Comparing Wood And Composite Decking

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Wood and composite decking are two of the most common materials used for outdoor deck construction. Wood decking, like the name suggests, can be made out of a variety of different hardwoods, all of which confer similar advantages to each other. Composite decking, on the other hand, is typically made up of vinyl or a similar substance. Because of the difference in the materials that make up each type of decking, both wood and composite decking offer a unique set of advantages. Understanding what each type of decking has to offer can help you choose the one that best fits your needs.

Wood Decking

Wood decking is the traditional choice for outdoor decks, and for good reason. Wood is highly durable, and treated decking lumber is able to stand up to severe weather conditions for several years without warping or growing mold. Additionally, there is a large selection of different hardwoods on the market, which allows you to match the type of wood you use for your deck to your desired aesthetic and budget. Higher priced woods tend to be more durable and rot resistant, while lower priced woods are more ideal for staying within budget when building a large project.

However, wooden decks do require some maintenance to ensure that they do not split, rot, or warp over time. Wood has to be resealed every few years (the actual length will depend on your climate conditions) to ensure that it remains water resistant and to prevent mold growth.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a fairly new type of decking material, and is made out of a variety of different plastics, the most common one being vinyl. Composite decking can be either purchased in hollow or solid boards: hollow boards are cheaper, but less durable, while solid boards represent a higher initial investment but will last much longer. The main draw of composite decking is that it requires less maintenance than wood decking, as plastic will not warp, chip, or rot like wood does, and composite decking does not need to be resealed in order to remain durable. Additionally, composite decking can be cleaned much easier than wood decking can be, simply requiring a pressure wash with light detergent.

However, composite decking tends to cost more than wood decking, though this largely depends on the type of hardwood that you compare it to. Additionally, composite decking cannot be painted in the future, which means that if the color fades due to UV exposure or another factor, you'll have to install an entirely new deck if you want to maintain the aesthetics.  

For more information, talk to a professional like Johnston's Greenhouse.

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