Wood versus Composite Decking

composite wood deck fairfield

It’s time to upgrade your deck and deliberate all your options. 

Do you want to go for wood or for composite decking? 

If you are torn between these two options, we will help you review the differences between wood and composite decking. We will also tackle their advantages and disadvantages and provide a quick overview of each material. 

Wood Decking

Wood is a conventional material used for decks. Hardwood decking gives homeowners natural warmth and glow. 

Wood decking materials come from natural wood and high-quality materials—mostly lumberyards cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated pine lumber. 


Also, several types of woods (mainly softwoods) make an economical decking option. Other types of wood, including ipé, can be costly and wood must be maintained and well cared for to prevent peeling, cracking, and discoloration.

Composite Decking

Developed in the late 1980s, wood-plastic composite decking, also known as “composite wood decking”, is built from wood fibers coated in plastic. Composite decking is mostly available at the national chain home improvement stores, as well as at local lumber yards.

As more contractors and homeowners discover the problems that come with wood decking, many are switching to high-performance composite decking instead.

The Advantages of Wood Decking

● Wood is an affordable choice.

● Wood is reliable and durable enough for structural support.

● Wood is a renewable resource that is organically recyclable and biodegradable.

The Disadvantages of Wood Decking 

● Wood is prone to splintering, dry rotting, cracking, and termite infestations. 

● Wood needs varnishing and sealants from time to time to preserve and maintain its natural look. 

● Wood demands a lot of effort and resources to keep it in good condition. 

● Price varies from its origin. 

● Wood cuttings come from forestries and natural habitats, which harms the environment. 

The Advantages of Composite Decking

● Composite and plastic decks do not require sanding and varnishing.

● Synthetic decks do not need as much maintenance compared to wood decking.

● Composite lumber is resistant to rotting, insects, and UV rays. 

● Plastic decking is assembled using recycled materials.

● Available in a variety of colors. 

The Disadvantages of Composite Decking

● More expensive than wood.

● Composite decking is prone to molds in colder areas.

● More susceptible to grease and oil stains (something to keep in mind when stationing your BBQ)

● Synthetic materials aren’t environment-friendly and will remain in landfills eventually.

● The color fades away in time when exposed to the sun.

How Much Are You Willing To Spend For Your Deck? 

Is composite decking better than wood? 

The primary disadvantage to composite decking is that it is more expensive than wood. Composite decking can cost you around $30-$60 per square foot, while wood would only cost you around $23-$42 per square foot. 

Due to the advantages that come with composite decking— low maintenance, high durability, and long-lasting material—the cost of composite decking can be quickly regained in time, which will also save you more money from in the long run. 

If you want to stick to your budget, then a wooden deck is your best option.

The cheapest pressure-treated pine deck per square foot is almost half the price of the cheapest composite deck. High-end wood such as cedar and redwood also are at a relatively low price than composite decking. 

The Bottom Line | Ludlow Deck Builders

Your deck material will ultimately boil down to your preferences, budget, and time allotment for maintaining your deck. If a maintenance-free option is what you want, go for composite decking. 

If you wish for a better appeal, even if it means spending more money, opt for wood decking. If managing the expenses lower is your priority, then pressure-treated lumber is the best option for you. 

For more insights on wood and composite decking, contact our experts from Ludlow Deck Builders. We are happy to discuss with you your deck options!