Is Upgrading to Composite Decking Really Worth It?
Pressure treated pine is the most popular material choice for decking in the United States – nearly 80% of decks in the country are built with this wood. Pine is inexpensive and easy to work with, but it also has a life span of about 12-15 years and requires a pretty intense maintenance plan.
Pine’s reign as king of the decking material may have an end in sight and more and more customers are making the switch to composite decking. Yes composite decking is roughly 3X more expensive than pine, but it will likely be the last deck you ever install with a life span of 40-50 years.
Thinking about going with composite materials in your new deck build? Here’s what you need to know to make that choice:
What is Composite Decking?
Composite decking is made up of plastic and wood. Manufacturers take the best parts of plastics (longevity, durability, resistance to weathering and insects) and combine it with the ease of handling of wood. The product is more environmentally friendly than 100% plastic decks, which would also be very slippery. Instead now you have a lightweight wood-like deck that won’t splinter or rot and doesn’t need to be stained.
Composite decks have grains manufactured into them to give the looks of wood, much like vinyl siding does. For all the exterior benefits that composite decking provides, it is still not impervious to mold and mildew however. Also, joists may have to be shortened to under 2′ centers as some composite decking has been known to sag over the years, meaning you’ll need more of them.
Cost Increases of Composite Over Pine, Cedar, and Other Woods
Prices of a deck are based on size, layout, materials, and labor. There are different types of treated pine wood which causes a range in price. The location of the deck (ground level, second story) can also affect the cost.
Remember that these are just estimates, but upgrading to higher end woods such as cedar and redwood are going to be priced higher per square foot. A cedar deck is naturally more resistant to rot, insects, and moisture damage than pressure treated pine. With a life span of 20 years a cedar deck is still only going to have about half the life span of one made with composite materials.
Are the Benefits Worth the Price?
Another thing to take into consideration in the costs of a composite deck is that it’s going to be in better condition for a longer time. Therefore even if you don’t plan to live in your current home for 40 years, you’ll still get a market value increase in say, year 15.
There are also maintenance issues to deal with in standard wood decking. The costs are much lower to build, but you also have to take into account buying stain or paying somebody to pressure wash/stain the deck every 2-3 years.
Any deck added to your home is going to give you years of enjoyment while also boosting market value. For some homeowners, that experience is only increased by going with a composite deck.
Call us today to schedule your free deck consultation! 612-333-SNAP