trex decking cost

Is a Maintenance-Free Composite Deck Worth the Investment If You Plan to Move?

Is a Maintenance-Free Composite Deck Worth the Investment If You Plan to Move?


When building a deck, one of the most important decisions homeowners think about is choosing between wood and composite materials. While the idea of a low-maintenance option like composite decking is appealing, it’s essential to consider your future plans, particularly if you intend to sell your home and move in the coming years. So, is investing in a maintenance-free composite deck worth the extra cost if you plan on moving? Let’s explore this question in more detail.


The Short Answer

The answer to this question depends on how long you plan to stay in your home before moving. If you intend to live in your home for at least four years, investing in a composite deck is generally a better overall investment compared to a standard cedar deck. Let’s dive into the details and understand why the four-year mark is crucial.


Comparing Composite and Wood Decks

When deciding between composite and wood decks, it’s essential to consider not only the low-maintenance benefits of composite but also the associated costs. While composite decks typically have a higher upfront cost, it’s crucial to factor in the ongoing maintenance costs of wood decks as well.


The Cost Difference

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted lumber prices, causing them to soar. Although prices have come down, the cost changes have narrowed the gap between the investment required for a wood deck and a composite deck, such as Trex. In fact, it is now more expensive to build a deck using cedar decking than Trex Enhance Basics decking. The only exception would be using pressure-treated lumber, which is the most basic and affordable wood option. However, it’s important to keep in mind the time and money needed to maintain a pressure-treated deck, as well as the potential for splinters.


The Four-Year Rule: When Composite Becomes More Cost-Effective

When comparing the cost of Trex’s more popular lines (like Trex Enhance Naturals and Transcend) with a cedar deck, the math works out relatively evenly if you factor in the ongoing maintenance costs of a cedar deck over time. These maintenance tasks include replacing boards, sanding, staining, or painting, which are not required for composite decks. After about four years, the cumulative cost of maintaining a cedar deck starts to exceed the initially higher cost of a composite deck. Therefore, if you plan on living in your home for at least four years, investing in a composite deck can be less expensive overall. However, if you intend to move within four years or are flipping a home to rent or sell, installing a cedar deck may be more cost-effective.


Return on Investment (ROI)

Another important factor to consider is the ROI of a composite deck compared to a wood deck. According to the 2020 Cost vs. Value report, homeowners can recoup 67% of their investment in a composite deck based on the national average. This means that when you decide to sell your home, you’re more likely to receive a higher selling price if you have a composite deck. Prospective buyers are aware that a wooden deck requires ongoing work and financial investment for upkeep, while a composite deck allows them to enjoy their outdoor space without the added maintenance burden.


Making Your Decision

Ultimately, the decision between a composite and wood deck depends on your unique circumstances. To make the best choice, ask yourself the following questions:


  1. How long do I plan on staying in my home?
  2. What is the current cost of lumber compared to composite materials?
  3. How much of an ROI am I likely to get?
  4. How important is a maintenance-free deck to me?


If you plan on staying in your home for at least four years and value the convenience of a low-maintenance outdoor living space, investing in a composite deck may be the wise choice. However, if you intend to move within a shorter timeframe or are working with a limited budget, a wood deck may be the more practical option.


Trust the Experts in Composite Deck Installation

Whether you’re just beginning to explore your options or are ready to start building, Decked Out Builders is here to be your trusted deck-building partner. Our team of skilled professionals has decades of experience as premier composite deck builders in Illinois and Wisconsin. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about composite decking materials and can help you schedule a design consultation when you’re ready to move forward.

In addition to custom composite decks, we offer a range of other outdoor living services, including porches, patios, pergolas, outdoor kitchens, and more. Browse our portfolio of showpiece custom decks and request your free quote today to start turning your outdoor living dreams into reality.