composite decking boards

Is It Cheaper to Build a Wood or a Composite Deck?

Composite decking is more expensive than wood. On average, treated wood deck boards will cost between $23 and $42 per square foot plus installation, while composite decking will cost $30 and $60 per square foot. This clearly shows that wood is the cheaper alternative. But is it? This article answers the question, is it cheaper to build a wood or composite deck? 

Characteristics of Wood Decking Vs Composite Decking

Wood Decking Characteristics

  • Look. Timber decking appears authentic because it is made of wood. Homeowners that love the traditional wood design will find any deck built with timber appealing. 
  • Price. The cost of purchasing wood decking is cheaper than composite. This means you can save money and build timber decking on a budget. 
  • Lifespan. Wood decking will last between 15 and 40 years, depending on the type. If you buy hardwood decking, you can expect it to last for 40 years, while softwood will last for about 15 years. 
  • Maintenance. Wood decking is not easy to maintain. This is because you must seal, paint or stain the decking surface to make it waterproof and attractive. Also, since mold and mildew affect timber decking, you have to scrub and wash with vinegar to remove them. 
  • Performance. Wood decking has far less performance compared with composite decking. Under the rain, wood decking boards will swell and rot. Also, under the sun, the decking will splinter, warp or sag because of extreme heat. 

Composite Decking Characteristics

Is It Cheaper to Build a Wood or a Composite Deck?
  • Look. Composite decking is attractive. The decks come in various colors and textures that add beauty to anywhere they are installed. You can get a composite decking that looks like wood if you buy the wood grain textured boards. 
  • Price. The cost of buying composite deck boards is more than wood. Homeowners will spend almost twice the amount of softwood and a little above the amount of hardwood to buy the same quantity of composite boards. 
  • Lifespan. Composite decking lifespan varies. The average lifespan of composite decking ranges from 25 to 40 years, depending on the grade. Generally, composite decking lasts longer than wood. 
  • Maintenance. Maintaining composite decking is a lot easier than wood. You don’t have to paint, seal or stain the surface of the boards to make them last longer. All you need when maintaining your decking is water and soap to wash the surface. Also, no need to scrub to remove mold and mildew. 
  • Performance. Composite decking performs better than wood under the rain and in the sun. It will not rot when exposed to moisture because it has a plastic-coated surface that prevents water absorption. Also, it will not splinter or warp under the sun. 

Why Is Composite Decking Better than Wood, Despite the Price?

Despite the high cost of purchasing composite decking, more and more people are using it. This is because it is easy to maintain. Composite decking easy maintenance helps you save cost since you don’t have to buy paint or stain. 

Also, since you can easily clean your deck, there is no need to hire a decking cleaner for the task. This makes composite decking a cost-effective deck option in the long run. The lifespan of composite decking makes it better than wood. 

Composite boards will last between 25 and 40 years, while softwood will last for 15 years. Hardwood that lasts for 40 years is almost the same price as composite. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Composite Decking Cheaper than Wood?

Composite decking is more expensive than wood if you consider the initial cost. But if you look at the fact that it is easy to maintain and lasts longer than wood, you will understand that it is a cost-effective option. 

Which Is Better, Trex or Wood Deck?

While the initial cost for wood deck boards is less than Trex, a Trex deck saves you money in the long run because it is easy to maintain and lasts longer than wood. 

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