Comparing Composite And Wood Decks

Decks can add value to your home as well as provide valuable outdoor living space for relaxing and entertaining. When it comes to having a new deck installed, you will need to make a decision on the materials. The main choice will be between composite decking and wood decking. The following guide can help you make an informed choice.

Composite decking

Composite deck boards are made out of plastic, usually a polyethylene or a polyvinyl product. The plastic is combined with wood particles to give the deck the look and feel of real wood. If you are looking for a green option, there are even composite decking boards made from recycled plastics.


  • Composite materials don't rot, so they are well suited to humid or moist climates.
  • Minimal maintenance is necessary. For example, you won't ever need to sand and seal the deck.
  • Modern composites can be repainted if you want to change the color of your deck.
  • Although slightly more expensive than wood initially, the cost equals out over time due to reduced maintenance.


  • Some types of composites are prone to warping, especially in areas with rapid temperature fluctuations, so investing in solid core composites can minimize this issue.
  • The sun can weaken or discolor the surface of composite boards, but there are UV resistant options if your deck won't be under cover.
  • Although low maintenance, you will need to clean the deck to remove surface mildew, pollen stains, and dirt, but this can be done quickly with a pressure washer.

Wood decking

Wood decks can be made from a variety of woods, including pine, cedar, and mahogany. Pine decks are the most common since this is the least expensive wood, but cedar is also prized because it is naturally insect resistant. Mahogany is a pricier option, but it weathers well and is durable.


  • The natural look and feel of real wood is prized by many homeowners.
  • Initially, it is typically a less expensive option, which works well if you have a lower budget.
  • You can easily change the color of wood by simply repainting or staining it.
  • Mortised wood deck boards are available in areas where warping is an issue. These boards have grooves on the underside that help them resist moisture and temperature warping.


  • Wood decking will require repainting or sealing every few years.
  • Rot can be a concern in wet areas, although cleaning the deck seasonally and resealing regularly can minimize the problem.
  • Insects can sometimes cause issues on wood decks unless you use a treated or naturally resistant wood.

After reviewing the different options above, contact a deck installation specialist for more help.