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Looking to Redo Your Patio? Compare Wood vs Composite Decking

Millennial Magazine - wood vs composite decking

Building a deck is a popular backyard renovation amongst homeowners. They’re perfect for grilling, enjoying the outdoors, and hosting parties. Plus, they increase the square footage of your home and drastically raise its value. In addition, many opt for a deck because they’re versatile in their potential usage and low-cost compared to other renovations. 

Before getting started, one of the first and most critical decisions is choosing between wood vs composite decking. It might not seem too important, but there are things to consider besides basic appearance. For example, how much time and money are you willing to spend on maintenance in the long run? Wood takes a considerable amount of care compared to composite, but many factors still make it favorable for some people. 

Wood vs. Composite Deck: What’s the Difference?

Wooden decks offer more variety, as you can choose between breeds like cedar, pine, and even exotic types, such as ipe. The wood used for decking is pressure treated with chemicals to increase durability and moisture resistance. Next, there’s composite, which consists of wood and plastic. Making it involves putting the materials into an extruder, which presses them to make a sturdy, long-lasting product.

While it may seem insignificant, there are many ways these two types of decking differ from each other. This article will give you the insight needed to help you make the best decision for your household. 

Appearance

Many opt for wood because of its natural appearance since composite can look like cheap plastic at times. In addition, composite doesn’t consist of the unique patterns found in wood, and it’s not scratch-resistant. So you could be left with marks from chairs scratching the surface. However, technology has evolved to create a composite that closely resembles natural wood.

Keep in mind there are unsightly aspects to wood when it comes to looks. First, the color will fade much quicker, leaving you with a dull, grey deck that needs painting often. Additionally, high moisture climates can cause wood to turn green and slimy. 

Durability and Longevity

When it comes to durability, composite wins by a landslide. Wood attracts insects like termites. It also cracks, splinters, and rots after prolonged exposure to the elements. Furthermore, wood expands and contracts in reaction to temperature, resulting in warping. In terms of longevity, decks made of wood typically last about 15 years, while composite usually lasts over 45 years. 

Maintenance

It is recommended that you perform a semi-annual cleaning for both types of decking to prevent heavy dirt buildup and mold. This is the only significant upkeep needed for composite, though. On the other hand, wood is much harder to maintain since it’s less durable. Every few years, on top of cleaning, you’ll need to spend a few days sanding, painting, and sealing. Doing so increases the life of your deck and minimizes potential repairs. You can do these things yourself, or you could consider hiring a handyman if you’re pressed for time. 

Safety

With time, wood splinters, which presents a hazard for anyone walking barefoot, especially pets and children, who aren’t as cautious. As your wooden deck begins to wear, there’s an increased risk for rotting and damage. With a lack of maintenance, these threats go unnoticed and could eventually cause parts of the deck to collapse. 

Both materials tend to get hot in the summer heat, more so with composite. High temperatures can lead to burns and blistering, and it doesn’t take much time for heat to build. However, manufacturers have integrated cooling technology into composite decking to combat this problem. 

Costs

Many people want to go the DIY route when building their deck. However, this is not advisable as false structuring presents a safety hazard. Instead, if you’re local, you should consider hiring professional deck builders in Chester Springs, PA, who can get the job done safely. 

Initially, wood is cheaper upfront, but long-term maintenance costs can add up. Plus, you’ll probably need to replace it sooner. Contrarily, composite tends to be more expensive to install, but you’ll save thousands of dollars in the long run if you make this choice. Plus, since it’s more durable, you’re less likely to shell out money on repairs or a total replacement in the future. 

Building a deck is an exciting venture that offers many benefits. For those looking to renovate their backyard, it’s an excellent choice, especially if you’re looking for a low-cost way to increase your home’s value. 

Choosing between wood and composite decking is an essential part of the process. After considering your budget, climate, and maintenance capabilities, the choice should be pretty easy to make. Even though composite decks are more durable, a wooden deck can last a long time with the proper care. Plus, every piece of wood has a unique pattern that gives your deck a one-of-a-kind look. 

What do you think?

Written by Meghan Belnap

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.

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