When it comes to composite or wood decking, many homeowners are considering building a new outdoor decking area and cannot decide between traditional wooden decking and the new revolutionary engineered composite decking types Teckwood has to offer.
You may have heard all the reasons why not to use timber, for example “You have to constantly maintain it” and “It is very slippy when wet especially in the winter”.
Do you want something better? Do you deserve something better?
Composite and timber are the most popular options for decking in the United Kingdom. Both materials offer their own benefits and come with specific drawbacks.
The right choice for your garden and family depends largely on your budget, how much time you will dedicate to maintaining it, how long you would like your deck to last and the overall look you are trying to create.
When evaluating wood decking versus composite decking, here are the key issues to consider:
Look and Feel
Both wood decking and composite decking come with a range of options and have their own benefits and drawbacks, depending on your taste. For instance there are many different wood species available for use as decking.
Common options that can be found in a Builders or a Timber Merchant include Cedar and pressure-treated Pine.
For homeowners interested in exotic wood species, tropical hardwood decking options include Iroko, Ipe and Mahogany.
Early generation composite decking tended to look artificial and plasticky, some modern composites are available with a variegated appearance, and randomized embossed grain pattern so no two boards are alike.
Composite decking is less slippery than timber and comes in a range of colours and finishes.
The finish is also considerably more consistent – every board of a composite deck is the same colour and texture, whereas timber decking can have colour variations due to the natural wood and knots.
Composite decking will keep the same look and colour for longer without the need for ongoing maintenance.
To extend the life of any type of wood decking, homeowners must regularly paint, stain or seal the decking to defend against moisture ingress and to maintain the subtle hues of the wood.
Composite decking on the other hand requires only a sweep or washing to keep the boards looking good.
The maintenance needed to maintain a traditional timber decking varies on the type of wood it is made from.
Treatments usually range from yearly re-oiling and re-finishing to re-painting; the long term costs of which can be huge when considering the materials involved can cost over £150 per treatment.
The lifetime cost of composite decking is undoubtedly lower.
A key wooden decking problem is that boards naturally absorb water. Without the regular application of stains, sealers or paint, wooden decking is susceptible to warping, splintering, cracking and rotting.
In contrast composite decking is almost fully moisture-resistant to the core, which allows it to be installed in high moisture conditions without decaying.
*For comparison prices the costs have been based on a 15sqm deck without subframe. The cost includes the price of decking boards, installation and cleaning materials needed for annual maintenance.
Nobody wants to slip on their deck and end up with a severe knee or hip injury. These accidental falls, especially among older people, can be serious, painful and expensive.
However, if you are planning to install a wooden deck or composite deck by the pool or if it frequently rains where you live, you first need to take into account the safety of your deck.
The main reason that wooden decking becomes slippery is the growth of algae, lichen, moss and mildew. Leaves that pile up and rotting vegetation are contributing factors that support the growth of algae or lichen.
These potential dangers might not be noticeable during dry weather but they become a hazard in damp or wet environments, making your deck very slippery.
During winters, snow that melts into water that freezes into ice can also turn your deck into a dangerous ice rink.
If you install composite decking you expect your decking to be anti-slip and be confident in the knowledge that algae will not grow on composite decking materials.
While this may be true, keep in mind that pollen, leaves, dirt, and other debris that fall onto the composite decking surface can become slippy when wet.
Installing a new deck is a big investment for many homeowners. Performing due diligence and research will help you get this right the first time around.
Friends and family will be spending considerable time almost all year-round socialising and relaxing on your deck, therefore spending a little extra time in making your decision makes sense.
Timber decking can last for quite a few years as long as it is maintained regularly, it can be sanded down and sections can even be replaced.
If you suffer from rot or fungus you can treat that specific area rather than having to change your entire deck.
Composite decking has the beauty and appeal of real wood without the drawbacks of having to maintain your decking area every year, it just needs to be cleaned occasionally and there is no need to treat or stain it to prevent moisture damage.
Unlike wooden decking which would have to be treated, composite decking is not prone to damage from termites and other wood-destroying insects.
All-wood decking will eventually splinter in all climates, Teckwood’s composite decking is made with FSC certified wood encased in plastic so it will not splinter.
This is especially important for walking on the deck barefoot and for children and pets whose feet are sensitive.
Timber decking is one of the most environmentally friendly materials you can use, you can easily source certified decking to minimise your impact on the environment further still.
If you choose hardwood decking you could aid deforestation and the loss of crucial habitats to wildlife. Composite decking is made from a mixture of plastic and wood fibres.
The wooden fibres are FSC certified and are recycled. Teckwood does supply composite decking where the plastic used is also recycled
Affordability is a decided benefit for wooden softwood decking which typically is a lower initial cost to purchase than composites, hardwood however could be substantially more.
Even though the initial cost of softwood decking is less, composite decking usually ends up paying for itself within 2-3 years of installation when taking into account the cost of annual maintenance.
The price differential also depends on the wood species chosen versus the brand of composite decking. Our easy to understand chart helps in the decision making process Wood or Composite Wood.
Both wood and composite decking is easy to cut and fasten using common tools most homeowners have.
One area where composites come out ahead is they can more easily be bent (by heating them) to form curved deck sections.
Ultimately the material choices are yours. If you would like a non-slip and very child-safe deck that only requires the minimum of maintenance then composite decking is the clear winner.
If you prefer a traditional look and natural feel then wood decking is probably the best option for you. Teckwood stocks a range of composite decking to suit any taste.
You can find all the help you need at 0800 799 9082.