October 21, 2022

Composite Decking vs. Natural Wood Decking

By The Decksouth Team //

If you are building a new outdoor living space, there are many factors to consider while designing your deck. One important choice you need to make is which material to use, which is typically either composite wood decking or natural wood decking. To help you decide which one works best for you and your home, we've listed the key differences and benefits between composite decking and natural wood decking.

What’s the Difference? 

Composite decking, also called “wood-plastic decking”, is made of polymer or organic wood fibers encased in durable plastic. High-performance composite decking is often treated with a variety of solutions that make it resistant to damage from weather and insects. This type of deck boasts countless benefits and will be a long-term investment in your outdoor living space.

Natural wood decking is typically made with pressure-treated lumber and plastic or a composite material made from wood fibers and plastic. The five most common types of natural wood decking are ipé, western red cedar, redwood, mahogany, and tigerwood.

When deciding which type of wood you would want for your deck, appearance is not the only factor to consider. Make sure that your material of choice will be sustainable in your climate, and research the typical maintenance requirements for each type of wood. 

Benefits of Composite Decking 

In modern home construction, more homeowners and builders are utilizing composite decking. While natural wood decking is charming and classic, the benefits of composite decking are undeniable. Here are a few reasons why a composite deck is a great alternative to a wood deck: 

1. Less Maintenance

Over time, natural wood decks can warp or rot, mostly due to weather damage. Years and years of summer heat, rainstorms, and snowfall inevitably take their toll on wood. The synthetic fibers and materials used to create composite decking allow it to withstand the effects of weather and time.

2. Beat the Heat

Natural wood decks absorb UV rays and can create hot surfaces. But some composite decking companies like MoistureShield use heat-control technology to reduce heat absorption by 35%.

3. Repel Bugs

Creepy crawlies can burrow themselves into the nooks of natural wood deck slats. Composite wood decking is often coated in a synthetic material that is not hospitable to termites or rodents, which can reduce damage to your deck. 

4. No Splinters

Natural wood decks will begin to splinter after a few years, due to weathering and general wear and tear. Composite decking is almost completely immune to the conditions that cause splintering and thus remains a safer surface for bare-footed outdoor gatherings. 

Benefits of Natural Wood Decking 

While the use of composite decking is picking up steam in the outdoor living industry, some people think that there is just no substitute for the real thing. Here are some reasons why people favor installing natural wood decking: 

1. Cost

Composite wood decking can cost almost 20% more than traditional wood decks. The choice then comes down to do you spend more money now with composite decking and save on maintenance; or do you save money with the initial cost and spend more towards upkeep? For some, making that investment into composite decking in order to save money on maintenance is just not worth it. 

2. Natural Materials

Composite wood decking looks almost identical to natural wood, but it is just not as authentic. Some homeowners may live in milder climates or just don't mind that natural wood needs a little extra TLC. In this case, natural wood might be a great choice for your deck! 

Both composite and natural wood decking have benefits and downsides. Weigh the pros and cons before deciding which material best fits your needs. Then, start building the outdoor living space of your dreams! 

Build with the Best

If you are looking to make your dream outdoor living space a reality, Decksouth is here to help. We're an award-winning outdoor living space designer and builder with a high reputation for high-quality materials and customer service.

Have an idea for your project? Contact us today and our dedicated team will help you bring your dream outdoor living space to life.