Should I Use Composite Decking Or Wood Decking?
We strongly recommend composite decking to anyone building or renovating a deck. A deck isn’t a short-term purchase. We hope you’ll be enjoying your deck for decades to come - and over the long-term, composite decking will save you a huge amount of time and money.
Wood decking (typically a pressure-treated pine) is prone to water damage, rot, staining, splintering and damage from insects like termites. Exposure to harsh weather will wear down wood deck boards, requiring you to regularly inspect and replace worn-out boards and restain existing boards.
Composite decking is surrounded by a strong, weather-resistant shell that prevents rotting, splintering, staining, and damage from insects or water. Composite’s durability also means your deck will last longer, and the composite boards will hold their original color better than wood, which fades badly in direct sunlight.
Wood needs to be stained regularly, adding a recurring cost (and a recurring chore) to your deck. Low-maintenance composite decking never needs staining. That’s why we recommend composite boards and carry a wide selection of the top brands available.
What Are Composite Deck Boards Made Of?
Composite decking is made from natural wood fibers mixed with recycled plastics. This combination creates deck boards that look and feel like natural wood, but are far more durable and require less maintenance.
Most composite decking is made from recycled materials, giving you a beautiful natural look for your deck without contributing to deforestation.
How Much Does Composite Decking Cost?
Composite decking can vary in price depending upon the features you’re looking for. Composite deck boards may initially be more expensive than treated lumber, but require less maintenance costs over the lifetime of the deck.
For a better idea on the cost of your decking project, give us a call with your project’s measurements at 1-888-824-5316. Our team of deck project planners will get to know you and your priorities, then help walk you through various decking options to fit your project needs, timeline, and budget.
Is Composite Decking Worth The Money?
Composite deck boards will cost more than pressure-treated wood at the purchase, but composite decking ultimately costs less in the long run with lower maintenance costs and demands.
Wood decking requires you to buy and apply deck stain regularly, locking you in to regular payments and work hours to maintain your deck. Composite decking is more durable, longer-lasting, and never needs to be stained - not even once. We’ve done the math, and it doesn’t take long for the recurring costs of wood decking to balloon well past the original cost of composite decking.
Does Composite Decking Get Hot On Sunny Days?
Just like wood or other materials, composite decking can absorb heat when it’s in direct sunlight, making it hard to walk barefoot on a hot day, though composite manufacturers keep finding new ways to make their boards less heat-absorbent. If your deck is in direct sunlight, we recommend choosing a lighter color - light grays and light browns tend to absorb less heat from the sun compared to darker shades.
Does Building A Deck Increase The Value Of My Home?
Yes! Having a functional deck gives a solid boost to your home’s value. When properly built and maintained, decks effectively add square footage to your house, extending your indoor living space to the outdoors. You can add even more usable outdoor living space by installing an underdeck system, a screen porch, or a pergola.
What’s The Difference Between Composite And PVC Decking?
While composite decking is a mixture of natural wood and plastic, PVC decking is 100% plastic material.
Composite decking will have a more authentic wood feel and won’t expand or contract as much with temperature changes. It also provides slightly better traction underfoot to prevent slips.
PVC decking is even more resistant to mold and mildew than composite boards. That makes PVC a great option near lakes, pools, or oceans, where water exposure can wear on decking faster. PVC decking is also lighter-weight and doesn’t retain as much heat - while it can still get hot in the sun, it’ll cool down much faster than composite.
What’s The Difference Between Mineral-Based Composite And Wood-Plastic Composite Decking?
Some brands, like Deckorators, offer two different types of composite deck boards. Wood-plastic composite is traditional composite material made of wood fibers and recycled plastic. Mineral-based composite (sometimes called MBC) is an enhanced version of PVC decking made from the highest-quality materials. Mineral-based composite boards have even less thermal expansion and contraction than PVC boards. They’re also typically thinner and lighter than composite boards, because at just 7/8 of an inch, an MBC board can deliver the same strength as a one-inch-thick composite board.
What’s The Difference Between Scalloped-Bottom Deck Boards And Solid-Bottom Deck Boards?
Deck boards typically feature solid bottoms - a flat surface underneath your deck boards and a consistent thickness across the board. These are the strongest boards. Many brands also offer a line of scalloped-bottom deck boards, which feature long ridges or grooves underneath. With less composite material used, scalloped boards are usually lighter and a bit less expensive than solid-bottom boards.
Which Brand Of Composite Decking Is Best?
