Composite vs Wood Decking: Which Is Right for You?

composite vs wood decking


The Lowdown on Composite vs Wood Decking: Which One Reigns Supreme?

If you’re a homeowner planning to build a deck, you’re likely faced with the decision of whether to go for composite or wood decking.

Both materials have their pros and cons, making it difficult to choose one over the other. However, the right choice depends on your preferences, budget, and maintenance expectations.

We provide a detailed comparison of composite vs wood decking to help you make an informed decision. We’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of each material, as well as their environmental impact, maintenance requirements, and installation processes.

A Quick Comparison Table

FeatureComposite DeckingWood Decking
Upfront CostHigherLower
AppearanceNot as naturalNatural
Variety of DesignsWide range of optionsLimited
Environmental ImpactEco-friendlyCan be sustainable

When it comes to choosing between composite and wood decking, it can be a daunting task. Some homeowners may be deterred by the higher purchase price of composite decking, while others may prioritize the need for low maintenance.

The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and priorities. If you value the natural look and affordability of wood decking, it may be the better option for you. However, if you want a durable and low maintenance option, then composite decking may be more enticing.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a popular choice among homeowners due to its many advantages. One of the biggest advantages of composite decking is that it requires very low maintenance. It doesn’t need to be stained, painted, or sealed like wood decking, which makes it ideal for busy homeowners. Additionally, composite decking is incredibly durable and can last for decades. It’s also environmentally friendly, as it’s made from recycled materials. Composite decking comes in a variety of designs and colors, so homeowners can choose the one that best matches their home’s aesthetic.

However, composite decking also has its disadvantages. It can be more expensive upfront than wood decking, and it doesn’t look as natural as real wood. In addition, composite decking can become hot in direct sunlight, which can be uncomfortable for bare feet. When choosing composite decking, it’s important to research different brands and compare their features.

Wood Decking

Wood decking is a classic choice that many homeowners still prefer for its natural beauty. One of the advantages of wood decking is that it’s typically less expensive upfront than composite decking. Wood decking is also easy to work with, which makes it a great choice for DIY projects. Another advantage is that it’s cooler underfoot than composite decking, which can be a relief on hot days.

However, wood decking requires more maintenance than composite decking. It needs to be regularly cleaned, stained, and sealed to prevent rot, splintering, and insect damage. Wood decking also has limited design options compared to composite decking. When choosing wood decking, it’s important to consider the type of wood and its durability.


Maintenance is an important factor to consider when choosing between composite and wood decking. Composite decking requires very little maintenance and only needs to be cleaned occasionally with soap and water. In contrast, wood decking requires more maintenance, such as regular cleaning, staining, and sealing. To keep your wood decking in good condition, it’s recommended to clean it at least once a year and to reseal it every two to three years.


The installation process for composite and wood decking is different. Composite decking is typically easier to install than wood decking because it’s lighter and requires fewer tools. However, some composite decking brands require special installation techniques, so it’s important to research the brand’s installation requirements. DIY installation is possible for both types of decking, but hiring a professional can ensure that the installation is done correctly and safely.

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact of decking is an important consideration for homeowners who want to be eco-friendly. Composite decking is made from recycled materials and doesn’t require the harvesting of trees, making it a more sustainable choice. However, some composite decking is not biodegradable and can end up in landfills. Wood decking is a renewable resource, but it requires the harvesting of trees, which can have a negative impact on the environment. Choosing sustainably sourced wood can minimize the environmental impact of wood decking.


The Verdict: Which Decking Material Comes Out on Top?

The decision to choose between composite and wood decking can be a tough one, but it ultimately comes down to the homeowner’s personal preferences and priorities. If low maintenance, durability, and a variety of design options are at the top of the list, composite decking might be the better choice. On the other hand, if natural beauty and a lower upfront cost are more important, wood decking may be the way to go.

While both options have their advantages and disadvantages, it is important to carefully consider all factors before making a decision. By comparing the features, maintenance requirements, installation processes, and environmental impact of composite and wood decking, homeowners can make an informed choice.

In the end, there is no clear winner between composite and wood decking. The best decking material for one homeowner may not be the best for another. However, with the information provided in this article, homeowners can confidently choose the decking material that suits their needs and preferences best.

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Ian Sparrow

About the Author: Ian Sparrow is the founder of, a website dedicated to providing tips and inspiration for creating beautiful and functional outdoor spaces.