Wood vs Composite Deck
I hear very often from customers that they want to go with composite materials for their deck, I ask them why they made this choice. The answer I often get is that it lasts forever with no upkeep, part of this is true but not all of it. The truth is that composite decking is really cool, it looks like a stained wood deck and it truly does not need any upkeep to keep up with it which is amazing. The part that is not true is that it lasts forever, I like to use the example of when you purchase new tires for your vehicle and the warranty is for 5 years or 50k miles, which sounds amazing but that’s only if they’re used in certain conditions where roads are perfect, never over the speed limit, etc which is not possible therefore the warranty is useless. Composite materials will last forever under perfect conditions, no hot sun beating down on it, no snow sitting on it for days on end in the winter, installed perfectly with room to expand and contract, etc. Since none of this is possible the composite boards seem to last 20-25 years on average from what I have seen with older decks that show serious warping causing the boards to twist and turn ruining the overall deck.
Here is the current price difference between wood and composite boards from Home Depot in April 2023
5/4″ x 6″ x 16′ Pressure Treated Deck Board – $20.74
1″ x 6″ x 16′ Trex Enhanced Naturals Grooved Board – $51.71
1″ x 6″ x 16′ Trex Transcend Squared Board – $102.72
As you can see with the above prices and items, looking at the same items the price difference can be as much as 5x the cost of a wood board to go with composite. In the past I think a lot of people heard these boards are 20% – 40% more than wood, that’s not the case.
What do I suggest? I suggest that railings on decks should be composite or vinyl, I believe that keeping up with a wood railing is incredible time consuming and they seem to have issues well before the deck boards. Go with either a color matched style railing such as Trex or Timbertech or you can go with a basic white vinyl railing which is more cost effective. I then suggest getting wood deck boards instead of composite and having someone else stain them every 3-5 years instead of you doing it. This is still a savings in 20-25 years in overall cost of the deck and for you it’s no upkeep to keep up with the deck.
Just think about this investment, it’s not cheap to get a new deck. It’s a serious investment and you can do it much more cost effective and keep the same benefits of a composite deck.