Composite vs wood decking

There was a time when wood was the only option.  The Composite decking came along with a promise of “no maintenance”, but along with that promise, there were a lot of areas where composites failed.

Fun Fact:  If you invested 50K 20 years ago into major Composite Decking companies (Trex, Azek, Fiberon) you would make over a million dollars now.

The early composites were plagued with such issues as discoloration, mold, low scratch resistance and high price.  Now composite deck boards have improved significantly in terms of their performance.  All major manufacturers of composite and pvc plastic decking provide warranties against color discoloration and mold.  Some suppliers like Azek and Fiberon warranty their material (Vintage and Promenade lines) for 50 years and these products provide class A fire ratings.

In 2020 the price of wood decking has almost doubled.  You can now buy premium entry level composite decking (such as Fiberon Goodlife Mono series) for about the same price as knotty cedar decking.

The advantages of composite decking include:

  • No cracking, no staining, no splintering
  • No staining or painting required, only cleaning
  • Will not rot or mold or decay.  Resistant to insect attacks.
  • Your deck will look the same for many years to come
  • Warranty from 25 to 50 years
  • Installed with hidden fasteners
  • A large variety of colors and textures to choose from
  • A good price range from entry level to premium pvc

The advantages of wood decking include:

  • Pressure treated decking is still the most economical decking
  • Will not heat up as much as composites
  • Natural wood appearance

For most clients composite decking is clearly the best choice.  However for some people the look and feel of the real wood cannot be substituted.  We recommend premium wood decking such as Ipe decking and Garapa decking.  Ipe and Garapa are hardwood decking options.  These woods will not rot or warp or crack as much as cedar or pressure treated and they require little or no maintenance.  Brazillian hardwoods cost more money than the typical wood decking options, but the investment quickly pays off once their longevity and maintenance is factored in.

At Ottawa Deck Shop are here to help you find the best option for your deck, wood or composite or PVC.  Speak to one of our associates today.