Composite Decking Worth the Money

Is Composite Decking Worth the Money?

Is Composite Decking Worth the Money?



Composite decking is a man-made material that combines wood fibers, plastics, and bonding agents to create a durable, low-maintenance alternative to traditional wood decking. Composite decking is designed to mimic the look and feel of natural wood while offering superior resistance to weathering, fading, staining, and insect damage.

There are several well-known brands of composite decking, such as Trex, TimberTech, and Fiberon, each offering a range of product lines with different colors, textures, and price points.


Advantages of Composite Decking

Low Maintenance

One of the most significant advantages of composite decking is its low maintenance requirements. Unlike wood decking, which needs to be regularly sanded, stained, and sealed to maintain its appearance and protect against weathering and decay, composite decking requires minimal upkeep. Most composite decking only needs occasional cleaning with soap and water to keep it looking great, saving you time and money on maintenance over the life of your deck.



Composite decking is designed to withstand the elements better than traditional wood. It’s resistant to fading, staining, scratching, and moisture damage, and it won’t splinter, warp, or rot like wood can. Many composite decking products come with warranties of 25 years or more, giving you peace of mind and protection for your investment.



While early generations of composite decking had a more artificial appearance, today’s composite decking options offer a much more natural wood look. Many products feature realistic wood grain patterns and rich, varied colors that closely mimic the appearance of popular wood species like cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods. With a wide range of colors and finishes available, you can find a composite decking option that complements your home’s style and enhances your outdoor living space.



Composite decking is often made from a combination of recycled wood fibers and recycled plastic, making it an environmentally friendly choice. By using recycled materials, composite decking helps to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. Additionally, because composite decking lasts longer and requires less maintenance than wood, it can help to reduce the long-term environmental impact of your deck.



While composite decking has a higher upfront cost than most wood options, it can provide better long-term value for your investment. The low maintenance requirements and long lifespan of composite decking can help to offset the initial cost over time, and the durability and attractive appearance of composite can help to increase the overall value of your home.


Drawbacks of Composite Decking


Higher Upfront Cost

The primary drawback of composite decking is its higher upfront cost compared to traditional wood decking. On average, composite decking costs between $30 to $60 per square foot, while pressure-treated wood costs between $15 to $25 per square foot. This higher initial cost can be a significant barrier for some homeowners, particularly those with larger decks or tighter budgets.


Limited Customization

While composite decking offers a wide range of colors and finishes, it doesn’t have the same level of customization as wood decking. With wood, you can sand, stain, or paint the surface to achieve a specific color or look, and you can more easily replace individual boards or sections if needed. Composite decking, on the other hand, has a fixed color and texture that can’t be easily changed, and repairs or replacements may be more noticeable.


Heat Retention

Some composite decking products can retain more heat than wood, making the surface uncomfortable to walk on barefoot in hot, sunny conditions. However, many newer composite decking options feature cooling technology or lighter colors that help to mitigate this issue. If heat retention is a concern for your area, be sure to research the specific composite decking products you’re considering to find one with good heat dissipation properties.


Potential for Mold and Mildew

While composite decking is highly resistant to moisture damage, it can still be susceptible to mold and mildew growth in damp, shaded areas. Proper cleaning and maintenance can help to prevent this issue, but it’s important to be aware of the potential for mold and mildew if your deck doesn’t receive adequate sunlight or ventilation.


Lack of Natural Wood Feel

For some homeowners, the natural look and feel of real wood is an important part of the decking experience. While composite decking has come a long way in mimicking the appearance of wood, it may not have the same tactile qualities or natural variations that some people prefer. If the authenticity of real wood is a top priority for you, composite decking may not be the best choice.


Factors to Consider

When deciding whether composite decking is worth the money for your home, there are several key factors to consider:


Your Budget

Carefully evaluate your overall decking budget and determine how much you’re willing to invest upfront for long-term benefits. If you have a larger budget and prioritize low maintenance and durability, composite decking may be a worthwhile investment. However, if you have a tighter budget or a smaller deck, the upfront cost of composite may be harder to justify.


Your Maintenance Preferences

Consider how much time and effort you’re willing to put into maintaining your deck over the years. If you enjoy the process of sanding, staining, and sealing your deck every few years and don’t mind the ongoing maintenance costs, wood decking may be a satisfactory choice. However, if you prefer a low-maintenance option that allows you to spend more time enjoying your deck and less time working on it, composite decking may be worth the extra upfront investment.


Your Home’s Style

Consider how the appearance of composite decking will complement your home’s style and existing exterior finishes. With a wide range of colors and wood-like finishes available, you can likely find a composite decking option that enhances your home’s aesthetic. However, if you have a historic home or a specific design style that relies on the authenticity of real wood, composite decking may not be the best fit.



In summary, whether composite decking is worth the money for your home depends on your specific budget and maintenance preferences. Composite decking offers several significant advantages over traditional wood decking, including low maintenance requirements, long-term durability, attractive wood-like appearance, eco-friendliness, and potential long-term value. However, it also comes with a higher upfront cost, limited customization options, potential for heat retention and mold growth, and a lack of natural wood feel that may be drawbacks for some homeowners.

Ultimately, while composite decking may not be the right choice for every homeowner, its low maintenance requirements, durability, and attractive appearance make it a worthwhile consideration for anyone looking to build a beautiful, long-lasting deck with minimal upkeep. As composite decking technology continues to improve and more options become available at different price points, it’s likely that composite will remain a popular and practical choice for many homeowners in the years to come.


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.