Two of the most common deck types are wood and composites. Wood is the traditional decking material. It was the only material of choice for decking up until the 1990s. During that time, another type of material emerged; composites. Composite decking are the perfect alternative to wood; having the same workability as wood, but with the bonus of being low-maintenance and better water. At first glance, you may think that composites are better than wood. Is that true? Or is it the other way around? Which is better between wood or composite decking?
Is Wood Better than Composite Decking?
Wood is the oldest material used in decking. Despite that, people still use them, because they are still excellent materials for deck building. However, there are newer technologies that surpass the capabilities of wood, namely composites. In general, composite decking offers more advantages than wood decking. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that wood decking has no edge over composite decking.
Advantages of Wood Decking over Composite Decking
Despite being the older material, wood decking still has a few advantages over composite decking. For instance, wood decks are generally cheaper than composite decks. For softwoods, you can expect to shell out £1000 for a 15-metre square area.
Hardwoods are a little more expensive, costing £1500 for the same area size. As for composites, you’ll spend £2000. So if you don’t have a lot of funds to work with, wood is still a sound option.
Another advantage of wood decking is that they are 100% real wood. It’s the real thing. True, more composite decks look more and more like wood. With grained composites, the patio will not only look like real wood but also feel like it. But despite these innovations, you can’t deny that they’re not authentic timber.
Some exotic hardwoods are also top-quality decking material. They are known for being super dense. One example is Ipe, which people also call Ironwood. The only issue is that these materials are quite difficult to work with and usually cost a lot, which is way more expensive than composites. But if you have the funds and the tools, it could be one of the better options.
Advantages of Composite Decking Over Wood Decking
As the newer material out of the two, composite decking has a lot of advantages over wood. First, it lasts longer than most wood decks. Softwoods can only last for up to 15 years, and some hardwoods can only last for 25 years.
On the other hand, composites can last for more than 30 years. So despite the higher price, it’s worth it for the extra years. The only wood materials that can last as long, or even longer than composites, are the more expensive hardwoods, such as Ipe.
Second, composite decking doesn’t have the same issues a wood decking has. For instance, wood decks are quite prone to moisture damage. When exposed to water or moisture and dirt for long periods, moulds will grow on them. They will also shrink and expand because the wood absorbs moisture.
This shrinking and expansion will then cause the wood to warp, bend, crack, and splinter. On the other hand, composite decking is resistant to moisture. You also don’t need to worry about mould growth as much as wooden decks. Composite decking also shrinks and expands but is resistant to warping and bending. They don’t warp, crack, and splinter.
Lastly, composite decking is very easy to maintain compared to wooden decks. For wooden decks, you will need to make sure that it stays clean and dry all the time. You may also need to buy specific deck cleaning products for your wooden deck, as not all materials are safe for wood. You also need to use sealants and paint it every few years. Doing so will protect the wood from moisture.
As for composites, you still need to clean it, but not as extensive as wooden decks. To clean it, you will only need basic household cleaning products; a soft-bristle brush, a bucket of soapy solution, and water to rinse it off. And unlike wood, you don’t need to paint it. You also don’t need to seal it, but you may do so if you want.
In conclusion, which is better between wood and composite decking? Composites are generally better compared to wooden decking. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that wood decks are outdated and inefficient. All you need to do is weigh your options and choose which one is the best for you.