Woods vs Composite Decking

Wood vs Composite Decking

The differences between wood and composite decking.

Wood vs Composite Decking

When considering a decking project, it is important to find the best materials to suit your individual project and needs. Wood is a popular and traditional choice and exudes a classic charm but comes with maintenance challenges, while composite, crafted from recycled materials, promises low upkeep and sustainability.
Read on to delve into the key differences between these two decking options, exploring their durability, maintenance requirements, environmental impact, and aesthetic possibilities. Whether you prioritize the traditional allure of wood or the eco-conscious benefits of composite, this article will help you make an informed decision to create your perfect outdoor space.

What is composite decking?

Composite decking is a modern alternative to traditional wood decking, offering a host of advantages. Crafted from a blend of recycled plastics and wood fibres, composite decking is exceptionally durable, resisting rot, warping, and pests. Its low-maintenance nature means no staining or sealing, while its eco-friendly composition reduces landfill waste and curbs deforestation. Composite decks maintain their appearance, are slip-resistant, and come in diverse colours and styles. These qualities make composite decking a sustainable, long-lasting, and versatile choice for creating beautiful outdoor spaces that require minimal upkeep.

Material Composition

The material composition is a critical factor when weighing the pros and cons of wood and composite decking. Traditional wood decking is crafted from natural timber, making it susceptible to decay, insect infestations, and weathering. Wood decks demand regular staining, sealing, and maintenance to combat these issues, often involving the use of chemical treatments.
In contrast, composite decking combines recycled plastics and wood fibres, resulting in a product that boasts exceptional durability. This composition grants composite decking resistance to rot, warping, and pests, rendering it virtually maintenance-free. It doesn't require harmful chemicals or preservatives, making it a safer choice for both your family and the environment.

Durability and Longevity

Durability and longevity are crucial factors to consider when selecting your decking material. Natural wood decking, renowned for its timeless aesthetics, may succumb to the ravages of time and weather. It's susceptible to rot, insect infestations, and warping, demanding vigilant maintenance to maintain structural integrity.
An unmaintained wood deck poses serious safety concerns, including splintering, structural weakness, and the potential for accidents, making it crucial to prioritize regular upkeep to prevent breakage and injuries. Generally, wood decks have a lifespan of around 10 plus years, contingent upon meticulous care.
In contrast, composite decking, composed of a blend of wood fibres and recycled plastics, exhibits exceptional durability. It resists moisture, decay, and fading, resulting in a significantly prolonged lifespan. Many composite decks come with extended warranties, often lasting 25 years or more, ensuring your investment remains structurally robust, safe to use and visually appealing for decades.


When it comes to maintenance, the disparity between wood and composite decking is stark. Wood decking, while showcasing natural beauty, demands significant upkeep. It necessitates periodic staining, sealing, and meticulous cleaning to withstand the rigors of weather and time. Neglecting these tasks can lead to splintering, warping, and overall deterioration, potentially turning a picturesque deck into a safety hazard.
In contrast, composite decking offers a maintenance-friendly haven. It thrives with minimal attention, requiring no staining or sealing. Routine cleaning with soap and water is usually sufficient to keep it looking pristine. This advantage not only saves valuable time and effort but also eliminates the need for costly maintenance products, making composite decking a cost-effective, low-maintenance choice. For homeowners seeking the beauty of a deck without the hassle of constant upkeep, composite decking is the more suitable option,

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Composite decking stands out as a sustainable choice for outdoor spaces. Crafted from a blend of recycled plastics and wood fibres, it reduces waste and lessens the demand for virgin resources. This eco-friendly material also contributes to a lower carbon footprint by repurposing materials that might otherwise end up in landfills. With its long lifespan, composite decking further minimizes the need for replacement decks, making it an environmentally responsible option that aligns with modern sustainability principles. However not all all composite decking is created equally and it is important to look into the sustainability credentials of both the company and composite decking product you are thinking of using for your project to ensure you are making the sustainable choice.
Whilst timber decking does not include any plastic and is made from natural materials. Its sustainability presents challenges. Sourcing sustainable wood, like FSC-certified lumber, is a positive step, but it doesn't fully mitigate the environmental impact. The logging process, even with responsible practices, can contribute to deforestation and habitat disruption. Additionally, the transportation of wood from forests to construction sites generates substantial carbon emissions. Furthermore, the short lifespan of wooden decks often necessitates frequent replacements, leading to more discarded materials in landfills. Selecting 100% FSC certified wood or sourcing reclaimed or recycled timber can help reduce the environmental impact of your new decking, but can often be more challenging to find.

Value for Money

When considering value for money, you need to consider the added costs involved in maintenance, repairs and how long the decking will last to ensure you are getting a full picture.
While wood decking may initially seem cost-effective due to its lower upfront price, it often ends up being more expensive in the long run. This is because wood decks require regular maintenance, including staining, sealing, and potential repairs, which can add up significantly over the years. Additionally, the relatively shorter lifespan of wood decks may necessitate replacement sooner than expected, incurring further expenses.
Composite decking, though having a higher initial cost, offers superior long-term value. Its durability and low-maintenance nature mean you won't need to invest in expensive upkeep, such as staining or sealing, and it typically comes with extended warranties. Over time, these savings offset the initial price difference, making composite decking a more cost-effective choice.
Generally speaking a high quality composite decking will often emerge are the smarter investment, due to its enhanced durability, low maintenance properties and long lasting warranty.


Wood decking boasts undeniable aesthetic benefits, exuding natural warmth and timeless charm. Its unique grain patterns and rich colours create an inviting, rustic atmosphere that complements a variety of architectural styles. Wood's ability to age gracefully, with its patina evolving over time, adds to its visual allure. Furthermore, wood can be easily customized with various finishes and stains to match your design preferences, making it a versatile choice for those who appreciate the authentic beauty of nature.
Timber decking is also easy to stain, paint or treat allowing you to completely transform the appearance of the decking area if you wish, making it a good choice for those who like to frequently mix up their space. Whilst a well-maintained or new wooden deck can exude stunning beauty. However, when neglected or left to decay, it can swiftly transform from an asset to an eyesore, undermining its visual appeal.

EnviroBuild Composite Decking

EnviroBuild Composite Decking is a fantastic solution for customers looking for a low maintenance solution, weather proof sustainable option. All of our composite decking ranges are made using 90% recycled materials and manufactured using 100% wind energy and only use FSC certified recycled wood EnviroBuild composite decking is easy to care and is weather-proof, anti rot, ant splinter and anti slip and built to last up to a 25 year warranty (varying slightly between ranges). Making it the perfect choice for any family looking to upgrade their outdoor space the sustainable way.

The decision between wood and composite cladding is a crucial choice that can have a substantial influence on the visual appeal, robustness, and eco-friendliness of a project. Wood exudes timeless charm and can be budget-friendly upfront, but its susceptibility to decay and demanding maintenance make it less practical. In contrast, composite decking offers superior durability, sustainability, and low maintenance, resulting in long-term cost savings and eco-friendliness. While wood may appeal for its aesthetics, composite decking's overall package of longevity, low upkeep, and environmental responsibility consistently positions it as the superior choice for homeowners seeking the perfect blend of beauty, practicality, and sustainability in their outdoor spaces.