Composite vs Wood Decking: What Are the Differences?

Did you know that more than 2 million decks are built or replaced each year in North America? The big dilemma that many homeowners face when the time comes to get a new deck is deciding between composite vs. wood decking. Wood decking is the traditional option, and many people prefer the look of a wood deck as opposed to composite decking.

That said, composite decking brings some serious benefits to the table that wood decking can’t compete with. It’s important that you know the ins and outs of all of your options before you decide on the decking material that you wish to go with.

Luckily, you’re in the perfect place to learn all about composite vs. wood decking from this helpful composite decking guide. Keep reading to learn about composite decking and wood decking today!

What Is Wood Decking?

Wood decking is the traditional option that many homeowners choose to go with when it comes time to get a new deck for their homes. There are many different species of wood that you can use for your wood decking needs and each has different characteristics that make it effective as a wooden deck.

The most popular types of wood for building a wooden deck are cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine wood. If you want to give your home’s deck a special or unique look then there are many great tropical wood options that you can use. Tigerwood is a great option, as is Ipe Decking.

What Is Composite Decking?

Composite decking is a great alternative to wood decking, especially for homeowners that don’t want to dedicate many hours of their lives to maintaining their home’s deck. This decking option has been around since the 1980s, but it gets a bad rap because of the appearance of the earlier forms of composite decking. 

This option for your home’s deck is made from pieces of wood that are encapsulated by plastic for an eco-friendly option that will stand up to the elements. You’ll find plenty of composite decking material at any big box store in your area. Many homeowners are starting to look at composite decking as the perfect answer to their home’s decking needs.

Pros and Cons: Composite vs. Wood Decking

No matter what your preference is for your home’s next deck, you need to understand the pros and the cons of both of your options.  Getting a new deck is a big investment, so it’s worth putting time and energy toward doing your own research. If you don’t have the time to handle plenty of maintenance then some decking options might be better than others for your situation.

Here’s a closer look at the best and worst of composite vs. wood decking for your home.

The Looks

The first forms of composite decking weren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but the modern evolution of this decking option looks much more like traditional wood. The grains and patterns are made to prevent one board from looking like another, creating a much more natural appearance for your home’s deck.

Choosing to go with wood decking is great if you crave that traditional look for your home. All you’ll need to do is determine the type of wood that you want to use for your new deck and then get the process of the building started.


One of the big cons of going with wood decking for your home is the impact that moisture has over long periods of time on wood. Wooden boards have a habit of absorbing large amounts of water if you don’t take the time to stain or seal your deck’s boards. The more that your home’s wooden deck absorbs water the higher the odds are of cracking and splintering boards.

Going with composite decking eliminates this issue since the composite boards are sealed with plastic, preventing water from infiltrating the wood fibers. You can install a composite deck at your home with no worries about the deck rotting or decaying in the future.


Another big pro in favor of composite decking is the maintenance aspect. If you choose to go with a traditional wooden deck option for your home then you need to be prepared to put in the work to maintain it. You’re signing up for the regular painting, staining, and sealing of your wooden deck.

You can eliminate all of that extra work merely by using a composite decking guide to pick your next deck’s materials. You will save hours of hard labor in your life by choosing to go with composite decking rather than a wooden deck option.

Insect Damage

Wooden decks also bring other issues to the table, like pests that enjoy chomping on your wood. Most types of wood are quite vulnerable to insects like termites that will severely decrease the years that your deck is in sturdy condition.

You can eliminate the threat of insects and other pests to your home’s deck when you choose to go with composite decking. Your composite decking will handle termites with no issue.


The biggest thing that wood decking has going for it compared to composite decking is the price. Wood decking is a cheaper alternative, which is great if you’re someone that is set on getting a wood deck for the appearance and feeling that it provides.

That said, you need to consider the trade-off of your time and energy that goes into maintaining your wood decking. Composite decking tends to pay for itself since it doesn’t require any maintenance beyond cleaning it once or twice each year.

Start Shopping for Your Home’s New Deck Today

Shopping for your home’s new deck is an exciting experience, but you need to know the differences between composite vs. wood decking before you make any big decisions. Wood decking is great if you want the traditional wood look and feel but you’ll need to do some serious maintenance to keep it pristine. Composite decking costs more but requires close to zero maintenance and looks great.

For more helpful and enlightening articles like this one, check out the rest of our website!