dark grey composite decking

The lifetime value of composite decking vs timber decking

When choosing new decking, whether that be PVC, wood composite or timber, you will probably consider price, look, and quality before making your choice. However, we would also recommend giving some thought to the lifetime value and cost of your new decking. For example, how long is your new decking supposed to last; what maintenance it requires; and does it come with a warranty, are all questions that will help you determine the longevity of your chosen decking and what you can expect throughout its lifetime.

Decking substructure - Finding the right foundation

When installing new decking, it is always a good idea to start from the bottom up. A solid foundation will ensure your decking is correctly supported and safe, whilst providing longevity. The two main material options for your substructure are wood composite or timber.

Timber is the traditional choice, but it will require a protective treatment before your decking is placed on top. Over time this treatment will diminish, and the timber may rot and splinter which could affect the integrity of your decking – and applying another coat of treatment can be tricky, or impossible, once your decking is in place! Eventually, your substructure may need to be replaced to keep your decking safe underfoot.

The alternative is wood composite. A wood composite substructure will require no treatments, and will not rot, splinter, or warp over time, lasting far longer than its timber counterpart. In turn, it will provide a solid, durable substructure for your decking, negating the need to replace either the substructure or the decking for a very long time.

A decking dilemma – making the right choice

Once you’ve chosen and installed your foundation, you can move on to your deck boards. As with the substructure, the material you chose will determine the lifetime of your decking. 

Timber decking and wood composite are now comparable in price, meaning your initial outlay will be very similar for both. However, the money you spend throughout the decking’s lifetime will differ.

Timber decking looks beautiful but can be very high maintenance. It will require regular treatments to keep it looking its best, but even then, it can rot, fade, splinter, and warp over time, making it unsafe and uncomfortable to walk on. Boards may also need replacing after a few years – a cost you should factor into your initial budget.

Wood composite has all the beauty of timber, but is virtually maintenance-free, does not warp, splinter, or rot and is slip resistant. Combined, all these features make for a very long-lasting and durable decking option, which will not need to be replaced for a very long time.

Composite decking v timber decking - Managing maintenance costs

When considering which decking option to choose, it is important to research the maintenance each requires. For example, wood composite decking requires very little maintenance. It does not need any treatments or paints to protect it from the elements or make it look attractive, and it only requires an occasional wash with warm water to keep it looking its best.

Timber, on the other hand, needs regular treatments to safeguard it from the weather, which takes both time and money. Your timber decking will also need to be regularly swept to keep it free from debris, the build of which could cause damage to the surface of your boards. 

The costs of solutions and paints will vary depending on quality and manufacturer. However, regardless of this, you should make allowances in your yearly budget for these treatments if you want to keep your timber decking looking lovely.

Ecodek guarantees - No worries with a warranty

A warranty is a guarantee of quality. Choosing a decking product which carries a substantial warranty will provide you with the peace of mind that you have chosen a high-quality product that has been designed to last.

Warranties for timber products may be limited. Due to the nature of wood, and its exposure to the elements, companies may not be willing to provide a guarantee of longevity. However, wood composite decking can come with lengthy warranties, for example, Ecodek’s wood composite decking ranges come with up to a 40-year warranty. This reflects Ecodek’s confidence in its products and its belief that they are built to last.

Buying a decking solution with a lengthy warranty means you have bought a product that will endure – and if there are any problems, you are not liable to be charged for them.

Composite decking or timber decking - Making a decision

So, when choosing your new decking, it is important to look beyond the initial price and discover how much your decking will cost you over its lifetime. Hopefully, this will save you money and time and give you many years of enjoyment of your new decking.

If you would like further information about the costs involved in maintaining a wood composite deck, our friendly customer service team can help. Call them today on 01978 667 840.