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Wooden Decking Vs. Composite Decking: What’s the Difference?

24 September 2020


Decking | Harrow Fencing Supplies

Nothing beats the beauty of outdoor decking – and if you’ve been inspired to add this warm, natural feature into your own garden, you may be wondering should I choose wooden decking or composite decking? Perhaps you’re not even certain what composite decking is and how it’s different from its wooden counterpart.

In this article, we’ll take you through the difference between wooden decking and composite decking, and the pros and cons of each, to help you decide if it’s the right match for your garden.

What’s the Difference?

The key difference between wooden decking and composite decking is what it’s made from. Wooden or timber decking is made from wholly natural wood materials, and is the original decking material.

Composite decking is a modern take on wooden decking, and combines wood fibre with plastic and a bonding agent. The result is decking that looks authentically wooden, but is generally more long-lasting than natural wood.

Both have their pros and cons depending on your style preferences, functional requirements and budget constraints. So let’s take a look.

The Pros and Cons of Wooden Decking

Pros of Wooden Decking

  • Cost: Generally speaking, wooden decking will have a lower price tag than composite decking, as it hasn’t gone through the same level of processing. This makes natural wood decking the most viable option for those on a budget. Like anything though, costs will vary depending on the manufacturer.
  • Wholly natural material: For a 100% natural product, wooden decking should be your first choice. Unlike composite, it has no plastic components, making it an entirely authentic addition to your garden.
  • Eco-friendly: Being composed of just natural material, wooden decking is of course recyclable and can be sourced sustainably.
  • Strong: Wood is famed for its high-strength as well as its beauty. For an application, such as decking, where footfall will be heavy, this strength and durability is an excellent quality to have.

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Cons of Wooden Decking

  • Requires more maintenance: The unique composition of composite decking means that it is low maintenance and doesn’t suffer from the same issues than natural wood does. With natural wooden decking, therefore, you will need to ensure you regularly maintain the boards, and ensure they are sealed, stained and swept to prevent degradation. Some people are not put off by this maintenance, but if you simply don’t have the time to upkeep your wooden decking, opt for composite instead – as without this maintenance, wood decking can fall into disrepair.

The Pros and Cons of Composite Decking

Pros of Composite Decking

  • Mimics authentic wooden appearance: High-quality composite decking mimics the real authentic look of wood, allowing you to benefit from a natural-looking option with minimal maintenance.
  • Weather-resistant: Rain or shine, composite decking is hardy in most climates. Check with the manufacturer for specifics, but generally composite boards are a UV-resistant and waterproof option for your outdoor decking.
  • Longevity: Composite wood does not suffer the same problems as normal wood, namely splintering, rotting, or cracking. While a regular maintenance routine is essential for natural wood decking in order to avoid these problems, composite wood owners can sit back and enjoy a long-lived product without the upkeep.
  • Low-maintenance: Due to its unique and weather-resistant makeup, composite decking can last for decades with minimal maintenance required – no sanding, no painting, no sealing. So, it’s definitely the right option for busy people. The only thing it might need is the occasional hose down to keep mould at bay.

Cons of Composite Decking

  • Cost: Because composite decking has undergone more processing, it will generally be a little pricier than straightforward wooden decking, which may rule it out for those on a tighter budget.
  • Not natural: Even though many composite manufacturers successfully mimic a natural wood appearance, composite decking isn’t actually 100% natural. Not all composite decking is created equal, so if you’re finding that composite decking seems a little artificial-looking for your tastes, you may want to continue the search for a different manufacturer. Essentially, if you prefer the real deal, then wood is going to be your best choice.

So, which is better?

Ultimately there is no correct answer to this question. If purchased from a reliable, trusted supplier, either material will be a beautiful, durable option for your garden space. It simply depends on your personal preference.

Searching for decking and other quality garden supplies in Harrow and Hillingdon? Here at Harrow Fencing, we provide a superb selection of products to suit any garden space. With over 50 years of industry experience, you can trust in us to source and supply only the finest products – get in touch today.

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