There is something liberating about spending time outside on a deck. A deck is a wonderful addition to your home. An area to entertain, to relax and to enjoy the space you have created. Selecting the right decking material is a pivotal decision for any homeowner or builder, shaping not only the aesthetics but also the durability and maintenance of the outdoor living space.
Among the myriad choices available, two prominent contenders stand out: Wood is still a popular choice, but new technologies are making composites more attractive and sustainable. Each material possesses distinct characteristics, catering to different preferences and needs. This article will make comparison between wood decking and composite decking to help you making choice for your outdoor oasis.
Understanding Wood Decking and Composite Decking
Wood decking, a classic choice for outdoor spaces, encompasses a range of natural wood types such as cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated lumber. Its charm lies in the authentic, warm appeal and the variety of wood species available, each offering unique aesthetics. The traditional appeal of wood decking caters to those who appreciate its natural beauty, with the added benefit of being relatively easier to repair and customize.
WPC(Wood Plastic Composite) decking, a modern alternative to traditional wood decks, is usually comprised of a mix of recycled wood flour and recycled plastic materials, bound by resins. This composition creates a sturdy, low-maintenance material that aims to emulate the natural appearance of wood while offering enhanced durability.
There is a great variety of composite decking made from recycled content, and more options are likely to make an appearance in the near future. Like wood, they range from lower-end to middle-grade to high-end.
Pros and Cons of Wood Decking
Although composite decking is gaining in popularity, natural wood decking is still the most attractive option.
- Aesthetic Appeal: The authentic, warm aesthetic of natural wood creates a timeless and inviting outdoor space.
- Affordability: Wood decking often tends to have a lower initial cost compared to composite materials, making it a budget-friendly choice.
- Repair and Customization: Wood decks offer easier repair and customization options, allowing for alterations, staining, or painting to suit changing preferences.
- Wood is nontoxic and is a natural, renewable resource. For the truly eco-conscious, softwoods are more sustainable than hardwoods, as they have a much more rapid regrowth rate. Choosing lumber certified by a third party ensures the wood was sustainably harvested; however, standards vary. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) maintains stricter and more comprehensive standards than the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
Disadvantages: Issues with natural wood decking include vulnerability to hungry insects and rot, as well as the frequency and cost of general maintenance. Wood decks should be thoroughly cleaned annually, and should be refinished as soon as the color starts to fade—usually every few years.
Troubles come from wood:
Pros and Cons of Composite Decking
Benefits of Composite Decking:
Composite decking offers a range of advantages that appeal to homeowners and builders seeking a low-maintenance, durable decking solution. Some key benefits include:
- Low Maintenance and Durability: Composite decking requires minimal upkeep, such as sealing or staining, and boasts exceptional durability, resisting rot, mold, and insect damage.
- Resistance to Environmental Elements: It’s engineered to withstand fluctuating weather conditions, preventing warping, cracking, and fading, making it ideal for various climates.
- Versatility in Appearance: Available in a wide array of colors, textures, and finishes, composite decking offers customization options to suit different design preferences.
Drawbacks of Composite Decking:
Despite its numerous advantages, composite decking also presents some limitations that warrant consideration:
- Higher Initial Cost: The upfront cost of composite decking tends to be higher than traditional wood options, potentially impacting the initial project budget.
- Susceptibility to Heat: In direct sunlight, some composite materials may retain heat, making them warmer to the touch.
- Environmental Considerations: While made from recycled materials, some composite decking may have environmental implications during production and end-of-life disposal.
Comparison Between Wood Decking and Composite Decking
The comparison between the two materials are：
- WPC is split resistant and splinter free while natural wood is not.
- WPC is resistant to rot and termites while natural wood is not.
- WPC is more durable and weather resistant than natural wood.
- WPC is no painting or staining requirement with low maintenance. Natural wood requires regular maintenance to ensure durability.
- WPC has more color selections including those with the finish of traditional wood.
- WPC is a sustainable material which uses recycled plastic and waste wood, it is totally environmental protection product. Natural wood will eventually result in deforestation.
|Moisture Resistance||Waterproof||Water absorptive|
|Decay/Rot Resistance||Antisepsis||Rot except special treating|
|Split Resistance||No Cracked||Cracked by weathering effect|
|UV Stability||High UV stable||Low UV stable|
|Deformation||None||Yes, because of weather|
|Durability||10-20 years||3-5 years|
|Outdoor Adaptability||Excellent||Poor, need periodic treatment|
|Environmental Friendliness||100% Recyclable||Consume woods|
|Installation||Fast and easy||–|
A. Initial Costs
Wood Decking: Wood decking generally presents a more affordable initial cost compared to composite materials. The lower upfront investment is appealing to those working within budget constraints, offering a cost-effective choice for outdoor projects.
Composite Decking: Typically, composite decking tends to have a higher initial cost compared to wood decking. The upfront investment is often greater due to the manufacturing process and the material’s durability, which may result in a higher price per square foot.
Certain woods are more expensive than others, and composite decking ranges in price, as well. This chart provides a vary general cost comparison of various decking materials.
B. Long-Term Expenses
Wood Decking: Despite the lower initial cost, the long-term expenses of wood decking can be higher due to ongoing maintenance needs, including regular staining, sealing, and potential repairs. These maintenance efforts can accumulate costs over the deck’s lifespan.
Composite Decking: While some composite decking may be more expensive initially, its low maintenance may outweigh the initial upfront cost over the lifespan of the deck which can lead to cost savings in the long run. It generally reduces expenses associated with staining, sealing, and repairs, contributing to a lower total cost of ownership over time.
The choice between composite decking and wood decking is not merely a matter of personal preference but a decision influenced by various factors. Each material brings its own set of advantages and limitations, catering to diverse needs and preferences for outdoor spaces. In making the decision, factors such as budget, long-term maintenance considerations, desired aesthetics, and the environmental impact must be carefully weighed. It’s crucial to align the chosen material with individual preferences, lifestyle, and the intended use of the deck, ensuring a selection that best meets the unique requirements of each homeowner or builder.
If you’re considering a decking solution that combines the best of both worlds – durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal – we invite you to explore Bongywood WPC, our products offer a versatile and eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood decking. Explore our range of Bongywood WPC materials for your decking project, and feel free to contact us for more information, expert guidance, or any inquiries. Let us assist you in creating your ideal outdoor living space.
Guangdong Bongywood New Building Materials Co.,Ltd. is a professional manufacturer specializing in the R&D, production and sales of WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) materials, our products include: composite decking, capped composite decking, WPC Wall Panel, WPC Railing & Fencing, WPC Pergola & Gazebo, WPC Chairs & Bench, WPC Flower Planter Pots etc.