How do composite decks compare to wood decks?
Design and photo courtesy of Paul Lafrance Design
Happy Spring everyone and welcome to warmer weather!! At Least, it should be warmer. Gotta love this Canadian weather. Any-who….Today we’re talking about decks—surprise, surprise!
One thing we’ve always had questions about are whether or not composite decks are all their cracked up to be. In short, they are. So you can stop reading. If you want to know the differences and how certain materials hold up to one another then definitely keep on reading cause we’ll let you in on some secrets along the way.
Should I go with a composite or wood deck?
The simple answer is, it depends. Living up in the great white North a lot of people can get away with using wood for the most part because of the predictable weather. That, matched with our somewhat tame summers makes it pretty easy for you to put together a nice pressure treated deck without having to worry too much about humidity eating away at your new masterpiece. That, and swelling or movement of the boards is reduced quite a bit when temperatures are more mild.
For our friends down south who live in more humid climates where the sun is relentless and constantly beating down on it, this can have some negative impacts. In these cases it may be better to go with a composite material to create your work of art.
The folks over at Great Day Improvements said it best in this definition.
“Composite decking typically consists of some type of plastic material, such as polyethylene and/or polyvinyl chloride, and wood particles. The plastic may be from recycled products, like milk jugs and soda bottles, or it might be made of virgin plastic.”
Is wood that bad?
We’ve been building decks (among other things) since we could put on our own clothes and we’ve seen lots of amazing decks made out of all sorts of materials. To this day we are still so impressed by a lot of the decks we’ve seen and built and how they have stood up to the elements. Here’s the kicker though. Each year, without fail we see boards splitting, shifting and stain on those boards even fading. It’s a matter of time really and if you’re okay with the upkeep then all the power to you! If you have gone or plan on going the wood route it’s basically expected that each year you inspect your deck, apply stain or your protective coating to keep up with the elements.
No, it really is that good! There have been so many advancements in technology that unless you’re on a tight budget it doesn’t make sense to not go this route. These things are built to last and have everything you need on board that basically guarantees there is no upkeep. Step one, build deck, step two, enjoy deck for years to come. Now, of course there are several steps in between that are vital to the actual planning, cutting, building and assembling your new deck but we handle all that stuff so you don’t need to.
Yeah but this sounds expensive
They are. A lot of the times composite material can cost up to three times as much as your standard Home Depot pressure treated lumber but when you outweigh the costs of upkeep over the next 10-20 years, this pays for itself by year 5, at the latest! Everything from the lumber itself, to paint (or stain), screws that rust out and wear down, the sander you’ll need to rent from Home Depot and squeeze into your Toyota Tercel, that entire Saturday and Sunday spent sanding and restaining and then there is the inevitable replacing of those deck boards. Nothing is worse than splitting boards on the deck you’ve already spent so much time and money on.