At DecksDirect, we don’t carry deck products we don’t believe in. Because of that, our selection is a good list of the best composite decking brands available, including Trex, TimberTech, Deckorators, Fiberon, Envision, and Barrette (formerly called DuraLife). Each brand has multiple decking lines to fit your desired style and budget.
Where Should I Buy Composite Decking?
There are three reasons you should only buy your deck materials through DecksDirect:
- Get Real Service: We have a team of deck enthusiasts waiting by the phone to help plan your project. When you call DecksDirect, you don’t get a robotic phone tree or a pushy salesperson. You reach a real person who cares about getting to know you and then building you a deck project plan that fits your needs, timeline and budget.
- Get It Completely Fast: We ship 99.5% of our orders the same day they’re placed, and we can reach most of the United States in three days or less. Don’t delay your project - we’ll make sure you stay on timeline!
- Get The Largest In-Stock Selection: We have the biggest in-stock selection anywhere. Period. Get the most options of decking lines, colors and finishes, and don’t worry about waiting on back-ordered products.
You can always order online, or you can call us at 1-888-824-5316 and talk to a trained deck project planner. When you call DecksDirect, you reach a real person with a real passion for decking - not a robot or an automated system.
Is Wood Framing Or Steel Framing Best For My Deck?
As low-maintenance, long-lasting decking materials like composite and PVC have moved into the spotlight, a new problem has emerged: durable deck boards are now outlasting the cheap wood framing beneath them. The solution: steel deck framing, which brings deck framing into the same durable, low-maintenance territory that has become the norm in decking.
If you’re looking to build your deck for the long-term, steel framing is a big upgrade over wood. Fortress Evolution Steel Deck Framing is a light gauge steel framing system that’s stronger and more durable than wood. Wood framing is vulnerable to water damage, rot, insects and fire. Steel framing has none of those problems, and is aesthetically pleasing to boot.
How Do I Make My Deck Safe From Fire?
Combining Fortress Evolution Steel Framing with composite decking is a great way to build your deck for fire safety. Fortress Framing is Class A fire-safety rated, the best fire safety rating in the building materials industry. Many composite decking lines are also class B fire-safety rated.
Can I Combine Two Different Colors Of Composite Deck Boards On My Deck?
Absolutely! There’s no shortage of ways to make your deck unique. You can combine multiple colors of decking in unique deck board patterns for an especially eye-catching deck. One popular technique is to put a different color of decking around the outside of your deck. This pattern is called picture-framing or race-tracking.
Can I Curve Composite Deck Boards?
You can create unique deck patterns by curving or bending composite deck boards. First, you’ll heat the deck boards, then bend them to the angle you need. If you’re interested in curving deck boards, we’d recommend giving our team a call at 1-888-824-5316 to help you draw up the perfect plan for your dream deck.
How Do I Install Deck Boards?
Whether you’re an experienced DIYer or new to deck projects, you can install your own deck boards with the right guidance. At DecksDirect, we don’t just sell deck parts. We build deck projects and guide you through the process from learning to buying to install to long-term maintenance.
You can find installation guides (like this one, for Trex decking) in our Knowledge Builders section. You can also find product-specific installation instructions on each of our product pages. Our deck project planners are always available by phone to help guide you through the steps of installation. Give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 and learn just how easy it is to install your own decking!
How Do I Hide The Screws While Installing Decking?
There are two main methods for installing decking without visible screws on the surface. You could use hidden deck fasteners, which fit in between your boards and securely fasten boards to your deck frame. Keep in mind that if you use hidden fasteners, you’ll want to buy grooved-edge deck boards.
The second option is to use deck board plug systems. With decking plugs, you sink screws through the top of your deck boards and fit a plug on top of the screwhead to fill the hole. We carry plugs made from the same exact material as most decking brands and finishes, so your plugs will exactly match the color and texture of your deck boards.
What’s The Difference Between Grooved Edge Deck Boards And Square Edge Deck Boards?
Grooved edge boards feature a long ridge or groove cut into the long edges of the deck board. Grooved edge boards are designed for use with hidden deck fasteners. Traditional square edge boards are for use with other fasteners or in places where the edge of the deck board will be visible, like the outsides of your deck, stair treads, or drink rails.
Do I Have To Stain Composite Deck Boards?
No. Unlike wood, composite decking never requires staining or sealing.
How Do I Clean Composite Deck Boards?
Cleaning composite deck boards is a breeze. All it takes is three simple steps:
- Sweep off your deck surface to clear debris like leaves or pine needles.
- Brush your deck with warm, soapy water and a soft-bristle brush
- Rinse your deck surface with fresh, clean water.
That’s it! There’s no heavy cleaning required.
You can watch this video for more details on how to clean your deck.