Wood Versus Composite: Is One Better than the Other?

In the quest for the perfect outside oasis when building a new deck, many homeowners seek natural looking materials. There are several options for decking on the market today including composite and traditional wood decking that have that natural look appeal but how do they stack up against one another?


Wood Decks

Wood decks require more upkeep than composites. Pine decks may chip, and the boards have a tendency to twist as they dry out. Mahogany and ipe are surprisingly low maintenance unlike some other woods.

Most wood decks will need to be sealed and stained at some point. It is recommended to test if you aren’t sure whether or not it’s time to seal your deck: Sprinkle water on the wood; if it absorbs immediately, it’s time to stain, but if it beads up, you can probably wait a bit longer.

Composite Decks

Wood alternatives such as composite decking can create an beautiful outdoor space that:

  • never needs staining or painting
  • eliminates splinters
  • won’t twist or warp
  • last for a very long time

Composite decking typically consists of some type of plastic material, such as polyethylene and/or polyvinyl chloride, and wood particles. Boards might be hollow or solid. Hollow boards are cheaper than solid boards and don’t tend to expand and contract as often as solid boards do; however, when they do shift, they tend to do so in only one area. Additionally, hollow boards are not as sturdy and can hold water internally, which in turn can lead to warping and decomposition. While solid boards expand and contract more than hollow boards, they are stronger and tend to look more like real wood than hollow composites.

Regardless of whether you choose to use composite or wood decking, you can create a unique and inviting outdoor space that will provide you and your family countless hours of relaxation and last for many years to come.