NATURAL WOOD VS COMPOSITE DECKING
When it comes to building your own deck at home, you really can’t use just any old lumber that you pick up at the store. First and foremost, all lumber used in deck framing must be treated. While many prefer to use treated lumber for the entirety of their deck project, at a minimum it must be used in the framing, which is the structural foundation of the deck that can typically only be seen from underneath. When it comes to filling in the decking surface, the part that will be seen and admired by you and your guests, you have two options: natural wood or composite.
While it may initially seem like you are very limited by only having the two options, remember that within each category you have countless varieties. Natural wood is most commonly used, but composite materials, which are manmade, have their own advantages and disadvantages as well.
Treated lumber tends to be the more popular option in decking but this is mostly due to the initial cost savings during installation. The material needed for a treated lumber deck will typically cost you between $5,000 and $7,000 depending on the size and exact type of wood you choose, while the same materials for a composite deck can cost you nearly twice that. However, in the end the costs may be somewhat comparable, as wood decks are more expensive to maintain and require regular professional service.
As mentioned, natural wood decks can be much more costly to maintain in order to keep them looking beautiful year after year. They will need to be resealed and restained from time to time, at least every few years, in addition to having any damage that occurs addressed, such as chipping or warping. In between these treatments, you’ll likely need to pay for power washing or other professional deck cleaning services of some kind. Composite decks, on the other hand, are not completely maintenance-free, as they are still at risk for warping, molding, and fading over time. They also need to be professionally cleaned periodically and mold and mildew-resistance treatments may need to be applied.
When it comes to durability, composite decks do have a clear advantage over natural wood, as they can last more than twenty-five years, while natural wood typically will not hold up well past ten or fifteen. Furthermore, the materials used in some composite decking are eco-friendly and toxin-free, meaning you don’t have to worry about any longterm impacts on the environment either. In fact, using eco-friendly composite decking prevents deforestation as well and makes use of leftover lumber scraps. As an added benefit, eco-friendly composite decking does not contain the same toxins that are usually found in treated lumber.
If you are in the Miami area and are taking on a home decking project but are unsure where to start, feel free to contact the experts at Shell Lumber & Hardware by calling (305) 856-6401. With the biggest selection of natural wood and composite decking options available in South Florida, we have everything you need to get your home improvement project started today.