Decking… Composite Vs. Pressure Treated Lumber

Decking: Pressure Treat Lumber
Decking: Composite

Let's Talk About Pressure Treat...

Wood is the original and most common choice for decking. It is durable, economical and lasts for decades if properly maintained.

The vast majority of decks are made with Southern yellow pine, a cheaper wood that is pressure treated to prevent weather damage, rotting and insect damage. Higher-quality woods such as cedar and redwood don’t require any type of pre-treatment because they contain natural preservatives.

Pressure Treat Pros:

  • Look – A wood deck appears authentic because it is authentic. It looks, feels and smells like real wood. Most people consider a wood deck more attractive than composite.
  • Price – Wood decking generally costs less than composite. Pressure-treated pine sells for about half the price, while premium woods like cedar and redwood cost slightly less than composite.
  • Lifespan – Decks constructed using high-quality wood can last 40 years or more with regular maintenance. Although many manufacturers claim composite can last that long or longer, the product hasn’t been around long enough to know for sure.

Pressure Treat Cons:

  • Maintenance – Most decks need to be sanded, thoroughly cleaned and stained or sealed about every two to five years (depending on the type of stain and weather conditions). Left untreated, wood decking will fade and eventually rot.
  • Wear and tear – There’s always the possibility that your deck will splinter or warp, particularly in harsh climates. Pressure-treated woods are particularly susceptible to warping.

What About Composite...

Composite is a manmade decking product that has gained popularity over the last decade. It is manufactured using a combination of wood fiber and plastic. The planks are designed to look like wood, although most people can tell the difference between natural wood and composite. Even with a composite deck, the load-bearing supports are made of natural wood because it is sturdier.

Composite Pros:

  • Maintenance – Composite requires far less maintenance. It never needs sanding, sealing or staining. However, it does need to be cleaned several times a year to remain in good condition.
  • Durability – Composite is stain-resistant and holds up to harsh weather. It will not splinter or rot.
  • UV resistance – Composite decks will not fade or lighten over time like natural wood. They retain the original color for many years.

Composite Cons:

  • Not real wood – Some composite decking looks cheap and not at all like real wood (other composite looks great, though – brand matters). The artificial surface can also be slippery.
  • Quality concerns – Composite is a relatively new product, so questions have been raised about its long-term durability. These questions won’t be fully answered until the product has been available for decades.
  • Can’t be refinished – You can’t refinish or repair a composite deck when it starts to show signs of wear and tear. The only option is to replace it.

A Pro's Thought!

Tyler Home LLC, is a construction company in Wichita, KS.  Their thoughts:

Pressure treated lumber is a commonly utilized in our market.  Especially in new home builds.  However, in our market you’ll see a lot of home owners that replace their decks with a composite decking.  Over the years composite decking has continued to improve in it’s quality and durability, thus making it more popular.  The low level maintenance for composite decking is quickly giving the return on the initial cost for the deck itself.   We tend to recommend using composite decking for the actual deck and then, to help reduce the project cost utilize pressure treated lumber for the railing.  We also recommend staining or painting the railings of your new deck.  

How Can Build Hero Help?

Build Hero will allow contractors or suppliers the ability to give options to their customers.  Besides just giving options, Build Hero offers many additional features to help improve the bid process.

  1. Save Templates: Build Hero will allow you to create and edit bid templates.  Allowing you to bid quicker.
  2. Turn On/Off Options: Build Hero will give real live up to date totals by simply clicking the item(s) that the person would like to turn on/off.  
  3. Square Foot Price:  Easily create formulas to show the square footage price of the item. 
    1. For Instance: $35sq ft * 100sq ft

*These are just a few ways Build Hero helps to make easier remodel projects happen!