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Composite Decking and Wood Floor Reviews: Pros and Cons

Saturday, December 04, 2021

When you’re planning your deck, one of the key choices you face is which type of decking material to use. Two common options are wood and wood-plastic composites. Whether you plan to do the work yourself or hire a contractor, this article will offer some help as regards what you need to consider when choosing material for your deck.

The popularity of composite decking has increased rapidly, which leads to a question for future deck owners—wood or composite decking? Although each material has its own pros and cons, the pros of composite material, apparently, largely outweigh its cons. Today, we’re going to look into composite decking vs. Wood and see how this battle unfolds.

Composite decking and wood floor|pros and cons|composite decking boards material

What are the wood options?

There are many wood species available for decking materials, including cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine. More premium options, i.e., hardwood species, also exist, and among them, the most popular ones are tiger wood, ipe, and mahogany. Here are some facts about each type of wood.

Pressure Treated Wood

Press-treated wood is made by soaking it with chemicals and then putting it under pressure so that the chemicals can permeate the entirety of the wood. These chemicals help resist rot and insects.

  • Press-treated wood, after the treatment, will have a green tint because of copper, a common element in the treatment.
  • Chemicals used in the treatment are toxic so you need to wear respirators when sanding and cutting.
  • Due to the high accessibility of pine, of which it is usually made, press-treated wood is readily available and largely affordable.
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Cedar Wood

  • Cedar wood is naturally resistant to rot and insects.
  • It boasts a bright tone, lasts long, and is easy to work with.

Hardwood

  • Hardwood, such as ipe and cumaru, is naturally resistant to rot and insect.
  • Due to its heaviness and density, hardwood is hard to work with and the installation requires frequent pre-drilling.
  • Hardwood is extremely expensive and the hardwood resources are depleting rapidly due to heavy deforestation.

What is composite decking?

First introduced in the late 1980s, WPC material, also known as Wood-plastic Composite, is made of wood powder, plastic, and other performance-optimizing additives. Now it’s gaining popularity rapidly and so many manufacturers specializing in this field are popping out, including Trex, TimberTech, COOWIN, etc. Most manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty.

Composite decking vs. wood

Many deck owners choose wood decking mostly because they are more familiar with it and wood decking is highly available and affordable. However, awaiting them are troublesome problems like splinters, rot, and high maintenance costs. Composite decking, on the other hand, may cost more at first but over time it’ll save you money due to its maintenance-free nature and high performance. Here’s a comparison between wood decking and composite decking from some of the most popular perspectives.

Composite vs. Wood: Aesthetics

Despite the fact that composite decking is free of those problems, some worry that it may not look as good as wood decking. The truth is that composite-producing technology has advanced so much in recent years that composites that have the rich and natural look and texture of wood are widely available now. Indeed, the early-generation composite decking usually looked artificial with a plastic feel, but well, it’s all in the past now. COOWIN® patented 3D Wood Grain, combined with Art Color, gives you a fresh experience of composite decking with a naturalistic wood feel.

Composite vs. Wood: Moisture-resistance

A major drawback of wood decking is that wood absorbs water. Without regular applications of stains, sealers, and paint, wood will suffer from problems like warping, splinters, cracking, and rotting. In contrast, composite decking is resistant to moisture, which enables deck owners to install composite decking in high-humidity environments.

Composite vs. Wood: Maintenance

In order to extend the lifespan of a wood deck, deck owners pay a high maintenance fee to regularly paint, stain, and seal wood decking. Composite decking, on the other hand, requires minimal to no maintenance, saving your cost as time goes by.

Composite vs. Wood: Splinter-resistance

Unlike wood that will inevitably splinter, composite decking is made of a unique blend of wood powder and plastic so it won’t splinter at all. This is crucial as wood splinters might hurt children and pets who have really sensitive feet.

Composite vs. Wood: Affordability

When it comes to affordability, wood decking is a clear winner. In most cases, the initial cost of wood decking is lower than composite decking. However, deck owners will find that the maintenance costs will gradually stack up and the overall cost will end up outweighing the initial cost of composite decking. Also, keep in mind that wood prices vary according to different wood species. Some wood species, e.g., ipe and tigerwood, cost far more than composite decking. Want to know more about the comparison of affordability between wood and composites? You can find out more in this article.

Composite vs. Wood: Workability

Both wood and composite material are easy to work with. They’re both easy to cut and fasten with common tools. One advantage that composite material has is that it’s easier to bent. You can simply heat them to form a curved shape.

Composite vs. Wood: Eco-friendliness

As an eco-friendly material, composite material is made of recycled wood powder and plastic and can be recycled again after being used up. In fact, COOWIN repurposes tons of waste plastic and wood powder every year to bring us a material that’s friendly to our planet. Wood decking, on the other hand, contributes to deforestation as it relies heavily on constant logging.

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