If you’re planning to replace or install a new deck in the near future, you’re probably spending a lot of time right now weighing the pros and cons of different materials. Most decks use pressure-treated lumber for the framework but you have your choice of material for the decking itself and the railings(the part you actually see, feel, and walk on). More often than not, this question of which material to use comes down to two options: composite or wood decking. Both have their pros and cons and there is no one material that is always superior in every situation. Let’s examine the differences between the two to help you make the best decision for your deck.
What Is Wood?
While it sounds like a silly question, let’s start with the basics. Wood is a product produced from trees, cut into boards or planks, and used for construction. Wood is plentiful and renewable, but it is also prone to weather and environmental-related damage (like insects and rot). Some wood species are better than others for outdoor use, and likewise, the more exotic species are going to be more expensive than their local competitors. The most popular choice in wood is often pressure-treated pine.
What Is Composite?
Composite is a manufactured product first produced in the 1980s that combines wood fibers and plastic. Also sometimes called wood-plastic composite it is designed to solve many of the issues with traditional lumber. Composite decking was once hard to come by and prohibitively expensive, but these days it is easily bought at home improvement stores and lumber yards alike.
What Are Their Pros?
Both of these products are readily available and easy to work with without any specialized tools. Composite decking is easy to bend if you’re hoping for a special feature like a curve. Wood tends to be less expensive up front, however composite doesn’t require the same yearly maintenance, so those costs often even out over the life of the deck. Traditional wood tends to stay cooler and more comfortable in direct sunlight (though composite is getting better). Composite decking will not splinter or produce similar safety concerns and won’t have any issues with insects or other pests.
What Are Their Cons?
Traditional wood requires yearly maintenance and will eventually still splinter. Even with proper maintenance, wood can eventually succumb to insects and sustain water damage. Composites tend to have a larger up-front price tag that can be difficult to manage with a large project like a deck. Composite also cannot be changed (with paint or stain) as easily as regular wood, and while the technology is leagues better than it used to be, composites do not quite capture the exact look and feel of actual wood.
Depend on Leland Fisher Lumber For Your Lumber and Hardware Needs!
Leland Fisher Lumber is a full-service lumber and hardware supplier. We’ve serviced homeowners and professional contractors in Montgomery County, Howard County, and Frederick County since 1894! Whether you want to remodel your home or upgrade your business, we have the professionalism and expertise to make any architectural vision come to life.
Be sure to visit Fisher Lumber’s Designer Showroom featuring displays of Andersen Windows, Therma-Tru entry doors, Simpson and Masonite exterior doors, and a wide selection of interior doors featuring Simpson, Masonite, Lemieux, and JELD-WEN. Our knowledgeable experts are ready to assist you! Contact us at 301-424-6500 and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.