Composite decks have become increasingly popular recently, especially with the lower availability and rising price of wooden decking. But the question is always asked, “Is the extra investment in composite decking materials really worth the money?” So, let’s take a closer look at composites and then you decide.
What is Composite Decking?
Most composite decks are made from a combination of wood by-products for the core and recycled plastics for the surface, creating a durable material similar to wooden decking. They offer the look and feel of wood without the need for constant maintenance. Brand names include Trex, TimberTech, DuraLife, and Envision, and each have their own source material combinations and qualities, color and finish options, and warranties.
Pros of Composite Decks
Maintenance & Durability: The main benefit of composite decking is its durability. All are manufactured to resist staining, fading, warping, and scratching. They are easy to clean, resist mold, and handle high traffic with ease. They are also low-maintenance – spilled food and drinks can simply be hosed off, there is no need to paint, treat, or stain regularly like with wooden decks, and the planks resist insects and weather minimizing the need for replacement. And because of this durability, most manufacturers offer lengthy warranties.
Sustainability: For the environmentally conscious, composite decks offer the look of wood without the need for cutting down trees. The core is usually made by compressed discarded wood scraps and sawdust and the surface area with recycled household plastic waste. Trex, for example, boasts that their decking is made from 95% recycled materials.
ROI: Because of the long life and low maintenance of composite decks, they offer a greater appeal to potential home buyers compared to wooden decks. In fact, according to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report by Zonda, composite decks recoup 58.8% of their value upon resale in the Philadelphia area.
Cons of Composite Decks
The main concern with composite decks vs. wood is cost – it can be around 15-20% more expensive than pressure treated wood – so you need to weigh how much low maintenance and durability is worth to you. And, as much as manufacturers try to mimic the look and feel of wood, it’s not. If you insist on the natural beauty of wood, then composite is not for you.
If you need help deciding if composite decking is right for you and your family’s needs, feel free to contact us at (215) 259-3398. Our in-home consultant comes prepared with an extensive material and labor database that can generate a quote within minutes all on their tablet.