Which Is Better: Composite vs Wood Decking

Composite wood-like products are nothing new.

When laminate flooring hit the market, homeowners found the perfect floor. The mix of sturdy and beauty is still a best-seller still today.

Wood floor appearance without all the maintenance is a dream come true. And, the favorite floor products are less expensive than wood, too.

Like anything else, when it comes to choosing the best options for outdoor use, it’s important to weigh out the pros and cons. Composite vs wood decking is a decision you’ll want to make based on your taste, needs, and budget–and how much maintenance you are willing to do.

We have the information you need to help you decide. Read on to learn more!

Types of Wood

You’ll find a variety of wood is available, though pressure-treated pine is the most common. But there are excellent choices that offer beautiful results.

Also, wood holds up over time with the right upkeep. Today’s pressure treatment does not contain the harmful chemicals of a decade ago.

Southern Yellow Pine or Fir

Pine and fir are the most common wood you’ll find for decking. It is both durable and versatile. It offers up a lovely grain and can offer paints and stain options, too.

The broad appeal is the cost, which is budget friendly for large projects. This choice is cheaper than using composite decking.


Redwood is one of the most eye-catching woods for outdoors. It also boasts a natural resistance to insects, rot, and harsh weather.

Because it is much stronger by nature, it’s an excellent choice for vast and intricate decking. The vibrant color retains its luster for as many years as you own it.


The reason your grandmother used cedar for storage is its bravery against elements. It stands up well to insects, rot, and weather extremes.

This harder wood does not split or absorb moisture. Most experts say a cedar deck should last 20 years or more. The color will bleach out over time.

Many owners will reseal every few years to maintain the look.


Selections such as Ipe and Tigerwood come from the rainforests of Africa and Brazil. So, we know right away these are costly options.

In fact, of all the wood options, these prices are the highest. Those who prefer these hardwoods are choosing the richest of colors and grain.

It also happens to be the most robust wood on the planet.

Pros of Wood Decks

Many people choose real wood because of the look and feel of it. The same is true when it comes to wood furnishings inside your home.

It would be hard for anyone to be adverse to the natural beauty. Side by side wood tends to be stronger than its human-made look-alikes.

If a piece of decking needs repair, wood is much more natural to work with. Even better, wood allows lots of options. Paint color, whitewashing, and staining can bring out your inner designer and still allows the natural grain to shine through.

Cons of Wood Decks

Depending on your choice of wood, it can be the most costly material for decking. When comparing sturdiness, composite material lasts up to twice as long as wood.

For those who don’t mind month-long weekend projects, a wood deck will keep you busy every year or so. Ensuring a wood deck stays strong requires rigorous upkeep.

Types of Composite Decking

The business of composite decking has grown over the last ten years. There are now more than 50 brands to choose from.

Some have wood fiber content, while others are 100% recycled plastic. The good news is that all that plastic isn’t going into landfills or the ocean.

Artificial Wood Composites

Artificial wood composites contain some amount of wood fiber. The fibers are in excess sawdust from lumber facilities, for example.

The fibers and plastics form planks with a grain-like finish on the exterior. These come in a variety of colors.

The choices offer excellent ways to blend or contrast with a home’s landscaping.

Plastic Composites

Whether it’s acrylic or plastic, this option does not contain any wood components. There are great choices which include recycled plastic.

This choice also comes in an array of colors and grain treatments. The versions often mimic their wood counterpart.

Pros of Composite Decking

The most often cited advantages include the long-lasting nature of this material. It will out-last real wood by a decade in some cases.

Also, there is very little maintenance to keep them going strong. They clean up with a bit of soap and water as necessary.

Those who are looking to tighten their budget have choices, too. Real wood (pine or fir) railing along with composite decking, for example.

Using both saves money and adds a significant dimension to space.

Cons of Composite Decking

When choosing a composite deck, pay attention to the amount of sun your deck will endure. Plastic absorbs heat like a sponge, and these surfaces will get very hot.

If you have a pool or other water feature, they are slippery when wet. Consider one with texture if this is the case. The more composites are in the elements, the more color they’ll lose as time goes on.

One last consideration is what you have sitting on the deck. Composites don’t hold up well to heavy objects moving on it. The nicks and scrapes may blend out after some time, though.

The Last Word on Composite vs Wood Decking

For some homeowners, the price will be the most critical consideration. Talking with your deck pro can offer some great options you may not find on your own.

Combining different materials or settling on a smaller project can assist in the decision of composite vs wood decking. Of course, how and where you’ll use it is vital when looking at choices.

Ready to start work on the perfect deck for you? We’ve got all the help you need. Contact us here.