Natural vs Composite Wood – What’s the Big Difference?

A new deck is an excellent addition for your home. It can add significant curb appeal, boost the property’s value, and give you a beautiful new space for creating memories with family and friends. But when it comes to the installation process, how can you know which decking material is the right choice for you? Should you go with composite wood or natural wood? Here at DeckSource, we’ve got years of experience in the decking installation business. We’ll explain the significant differences between natural wood vs. composite lumber for your new deck.

But first, you should be aware that all new decks use treated lumber for the framing. The framing is the part of the deck that you don’t see unless you go underneath it. But when it comes to the railings, the steps, and the overall surface of the deck that you’ll actually see and use, that’s where we run into some significant differences between composite deck boards and natural wood deck boards.

What is composite wood?

Composite wood is man-made material that includes composites, PVC, and vinyl from many different, reputable manufacturers such as Trex decking.

What types of natural wood do people use for decks?

The most popular wood products for decks are treated lumber and cedar. But you can also install redwoods and hardwoods too, like tiger wood and jatoba.

Why would someone choose natural wood over composite wood deck boards for their deck?

Most new decks built today are made out of natural wood, because the initial upfront costs of installing a wood deck are much lower than a composite wood deck.

Why would someone choose to install composite deck boards?

Composite wood is a little pricier to install, but it requires minimal maintenance, unlike natural wood. Plus, composite Trex decking will last longer than natural wood, even if a natural wood deck is diligently maintained and treated. So, Trex decking costs and prices, and natural wood maintenance, are the most significant differences between these two deck materials.

What deck material is the best choice for you?

Choosing a deck material will depend on many different, personal factors. Your budget will be a big factor in choosing natural wood vs. composite Trex deck boards for your deck. How much maintenance you can reasonably expect to perform will be another huge factor in your decision. How often you will use the deck, if the deck gets a lot of sun or shade, and whether or not you’re going to hire out maintenance costs or do it yourself will all factor into the final decision of what material you’ll install.

Although the initial installation price for a wood deck is going to be much cheaper than a composite Trex deck, the actual cost to maintain a wood deck throughout its lifetime will be about the same as installing a composite deck. If you do a lot of the repairs, resealing, pressure washing, and staining the deck yourself, then a wood deck will still be cheaper. But if these maintenance tasks are things you can’t do yourself, hiring out the work will cost you a bit more, putting your lifetime wood deck costs closer to the cost of a composite deck installation.

The question of whether or not you should install wood or composite decking are endless. It’s a good idea to speak to an experienced deck installation contractor in your area to explore your options.