Decking

Capped Composite Decking vs Wood: How TimberTech Stacks Up

March 29, 2021

Composite decking vs wood: Which is better for your deck? There are multiple factors to consider before making your choice. To determine the best option for your deck build, you’ll want to look at composite decking vs wood against several variables:

Assess Composite Decking vs Wood On:
Durability
Cost
Maintenance
Aesthetics

But first, it’s important to understand what you’re choosing between.

Deck Building Material Options

Within the two broad categories of composite decking and wood are several options.

Wood used for decks is often traditional lumber — such as pressure-treated wood, redwood, or cedar — or else exotic hardwoods like Ipe.

Different types of composite decking include uncapped composite decking, 3-sided capped composite, 4-sided capped composite, and premium capped polymer decking.

TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection in English Walnut with greenery and trees

TimberTech® Capped Composite Decking

At TimberTech, we believe Better Tech, Better Deck™ and only offer capped composite and capped polymer decking.

Why? Because our advanced capping technology protects our boards from weathering and moisture damage, so you can enjoy a beautiful, durable deck for years to come.  

Durability

To get the most out of your decking investment, you want your deck to be structurally sound for as long as possible. Choosing more durable deck boards mean you’ll enjoy your deck for longer with less maintenance.

Composite Decking* vs Wood

TimberTech vs wood side by side comparison

Composite Decking

Wood

  • Organic material of wood is highly vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rot.
  • Color will fade in the sun and boards will warp and crack with moisture penetration and evaporation.
  • Average lifespan of a traditional wood deck is 10 to 15 years, with regular maintenance work every one to two years.

*Both capped composite decking, like our TimberTech® PRO® and TimberTech® EDGE® lines, and capped polymer decking, our TimberTech® AZEK® line.

The Takeaway: TimberTech composite decking is engineered to stay beautiful and perform optimally, for you and for future generations.

Cost

The upfront cost of your deck is only part of the story — over time, repairs and maintenance requirements can increase your overall spend on your deck. While the costs for a traditional wood deck may be a bit lower upfront than a composite deck, the costs of wood deck maintenance add up quickly.

After the upfront cost of your deck, you’ll want to think about maintenance costs.

Potential Maintenance Costs of Your Wood Deck

Repair & Replacement

Common issues with wood decks include:

  • Loose or rusted screws or fasteners.
  • Mold, mildew, and rot.
  • Ledger board pulling away from house.
  • Cracking and splintering.
  • Insect damage.

Sanding, Staining, Sealing

Every one to two years, wood decks may require:

  • Regular sanding to buff out cracks and splinters.
  • Staining of the deck surface to maintain its rich color.
  • Sealing for moisture, weather, and insect resistance.

Deck Cleaning

  • Wood decks demand costly power washing and chemicals to kill mold and mildew.
  • Chemicals, stains, and sealants for wood decks can contain environmentally harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can leach into the ground beneath your home.

As for composite deck maintenance? TimberTech composite decks need only a routine wash and rinse with TimberTech DeckCleaner™.

Note that all decks should be routinely inspected to make sure ledger boards (the boards that touch the exterior of your home), joists, and other substructure elements are sound.

Composite Decking* vs Wood

TimberTech vs wood side by side comparison

Composite Decking

Wood

*Both capped composite decking, like our TimberTech PRO and TimberTech EDGE lines, and capped polymer decking, our TimberTech AZEK line.

The Takeaway: A capped composite deck simply performs better, so you spend less time — and money — than you would spend maintaining a wood deck.

Maintenance

Maintenance is a weighty factor to look at when comparing composite decking vs wood. Maintenance requirements for your deck can cost you not only money, but time and effort, too, if you do the work yourself.

Composite Decking* vs Wood

TimberTech vs wood side by side comparison

Wood

*Both capped composite decking, like our TimberTech PRO and TimberTech EDGE lines, and capped polymer decking, our TimberTech AZEK line.

The Takeaway: TimberTech decking requires minimal maintenance to retain its nature-inspired beauty, so you can focus on enjoying your deck — not maintaining it.

Aesthetics

Composite decking vs wood featuring TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection in Coastline Mahogany Dark Hickory with firepit

Between composite decking vs wood, aesthetics are a big differentiating factor. How your deck looks plays a role in how much maintenance it needs — which in turn affects your overall costs. A deck that’s designed to look beautiful with minimal maintenance will save you more in the long run than one that requires constant care to stay looking its best.

Composite Decking* vs Wood

The test results shown above come from a highly reputable and accredited third-party lab test conducted per ASTM D2244 and ASTMG154 standard on material purchased from consumer channels. Study tested for the following:

  • Color measurement process reports dE based on the CIELab color space using D65 illuminant at a 10-degree angle.
  • Samples tested in weatherometer chamber; subjected to cycles of 8 hours of UV radiation followed by 4 hours of darkness to ASTM specs.

*Test shows specifically our capped polymer TimberTech AZEK decking line, but all of our composite decking portfolio offers better protection from fading, staining, or performance issues than traditional wood.

With composite decking, you don’t have to sacrifice the traditional wood aesthetic for long-lasting durability — you get both. Our nature-inspired composite decking lines tap superior technology to look just like the real thing. Don’t believe us? Have a look for yourself:

Comparing TimberTech Composite Decking vs Wood

The Takeaway: TimberTech composite decking is designed to look good for decades — not just a year or two.

The Bottom Line

Composite decking vs wood TimberTech PRO Legacy Collection in Pecan poolside

When it comes to composite decking vs wood, there’s a clear winner: composite decking.

TimberTech composite decking gives you the nuanced beauty of real wood with far greater longevity. If you’re looking to invest in a stunning, long-lasting, low-maintenance deck, the choice is obvious: Choose TimberTech.

Order up to four free samples today to see and feel the beauty and durability of TimberTech composite decking up close.

See & Feel the TimberTech Advantage

Our capped polymer and capped composite decking lines combine recycled material with all the beauty of traditional wood.

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