The Pros and Cons of Composite Decking

Installing a fresh new deck is a great feeling to a homeowner; it's a new space for the family outdoors, and is a social hub for parties or just relaxing in the sun. Decks are usually solid investments from a homeowner standpoint, as long as they are well maintained and are built to code. 

As with any home renovation project, no one supply is the same - every material has its own unique pros and cons and should be assessed based on personal needs and circumstance. Composite decking is a manufactured type of wood and plastic that offers certain perks in terms of longevity. The pros and cons of composite materials are relatively easy to outline, but harder to determine for personal preference. 


Naturally, cost is the first factor to take into account. As a general rule, composite material is more expensive than wood, but this isn't an absolute rule - some woods can be very expensive, and simply won't last as long as composite. However, for most people, composite decking is a renovation that is an upfront investment - due to the fact that it is manufactured with stabilizers and plastic, the lifespan is significantly better than genuine wood materials. 

Additionally, composite decking requires little upkeep, whereas wood does require treatment and can be difficult to keep on top of, particularly if located in an area with harsh weather cycles. Doing a little research on how often certain types of wood need treatment and how they may fare under certain conditions is a good way to weigh up the overall long term cost of a deck in comparison to composite decking. 


This is certainly a matter of personal preference. Some do believe that nothing quite looks like genuine wood, and nothing smells quite like it either. Composite material doesn't usually have quite the same look, feel or smell but as long as it is installed by a professional like Heilman Renovations it can look very nice, very professional and very slick. For the homeowner it's about finding the balance between looks and longevity, for some it may feel more important to have a higher maintenance deck that offers all the little qualities that only wood can, while others may be comfortable with composite for its ability to withstand the great outdoors for years. 


When it comes to a home remodel project, renovation is the first step - trying to spruce something up is always better from a cost efficiency standpoint over completely rebuilding something. This is an interesting dilemma for those building a deck. When wood starts to lose color, vibrancy or simply has a little rot, it can be shaved, coated and it will look good as new. However, composite (despite being tougher and more durable) can't be spruced up in the same way, it's usually easier to completely replace a plank or two, or maybe even three, and this can be more expensive. Of course, this expense should be factored into the general idea that composite is tougher and less likely to need this type of renovation in the first place.