If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably searched online for topics related to outdoor deck building in the last few years. And if you’ve done that, there is one word that you’ve probably seen mentioned countless times: Composite. Everything seems to be about a composite decking these days – and for good reason. Not only does composite decking last longer then even the most durable natural wood, it can now closely mimic the appearance of virtually any type of lumber. It can even look likes natural stone or other materials.
Once you tally up all of the benefits of composite decking, you might find it easy to believe that natural wood decking will soon be a thing of the past. Why wouldn’t people choose a longer lasting material that requires less maintenance?
Well, we’re here to tell you that natural wood decking is not going anywhere. Composite will continue to be an important (and possibly even a dominant) player in the outdoor decking industry, but there will always be a place for natural wood – and here are five reasons why.
1. Wood is classy
Composite decking comes pretty close to the look and feel of natural wood, but not quite. You can’t have all of those weather and insect-resistant capabilities while retaining the natural feel of wood. There will always be a place for outdoor decks built of majestic tropical hardwoods, and even more affordable pressure-treated lumbers.
2. It’s cheaper (at least up front)
The average cost of a natural wood deck is lower than that of composite. Manufacturers charge a premium for composite materials because they stand up so well against the elements, and require virtually zero maintenance. Natural wood is cheaper to start off with, although when you factor in the cost of periodic sanding and staining, plus the slightly shorter lifespan, some homeowners feel that composite is the better overall value.
3. It doesn’t get as hot
Composite decking materials, for all their amazing advantages, have a way of really heating up in the sun. This is due to their composition, which is a mixture of natural wood fibers, plastics, and other synthetic materials. Natural wood tends to stay cooler. Many people also say that it feels more natural underfoot.
Should I go natural?
Composite decking actually costs a little more on average to install, but most homeowners feel this higher price is justified when the lower maintenance requirements and longer lifespan are taken into account. National woods, on the other hand, offer a look and feel that composite will frankly never be able to replicate — at least not perfectly.
A well-crafted outdoor deck made of fresh Cedar or redwood is a thing of beauty, and no matter how popular composite decking becomes, natural woods will remain popular in the marketplace as well. Knowing which one is right for you and your property is much easier if you have an experienced deck builder on your side who can give you valuable perspective based on a deep knowledge of the industry, and years of feedback from past clients.