Decking materials have changed over the years and while your biggest decision used to come down to what type of wood and paint you were going to use, today there are several more options, one of which is composite decking. Different manufacturers have a slightly different take on how they make composite decking, but in general it is a mix of wood, plastics and bonding agents. Let’s take a look at how this new decking technology compares to the old standby.
Which Lasts Longer: Composite or Wood Decking?
One of the first things you want to know about any kind of investment on the homestead is its life expectancy. Like most materials, how long they last depends on how well they are maintained and decking is no different. The average lifespan of a wood deck is 10 to 15 years with good care. The average lifespan of a composite deck is 25 to 30 years making composite deck materials of immediate interest for any homeowner.
Which Requires More Maintenance: Composite or Wood Decking?
If you build a wood deck, be prepared to sand, paint and seal it every few years. The weather takes its toll on the wooden boards and can cause discoloration, splintering and even deterioration. It’s very common that over the life of a wood deck, you’ll have to replace broken or weak boards and if you don’t want them to stand out like a sore thumb, the whole deck will need to be repainted.
Composite decking doesn’t have the same tendency to warp with the weather changes and it’s also not prone to discoloration from UV light. The maintenance for a composite deck is quite minimal – the main thing you’ll need to do is clean it regularly.
Which Looks Better: Composite or Wood Decking?
It’s hard to beat the look of a beautiful wood deck! However, a wood deck changes its appearance over time and has a tendency to change color and texture after spending years in the hot sun. You can slow this process by treating the deck and properly maintaining it, but it will eventually look very different from how it looked when it was first built.
Composite decking is made to look like wood decking and it’s very convincing! It’s also not prone to discoloration and it doesn’t splinter or warp as severely as wood decking. Composite decking does a better job at maintaining its appearance over the years with minimal maintenance.
Which Is More Expensive: Composite or Wood Decking?
These days lumber prices have been higher than in previous years and often fluctuate so exact prices are subject to change, but the average price of getting a wood deck built is between $40 and $80 per square foot for a wood deck and composite decks can range between $80-150 per square foot depending on layout and type of composite materials which includes materials and labor. Other factors that can influence cost greatly can be if you are framing with wood or metal for the structure, access to the location, height it is an elevated deck, is it on a hillside or a slope, steps, railings (wood, metal, composite) type of lumber you may want to use. There are multiple options when it comes to building a deck.
The price is slightly higher to construct a metal framed composite deck than it costs to build a wood deck, but considering the potential of a composite deck with metal framing lasting up to twice as long as a wood deck with minimal maintenance required, the cost offset is worth the investment.
Have Butler Contracting Build Your Deck!
You can get a virtual estimate by filling out this form and letting us know what you have in mind or you can give us a call to get the ball rolling. We can walk you through which materials to choose and the costs associated with them while making suggestions based on your unique situation.