Pros and Cons of Composite vs. Wood Decking

Building a deck adds value to your home and increases the amount of usable outdoor space. But which type of decking is best for you?


If you are a homeowner in the market for a new deck, one of the first things to consider is how much it will cost. The answer to this question will depend on your budget and your choice of materials.

Composite decks are generally more expensive than traditional wood decks, but they also have a number of advantages that can offset the initial investment. Some of these benefits include durabilitylow maintenance, and a range of color and style options. However, composite decks have a few cons that should be considered before making a final decision.

The cost of a composite deck depends on the type of material you choose. Some of the most popular types of composites are PVCpolyethylene plastic, and polypropylene plastic. Each of these materials has its own unique set of benefits, but they all start at around $3 per linear foot. In addition to the material itself, you will need to budget for installation costs. Labor can account for 20% – 40% of the overall cost, and will vary depending on your location. Other extras, like electricity run for lighting or built in seating, will also increase the total cost of the project.

Another factor to consider is the amount of upkeep that will be required. While composite decks are less susceptible to rot and insect infestation than traditional wood, they are not completely immune to damage from weather and natural disasters. Those who live in areas that are prone to wildfire should consider upgrading their composite decks to fire-resistant materials.

One of the biggest downsides to composite decking is that it can be difficult to find a good match for your home’s décor. While many manufacturers have worked to make their composites look more like natural wood, it is still not a perfect fit for everyone. Some people may prefer a more modern look, and the plastic-like feel of composites can be offputting.

Another drawback to composites is that they can be prone to mildew and mold. These substances can be difficult to remove and can cause damage to the surface of the deck. Composites can also be hot to the touch on a sunny day, and they are not as flexible as natural wood. As a result, homeowners are encouraged to cool the deck with water or wear appropriate footwear.


The main advantage of composite decking over traditional wood is that it is less prone to rot and mold. However, this does not mean that it is completely immune to damage. The structure can still be affected by high winds, and if it’s installed on a sloped yard, it may be susceptible to flooding. Additionally, composite decking requires a more sturdy frame than natural wood. In addition, the material can melt under rare circumstances, especially if you place hot grease or coal on it. Therefore, homeowners should use a non-flammable coating to protect their composite decks against damage.

Most composites are made of recycled plastic and timber byproducts. This reduces the amount of new materials that are needed, and it also saves trees from being harvested. However, the materials are not environmentally friendly and contain a fair amount of chemicals. Unless they are treated with preservatives, they will eventually rot over time. Some of the most popular preservatives include zinc borate and copper sulfate.

One disadvantage of composite decking is that it can be slippery when wet, so homeowners should consider adding a textured surface to prevent accidents. Furthermore, some composites can become hot to the touch on a sunny day. Choosing a lighter color will help to mitigate this issue.

Another important factor to consider is that composites can crack and warp over time, which can affect the structural integrity of your deck. This is because they are not as flexible as natural wood, so the deck boards can shift and separate from the framing. This is a significant problem because it can cause serious safety issues.

Regardless of which type of decking you choose, you should always check the quality of the workmanship and finish. A well-made deck will last for decades and will come with a warranty.

Homeowners should also keep in mind that composite decking is more expensive than natural wood. However, it is more durable and easier to maintain than traditional wood, so it’s a good choice for those who want to invest in their outdoor space.


Although composite decks require less maintenance than wood, it’s still important to keep them clean to eradicate mildew and prevent rotting or insect damage. Regular sweeping and dusting should be combined with a basic cleaning product to give the deck an occasional deep clean. It is recommended to always use cleaning products approved by the manufacturer and that are safe for composite materials.

Most modern composites don’t need sanding, staining or oiling. However, they do require annual cleaning to remove debris. Wood, on the other hand, requires sanding and staining to protect it from weather damage and to restore its color and shine.

Some wood decks can last up to 30 years, but they need more maintenance than composites. Those made of cedar or redwood require more frequent sanding and staining, as they’re not as durable as homegrown pine. Additionally, these decks need to be treated with a preservative to protect them from moisture damage and bugs.

While composite decks are highly durable and resistant to rot, mold, and insects, they can become slippery when wet or covered in grime. Regular cleaning is the best way to ensure that your composite deck doesn’t slip and slide, which could result in injury.

Composite decks are more likely to get hot in the sun than natural wood, so it’s important to keep the area clear of obstructions. It’s also recommended to avoid placing pots and flowerbeds directly on the surface of your deck, as soil or overflow can spill onto it. If you do decide to place pots on your deck, it’s a good idea to add saucers to catch any water or soil overflow and help the plants stay cooler.

Some manufacturers claim that their composite products are as resistant to heat as wood, so it’s worth checking this before installing your deck. While this is probably not true for all WPCs, it’s worth bearing in mind if you are concerned about hot surfaces or want to minimise the risk of injury.


Composite decking is available in a wide range of colors and textures to complement or blend into any landscape or home design. It is also a good choice for areas that are prone to moisture and fungus because it doesn’t have the moldy smell and staining issues of traditional wood. However, like all materials, there are some drawbacks.

Some composites are prone to scratching. This is a problem if you have children or pets. While light scratches can be sanded away, deeper ones can’t and tend to look unsightly. Another issue is that dark composites heat up underfoot, making them uncomfortable for bare feet. Lastly, it is important to note that while many composites are durable, they may not be as long-lasting as traditional wood.

The biggest downside of composites is their higher initial cost compared to traditional wood. They typically run about 30 percent more than pressure-treated pine, and the top-of-the-line options run roughly in line with ipe (pronounced ee-PAY), a hardwood harvested from tropical rain forests.

While composites may be more expensive upfront, they last longer than traditional wood and require less maintenance. They are also backed by warranties against structural problems, staining and fading.

Wood composites are often made from recycled materials, which means they’re better for the environment than natural wood. They’re also more resistant to rot, insect damage and mold.

In addition to saving trees, composites can reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills. They’re also made from wood by-products, which means they don’t have to be sourced from harvested forests. This helps preserve the forest ecosystem and prevents plastic from entering different ecosystems, including the ocean.

When considering whether to go with a composite or a natural wood deck, it’s important to consider the climate where you live and your home’s foundation. In some cases, homeowners will need to build a deck on an elevated foundation to protect the structure from moisture and freezing temperatures.

There are two types of composite decking: uncapped and capped. Uncapped composites use a mix of advanced plastic polymers and durable minerals that are pressed or stretched into boards. Capped composites are covered with a shell of durable resin or plastic that helps protect the core from water damage and UV rays. Some manufacturers offer composite products that are backed by 50-year warranties against structural issues and 25-year warranties against staining, fading and discoloration.

At. the end of the day, both types of decking can improve the look of your home and provide you and your family a variety of needs. If you’re interested in a deck installation, contact us at Detroit Construction Solutions. We would be happy to provide a free estimate and answer any questions that might come up. We would love nothing more than to work with you in relieving the stress of your project needs. To learn more about your options or to get a quote from us, contact us at 586-443-6199 or fill out our contact form here.