When choosing materials for a construction project, many prioritize durability above all else. Not only do durable materials last long, but they also create safer conditions. As for decking, you can select from different materials like composite decking and wood. But the question is, which one is the best when it comes to durability. Let’s compare three of the most widely-used materials for decking, and see which is the most durable decking material.
Wood, Cheap and Beautiful
Many people’s first choice is wooden decking materials, thanks to its lower price compared to other decking options. Its aesthetics is also timeless, which are crucial in making beautiful outdoor designs. However, when it comes to durability, it’s not the best option out there. There are different kinds of woods used for decking. They can be categorized into two groups, softwoods and hardwoods.
Softwoods are faster-growing and cheaper varieties. On the other hand, hardwoods take longer time to grow and are more expensive. Typical softwoods used in decks are less durable than hardwoods. A softwood deck will last for around 5 to 10 years, whereas hardwoods last for at least a decade.
Softwood is also more susceptible to damage than hardwoods. They are more prone to moisture, which causes mould growth, rotting, and warping. You will also encounter these issues by using hardwoods, but not the same extent as using softwoods. Softwoods are softer and less dense than hardwoods, although a few exceptions exist.
Overall, wood decks are beautiful and cheap. But as far as durability goes, unless you stick with expensive hardwoods, there are better options that you can choose.
PVC, Strong and Durable
Harvesting lumber for construction supplies has some significant impact on the environment. As a solution, experts came up with synthetic materials as an alternative decking. One of the most popular nowadays is PVC or polyvinyl chloride. Despite being generally more expensive, PVC or plastic decking offers better durability than wood.
Since PVC is a material made out of 100% plastic, you won’t encounter any issues related to wood use. Such problems include moisture damage, insect damage, splintering, and rotting. However, PVC is susceptible to expansion due to high temperatures. Other than that, plastic decking offers better durability than most wooden decks. A well-maintained plastic deck can last at least 20 years, and not to mention, it requires very little maintenance.
Outside of durability, there are a few problems with PVC. One well-known issue is its appearance. Compared to wood, it’s not as natural-looking. It may also become more slippery and warm than wood.
Composites, The Best of Both Worlds
Composites are relatively newer synthetic materials made out of both wood and plastic. Ever since its introduction, composites are becoming more popular due to its durability. How does it compare to wood and plastic?
Composite decking, to simply put, has all the advantages of both wood and plastic. Like plastic decking, composite decks are resistant to moisture, moulds, rotting, and insect damage. It also has the natural-looking aesthetics of wood, and it can handle higher temperatures than plastic. Composite decking will last for at least 20 to 25 years, with warranties covering anywhere from 10 to 30 years depending on quality.
The only disadvantage of composite decking is its price. Composite decking boards can be as much as twice of the cheapest softwood decking boards. Despite its high initial cost, many homeowners agree that it’s worth it. One reason is that it’s low-maintenance. Like plastic decks, you won’t spend as much upkeep cost compared to wooden decking.
Overall, composite decking materials are some of, if not the best materials in terms of durability. It’s as strong as plastic decks yet as beautiful as wooden decks. If you have the budget, it’s worth at least considering.
Choosing The Best Decking Materials
Are you still wondering which one should you choose? When it comes to prices, wood decking is the cheapest and offers a beautiful look. However, it doesn’t last as long or as durable as the others. PVC decks, on the other hand, provide better durability than wood. Unfortunately, it’s not the best pick if you want a wood-like deck.
And lastly, composite decking. Despite its price, it combines both wood and plastic’s advantages. It’s very durable, low-maintenance, can last for decades, and it looks natural and wood-like. If you’re looking for the best deck, it’s one of the first things you may want to consider.