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Wood vs Composite For Your Deck or Patio

When building a patio or deck, choosing a suitable material is the key to success. There are a variety of materials on the market, but most homeowners in Chattanooga end up on the fence between composite and wood decking.

We want to help you pick the best material for your property, so we created a short comparison between the two. Here is what you should know:

The difference between wood and composite decking

Wood is the first decking material and has an aesthetic appeal like no other. Because wood decking is made of natural wood, it is vulnerable to insects and rot, so you will need to clean and maintain it regularly.

For this reason, manufacturers got the idea to create a material that has wood’s visual appeal but is more durable. That is why in the 80s, they mixed plastic with wooden scraps and created a wood composite.

Wood Decking Pros and Cons

As we already mentioned, wood decking is made of natural wood and is 100% recyclable. Another one of its major advantages is that it remains cool during warm weather. This means you can walk barefoot in the summer without worrying about burns. The next advantage of natural wood is style versatility. You can choose between various types of natural wood. The most popular options are cedar, redwood, and pine. But, for those with a taste for unique materials, we recommend ipe, mahogany, or tigerwood.

The performance varies from one natural wood to another. For example, cedar is more durable than pine. However, whichever type of wood you install, you will need to maintain and clean it regularly. This includes resealing, staining, sanding, and repainting once every few years. If you avoid maintenance, you are opening the possibility of rot, discoloration, cracking, and fading.

Composite Decking Pros and Cons

Natural wood decking has an expected lifespan of 10 to 30 years, while high-quality composite decks can last over 50 years without any need for repair. To put the cherry on top, composite decking isn’t vulnerable to rot, insects, splintering, stains, and fading. Of course, it can get discolored when exposed to sunlight, but you can stain or repaint it to return its original look.

The biggest disadvantage of composite decking is that it’s not 100% natural, and it’s a bit more expensive. However, if you purchase natural wood, you will spend a lot more on maintenance, so the cost between composite and natural wood evens out at the end. Some other notable disadvantages of composite decking are:

• Sagging and bending
• A lower visual appeal than natural wood
• Its surface heats a lot in summer
• It can be slippery


Both wood and composite decking have their pros and cons, so in the end, your choice will depend on your needs and preferences. For example, if you want to walk barefoot on your patio or deck in the summer, we recommend natural wood. But, if you don’t want to be bothered with maintenance, it’s best you install composite decking.

Whatever you choose, always collaborate with reputable manufacturers, and certified and experienced contractors. After you get these things straight, the rest will come easy.

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