Sharing 7 Secrets About Composite vs Wood Decking Materials

Choosing between wood decking materials and composite options is a significant decision for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor living space.

You’ve got a lot to think about, including price, maintenance, aesthetics, just to name a few. Plus, finding information about composite and wood decking materials isn’t always straightforward.

As Johnson Lumber, we have more than a century of serving the central Maryland area. As such, we’ve become a trusted source of not just high-quality materials but also valuable insights into home improvement projects. 

Today, we’re pulling on that experience to reveal seven lesser-known facts about wood and composite decking materials, aimed at guiding you through the intricate details of each option. 

Whether you’re contemplating a new deck installation or considering upgrading your current one, understanding these secrets will help you make the best decking choice possible for your preferences, lifestyle, and budget.

  1. There’s No Such Thing As No Maintenance

The allure of composite decking often lies in its touted low maintenance needs. However, it’s critical to understand that “low” does not equate to “no” maintenance. 

Composite decks demand occasional cleaning to fend off mildew and mold, especially in areas less exposed to sunlight. On the flip side, wood decking, whether pressure-treated, cedar, or another variety, requires more intensive upkeep. 

This includes regular staining or sealing to combat the elements, which can lead to warping, splintering, or decay over time. 

The hidden truth here is that, while both materials need care, the nature and frequency of maintenance vary significantly, impacting long-term enjoyment and upkeep costs.

  1. Variety of Colors

Composite decking’s secret weapon might just be its color versatility. Unlike natural wood, which offers a traditional charm through its inherent hues and can only be altered using stains, composite materials come in an extensive palette of colors and finishes. 

This range allows homeowners to closely match their decking to the home’s exterior or landscape design, creating a cohesive and visually appealing outdoor space. 

Moreover, composite decking maintains its color consistency over time, without the fading or graying commonly seen in wood, making it an attractive option for those seeking long-term aesthetic stability.

  1. Recycled Materials

A lesser-known advantage of composite decking is its eco-friendly composition. Many composite materials are crafted from recycled plastics and wood fibers, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional wood decking. 

This aspect appeals to environmentally conscious homeowners looking to minimize their impact on natural resources. While wood decking can also be sourced sustainably, particularly when using reclaimed lumber, the process of harvesting and treating new wood has a more significant environmental footprint. 

The choice of composite decking, therefore, not only reflects personal aesthetic preferences but also a commitment to environmental stewardship.

  1. Which Is Pricier Up Front

The initial investment in composite decking is often higher than that for wood decking materials. This upfront cost, however, needs to be evaluated against the backdrop of long-term expenses. 

Wood decks, while cheaper initially, incur ongoing costs for maintenance, repairs, and eventually replacement that can add up significantly over the years. 

Composite decking, with its longer lifespan and minimal maintenance requirements, can offer greater value over time. This hidden truth underscores the importance of considering the full lifecycle cost of your decking material, rather than just the purchase price.

  1. Composite Means Comparison Shopping

Navigating the composite decking market requires careful comparison shopping. The quality and performance of composite materials can vary widely among manufacturers, with differences in durability, resistance to fading and staining, and warranty terms. 

It’s essential for homeowners to research and compare products to find the best fit for their specific needs and climate conditions. Unlike wood, whose qualities and limitations are well-established, composite decking offers a broader spectrum of options, each with unique attributes and potential drawbacks.

  1. Composite Technology Improvements

The evolution of composite decking technology is a game-changer for homeowners. Early iterations of composite materials faced issues with fading, staining, and moisture absorption. 

However, modern composites have overcome these challenges with advanced manufacturing techniques that enhance their resilience against the elements and everyday wear. 

These improvements have significantly narrowed the gap between the promise of low maintenance and the reality, offering homeowners decking options that truly withstand the test of time without the constant upkeep required by wood decks.

  1. Which is More Beautiful?

The debate over the aesthetic appeal of wood versus composite decking is subjective and depends on personal preference. 

Wood offers a timeless, natural beauty that many find hard to replicate. Its unique grain patterns and natural color variations add character and warmth to outdoor spaces. Composite decking, on the other hand, provides a more uniform look with a wide range of color options and textures that can mimic the appearance of wood without its maintenance demands. 

The choice between the rustic charm of wood and the modern, consistent appeal of composite ultimately depends on the homeowner’s vision for their outdoor space.

Find The Decking Materials For Your Next Deck At Johnson Lumber

The decision between wood and composite decking involves more than just comparing initial costs and aesthetics. It requires a thoughtful consideration of long-term maintenance, environmental impact, and lifestyle compatibility. 

Armed with these seven little secrets, homeowners can make a more informed choice that aligns with their values and needs. For personalized advice and a wide selection of both wood and composite decking materials, the team at Johnson Lumber is ready to assist.

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