While many would-be deck owners get caught up in the “which wood is best” debate, many others are joining an entirely different camp of preferred deck building material. Said material is called composite wood. We of Bend Deck Contractors are able to provide plenty of helpful information about and are able to build with this material too.
What is Composite Wood?
Composite wood or composite lumber is a combination of different materials - wood fiber and plastic - are pressed together with a kind of binding agent. The end result is a material that is dense, heavy, and just generally more durable than regular wood. Composite wood is very similar to regular wood as it has a very realistic grain finish with the bonus of being able to take a lot of punishment.
What are the Perks of Composite Decks?
Composite decks look a lot like regular wood decks. Unlike regular wooden decks though, composite decks are very low-maintenance. Customers that choose this option won’t have to worry about sanding, sealing, or staining them. Once they’re installed, they’re pretty easy to clean - all deck owners would have to do is clean them twice a year with a soft-bristled brush (or a low power washer) and soapy water.
The wood fibers and plastic that composite wood is made of is recycled materials, so they’re environmentally friendly. Composite decks are big amongst deck owners that want custom decks that don’t compromise the environment. Composite lumber doesn’t split or splinter when exposed to water, so it’s a great choice for wet, humid environments. These easy maintenance decks are also slip-proof as they are designed to provide a good grip even when wet.
Is Composite Decking Worth the Price?
This is a little complicated, honestly. As far as deck building costs go, wood has a cheaper initial cost, but composites begin to pay for themselves about two to three years after purchase as the average life expectancy of a composite deck is around 25 to 30 years. Essentially, the composite has a higher upfront cost, but it pays itself off relatively quickly compared to how long it actually lasts.
Is Composite Decking Better Than Wood?
We’ve already established that composite is low-maintenance, it’s got a realistic grain finish, and customers won’t even have to bother with stains or finishes. For people that want an easy-to-maintain deck and don’t mind paying a bit more out of pocket, then composite is the way to go.
Honestly, composite can be a more advantageous alternative than many other decking options but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution as many people have their preferences despite how much more convenient one choice may actually be over another. Objectively, composite may sound better on paper, but choosing a deck is a highly subjective experience even with good advice from experts.
Our team is here to help customers make the right choice for them. While Composite decks may be well suited for people that want a deck but may not have the time or inclination to maintain it, that doesn’t make it the absolute best choice for all of our customers.