Let's Talk Decking; Composite or Wood?
Updated: Nov 7, 2019
I get asked this question all the time. "Which material is better for my deck?" The truth of the matter is both have pros and cons, and it's important to make the decision BEFORE any actual building takes place.
The composite material is far heavier and more flexible than natural wood. Therefore, when using composite decking, it is necessary to frame the joists for the structure on 12" centers instead of the standard 16" centers. This is necessary to support the extra weight, and to prevent any sagging.
So why does this matter to you?
Composite material is much more expensive than natural wood. In addition, you will need to bank on approximately 25% more joist material. In short, composite has a much greater cost.
While we're picking on composite, let's add the fact that composite material gets very, VERY hot when in direct sunlight.
If you have a veranda, or some kind of shade structure, this wont be an issue. But if not, better count on no bare feet on your deck!
Now as far as the benefits. Composite decking is beyond durable. It will take forever for composite decking to rot, and it is resistant to insect damage. It is difficult to damage, and it requires little to no upkeep. No sealing, no sanding, no staining. Wooden decks eventually require all of the above
So here's the long and short of it:
Composite decking results in a much more expensive project. BUT, it is the most durable thing you can use for decking, and it requires the least upkeep. So, in reality the answer to the question "which is better", is it entirely depends on your priorities, and budget.