What Is the Best Composite Decking Material? – Selection Guide

Composite decking is a popular option among many homeowners today. Unlike wood decking, it is cheaper, more durable, easier to maintain, and more sustainable. Unfortunately, the concept is still new to many homeowners–it is no surprise that many people cannot tell the difference between wood and composite deck boards.

Composite Decking Selection Considerations

This guide will put the facts on composite decking straight. You will learn what composite decking is, the reasons why it is a popular alternative to wood decking, and factors to consider when shopping for the best composite decking.

Composite Decking Materials – What is it Made of?

Composite decking uses a variety of materials in place of wood:

Wood Composite

Wood composite is a blend of sawdust and recycled plastic. It is the most popular composite decking material. It looks and feels like wood decking – it also comes in an array of colors and can be styled to look like laminate flooring.

Plastic

Plastic decking uses a variety of plastic materials, including polyethylene, polypropylene, and vinyl. It is lightweight and durable and, and many of the high-end brands can be styled to look like real wood decking.

PVC/Vinyl

PVC and vinyl decking is made of 100% polyvinyl chloride. Vinyl excels when it comes to color selection, as it is easily customizable.

Other common materials used for composite decking include:

  • Poly
  • Rubber
  • Other recycled materials

Benefits of Composite Decking

benefits of composite decking

Its many benefits fuel the growing popularity of composite decking. Its most notable benefit is of global concern: easing dependence of wood. It would take a lot of wood to afford every home a wooden deck, which would be devastating for forests and the climate.

Other notable benefits of composite decking include:

Great Value for Money

The installation cost of composite decking is higher than that of wood decking. However, it is worth it in the long run as it saves a lot of money and time, as covered below.

Durable

That sleek and elegant look and feel of wood decking don’t last. It wears and tears over time–it fades, develops splinters, stains, and generally degrades in all aspects.

Easy to Maintain

As mentioned, wood decking doesn’t last. To this end, it requires proper maintenance: cleaning, sheltering from extreme weather, and making all the necessary repairs.

Cost-Effectiveness

As mentioned, the initial cost of composite decking surpasses that of wood decking. So, how is it cost-effective? Two answers: durability and easy maintenance.

Composite decking lasts longer than wood decking. It is not prone to the degradation associated with wood–it doesn’t splinter or rot away over time. That means that you will spend less money on repairs and replacements, which will save you more than the margin difference of wood decking.

Maintenance can also be costly. With wood decking, you will need to hire handymen to fix small problems, and the bills add up over time. Composite decking does not degrade as much as wood decking, which means lower maintenance costs.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Composite Decking

So, what makes the ideal composite decking? That depends on your preferences. However, there are several factors that every shopper should take into consideration:

Material

As highlighted above, different materials used to make composite decking have varying strengths and shortcomings. Some materials are more durable or better-looking than others. And, as noted, wood composite beats all other materials.

Aesthetic Appeal

Wood decking is popular for the elegant wooden appearance. However, some of the more versatile composite decking materials can be styled to look just like real wood. Interestingly, many people cannot tell the difference between wood and composite decking.

Color and Texture

In addition to a wooden appearance, some composite decking materials can also imitate the texture and feel of real wood. And, unlike wood decking, composite decking can take on a variety of colors and designs.

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