Outdoor Decking Materials: From Wood to Composite

Outdoor Decking Materials: From Wood to Composite


Choosing the right decking material is crucial for creating a beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance outdoor space. From traditional wood to innovative composite materials, there are various options available to suit every preference and budget. In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics, benefits, and considerations of outdoor decking materials, comparing wood and composite options to help you make an informed decision for your deck project.

Understanding Wood Decking

Wood decking has been a popular choice for outdoor spaces for decades due to its natural beauty and affordability.

Types of Wood Decking

Common types of wood decking include pressure-treated lumber, cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods like ipe and mahogany.

Pros of Wood Decking

Wood decking offers a warm, natural aesthetic, is readily available, and can be stained or painted to match any design style.

Cons of Wood Decking

Wood decking requires regular maintenance, including staining or sealing every few years to protect against moisture, rot, and insect damage.

Introduction to Composite Decking

Composite decking is a synthetic material made from a blend of recycled wood fibers and plastic.

Types of Composite Decking

Composite decking comes in a variety of colors, textures, and finishes, mimicking the look of natural wood without the maintenance.

Pros of Composite Decking

Composite decking is highly durable, resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage, and requires minimal maintenance compared to wood.

Cons of Composite Decking

Composite decking tends to be more expensive upfront than wood, and some brands may experience fading or staining over time.

Comparing Cost

While wood decking may have a lower initial cost, composite decking often proves more cost-effective in the long run due to its longevity and minimal maintenance requirements.

Environmental Considerations

Composite decking is an eco-friendly option, as it utilizes recycled materials and reduces the demand for virgin wood.

Installation Process

Both wood and composite decking require similar installation processes, including framing, joist spacing, and fastening methods.

Durability and Longevity

Composite decking typically offers superior durability and longevity compared to wood, with warranties ranging from 25 to 50 years.

Maintenance Requirements

Wood decking requires regular maintenance, while composite decking only needs occasional cleaning with soap and water.

Design Flexibility

Composite decking offers greater design flexibility with customizable colors, textures, and patterns to suit any aesthetic preference.


Choosing between wood and composite decking ultimately depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and maintenance preferences. While wood decking provides a classic, natural look, composite decking offers durability and low maintenance. Consider your priorities and consult with a professional to determine the best option for your outdoor space.

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