Composite decking VS wood decking

Despite my love for composite decking, other materials exist too, and you can use it for your own deck in your garden or nearby your swimming pool. But all materials are not similar and have specific uses or characteristics. This is why I’ve decided to create this comparison sheet so you can check what are the other possibilities and what you should use according to your needs. I will focus mostly on hardwood and softwood decking on this article.

EasyClean Terrain Birch composite decking in a garden

Composite decking VS wood decking

There are two types of wood used for decking: softwood and hardwood. Both have their own characteristics, but you can compare it easily to composite materials.


When you chose to use wood for your deck, you have to remove the knots which means a lot of wasted timber. It is time consuming and generates lots of waste. It is way easier to install a composite decking than a wood decking, plus it has no visible screws if you chose to use hidden fasteners.


Wood decking is way cheaper than composite decking when you initially build it. It’s a fact. But over time, the price tend up to get equally as wood requires much more maintenance than composite. If you plan to ask for professionals for the maintenance of your deck, the price will be the same over time. Wood is cheaper if you plan to do your maintenance by yourself.


It is a fact: composite decking requires a lot less maintenance than other types of materials. When using hardwood or softwood for your deck, you will have to clean it regularly, but also to oil, to sand and to paint it. Composite decking is way less costly to maintain.


 The main risks with decking are slippery when wet, gaps between the boards and cracks. Slippery isn’t really a problem with composite decking as it is made of wood and plastic, so it doesn’t absorb much water and consequently it dries fast. It doesn’t crack at all, and the gap between the boards is no more than 3-4 mm: lesser risk of children trapping their fingers between the gaps.


Wood decking tends to weather over time, sometimes even within a few months, meaning that you will have to clean it and re-oil it every few months. Composite decking is weather resistant and you won’t have to deal with these issues. A lot of manufacturers even offer warranties that lasts over several years. It is even more recommended to chose composite materials if you want to install your deck around your swimming pool, or if you live close to the sea.

Ecological impact

Wood comes from forests which gets destroyed to make boards for decks. Most of the time, tropical forests are used, which is a huge issue for our planet. On the other hand, composite is made of wood flour, which is created with recycled furniture, and polymer: no harm for the forests!

What should you consider before buying composite decking?

If composite decking has earned popularity among the years, it’s not without any reason! And for sure, its low maintenance need and great resistance makes a good material choice for outdoor living spaces. There’s lot of choice for composite materials, so make sure to check out these info to make sure you’re picking the right material for your project.

Reliaboard cedar composite decking with candles

  • Budget. Composite decking is expensive, so make sure you have a consequent budget for your project. If you have a smaller budget, consider a simple design without complex shapes or colours. You can also chose to use face screws, which are less costly than hidden fasteners. Be careful because your deck isn’t the only thing to consider in your budget: you must also include fasteners, trim boards, railing… Check out everything you’ll need so you won’t be surprised by additional costs.
  • Temperature. Avoid dark colours or heavy composite if you are putting your deck in a very sunny area. It will heat up. Prefer using light colours and materials if you are living in a warm area. The best thing to do is to ask samples to your manufacturer and to put them outside on a sunny day so you can see if it’s too hot or not.
  • Aspect. If you really want an authentic wood look, consider using wood for your deck. Remember that it will require way much more maintenance than using composite materials. If it is your priority you should consider it. You can also get very natural looking composite, with boards with unique wood grain but it is expensive.
  • Slippery. Some composite are anti-slip but not all of them. Please check out if yours is if you have to install it next to your swimming pool, your hot tub or your house entrance. Snow can make it slippery too, so be careful in rainy or snowy regions.
  • Visible fasteners. You can put either visible fasteners on your deck, or hidden ones. Notice that it’s way more expensive to chose hidden ones so consider it on your budget.
  • Legal aspect. Be careful of the materials you are allowed to use or not. Do not hesitate to call your local building officials to make sure that the type of materials you want to use is authorized. What you should know about is fastener spacing, specific framing or type of material authorized for your stairs (if you decide to install some).

Pros & cons of composite decking

Although I am a huge fan of composite decking, I had to make a small list of pros and cons about that type of materials if you are still not sure about what to use for your  own deck.

pros and cons of composite decking

+ Low maintenance. This is the top property of composite decking: compared to wood, it requires much lesser maintenance! Cleaning is required for sure, but you won’t spend your time cleaning and oiling your deck. So much time gained! If you want to check out how to clean your desk, click here. 

+ Long lifetime. You can expect to keep your deck for years if you take good care of it. Some manufacturers even offer a warranty for many years, so you can be sure you won’t have to replace it in five years.

+ Increased value of your house. Believe me, composite decking is definitely a great way to enhance the value of your house. Pick a non rectangular shape, make it like an extension of your house, and I guarantee you it will impact your house value in a positive way.

+ Weather resistant. If you live in a rainy area, or next to the sea, you can chose safely composite for your deck.

– Expensive. Because of its composition and the numerous steps to create composite materials, it is more expensive to set a composite decking rather than a wood decking. On the other hand, you won’t spend as much time and money as you would do for other materials decking on maintenance.

– It may look fake or cheap, so make sure to pick the right product when designing your deck!

– Composite planks are heavier than wood planks of the same size.

5 wonderful composite decking for your house

Across the web, I’ve found several composite deck ideas that could inspire you for your own composite decking. Either if you own a big or a small garden, a swimming pool or a roof terrace, you can use composite decking to create a long lasting outdoor space that will look beautiful for years. I have gathered these pictures of these gorgeous decks using only composite decking, so you can see all the possibilities with that fantastic material. It is especially appreciable that it hasn’t to be sealed or cleaned too often contrary to wood, so you can spend way more time appreciating your terrace than cleaning it.

Grey edeck in Newport

This beautiful deck in Newport really enhances the look of the garden and leaves a safe space to enjoy and appreciate a drink with your loved ones. The deck colour really gives an elaborate and classy aspect, and a little stair allows going to the garden backwards.

Cedar and grey edek - composite decking

A very nice and comfortable composite decking in Cardiff composed of edeck cedar and grey. You can easily decorate your deck with potted flowers, and create ground decorations by varying the shapes and colours of your deck, creating a unique design for your garden. Everything is possible! The only limit is your imagination.

Grey composite decking in Blackwood

Did you know composite decking is also a very good material for terraces? This magnificent deck ensures a calm retreat next to the green lands of Blackwood. Choosing a composite deck is a good idea for a terrace as it won’t warp or fade in the sun, and requires low maintenance so you can just sit and relax while enjoying your patio.

Vertigrain chesnut composite decking with swimming pool

Composite decking is also a great alternative for swimming pools. Resistant to water-flooring, it won’t rot and will allow you to keep an exquisite outdoor next to your swimming pool. Don’t forget to get a slippery resistant board so you can enjoy your pool safely and serenely. Plus, it also works very well with hot tubs, so if you are looking about what material you should use around your Jacuzzi, search no more!

EasyClean mocha composite decking with various shapes and height

Finally, this lovely composite decking uses several shapes and colours to create a very unique and sophisticated look. I wish I could spend few hours on that terrace with a good read and just enjoy peacefully this place! You can also vary height to fully personalize your deck. It’s definitely the best to set up various spaces and install some chairs, tables or sofas to fully relax and enjoy your time.