Composite Vs. Wooden Decking: What Are The Key Differences?

Composite Vs. Wooden Decking: What Are The Key Differences

Over the past few years, there have been many questions about composite decking. From the appearance, durability, and how composite compares to traditional wooden decking. While some people prefer the authentic appearance of regular wood grain, composite decking has become more popular in recent years.

One of the reasons for this is that it is a more environmentally friendly material in comparison to regular wood for decking. Below is a brief look into the key differences between composite and wooden decking.

What Is Wooden Decking?

Wooden decking is the more traditional approach, and it has been around for much longer than composite materials. Redwood, cherry, oak, mahogany, and more can create an interesting finish and a welcoming outdoor environment on your property.

What Is Composite Decking?

Composite decking is made using any kind of wood, a binding agent, and plastic. The combination of materials reinforces the decking strips that will last for many years. There are many style choices, including some with the appearance of natural wood grain.

This material is also more lightweight than traditional wooden panels for decking. This makes it easier to install and add to any external area of the home.


One of the most important differences between composite and wooden decking is the level of maintenance to keep each material in good condition. Unlike composite decking with excellent performance, wooden decking needs to be taken care of more consistently.

Every season, wooden decking owners will need to protect the wood from mold build-up, fading from UV exposure, and warping. This is done using chemical treatments, sealants, and paint in some cases.

In order to keep wooden decking looking brand new, there is a little more maintenance necessary compared to composite decking. Composite decking typically comes with UV protective treatment already applied.

It is also less likely to warp or mold, due to the combination of materials. This means that you will only need to clean composite decking with soap and water when necessary.


Another key difference between composite and wooden decking is how durable each material is, and how long they last. The estimated lifespan of wooden decking varies significantly depending on how much maintenance is being done on a regular basis.

For example, wooden decking that is being protected every season and kept clean can last as long as 25 years. On the other hand, composite decking is estimated to last upwards of 50 years. This is because of the materials that strengthen the decking, and the weatherproofing that can be seen in all forms of composite decking.


The main drawback of composite decking is that they typically cost more to manufacture. Although the combination of materials is likely to save money in the long run by not needing any maintenance, it is worth knowing that composite decking can be a little pricey at first to produce and install.

On the other hand, wooden decking can be a more affordable option if you choose a readily available material. However, there are regular costs that come from keeping the decking in good condition. In this sense, composite decking is worth spending a little more on during the initial purchase.


During icy weather and heavy rainfall, it’s important to beware that decking can become very slippery. In turn, this increases the risk of severe injuries to those who are more prone to falling. Wood decking is more likely to become hazardous because it can freeze over faster.

Composite decking can come with slip-proof coating, which allows another element of safety to this material. Consider using composite decking if you are concerned about the risk of falling during heavy rain, or icy conditions.

Environmental Impact

Additionally, composite decking does not require as much fuel or other resources to produce as wooden decking does. This is because it is made by recycling plastic and wood.

While both forms of decking are environmentally friendly as they use wood from sustainable sources, composite decking is often a better option. This is due to the use of recycled materials to make it.


Both composite and wooden decking can be used to create unique outdoor areas for entertainment, dining, or relaxing. Each material has a selection of unique qualities, and it is important to consider your personal style choice, preferences, and what type of qualities you want out of decking.

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