring themselves.

Please Note: Caution should always be observed with any surface that is wet underfoot to avoid slipping or falls. 


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