How Long Does Decking Last? It Depends on Your Decking Material

September 8, 2021
HomeOutdoor Living IdeasHow Long Does Decking Last? It Depends on Your Decking Material

How long does decking last? There is no single answer — as the average lifespan of a wood deck is different from that of a composite deck — and it all comes down to material durability and maintenance.  

In general, however, deck lifespan estimations break down as follows: 

How Long Does Decking Last: Estimated Lifespan by Material 


  • Traditional wood deck: Typically 10 to 15 years.
  • Capped composite: Industry experts agree these boards can last 25 to 30+ years. 
  • Capped polymer (the best of the best): Because of its superior material composition, capped polymer boards can last much longer, potentially 50 years or more. 

Why such a range? We’re glad you asked. 

Deck Material Options: A Quick Breakdown

 To best understand the different answers to “how long does decking last,” it’s important to understand your deck material options.  

Traditional wood has historically been the most common deck material, but innovative engineered decking is becoming more popular thanks to its superior material composition and minimal maintenance needs

Answer how long does decking last in terms of pressure treated lumber

Traditional Wood 

  • Pressure-treated lumber 
  • Softwoods like cedar and redwood 
  • Hardwoods like Ipe and mahogany — which still require regular maintenance
Answer how long does decking last in terms of capped composite decking

Capped Composite 

  • Boards comprised of a mix of organic and non-organic material 
  • Protected by 3- or 4-sided engineered polymer capping 
Answer how long does decking last in terms of capped polymer decking

Capped Polymer 

How Long Does Decking Last? Average Lifespan of a Wood Deck 

With traditional wood, the answer to “how long does decking last?” is: Not very long.  

THE AVERAGE LIFESPAN OF A WOOD DECK: Typically 10 to 15 years.

The actual lifespan of your wood deck will depend on the type of wood you’ve chosen and how well you keep up with wood’s rigorous maintenance schedule

The answer to how long does decking last depends on wood deck maintenance

Wood Deck Maintenance 

Depending on the type of wood deck you have, your maintenance schedule will likely look something like this:  

  • Routine deck inspection of the surface and substructure 
  • Frequent cleaning with chemicals and/or a pressure washer to remove mold, mildew, and dirt built-up
  • Sanding, staining, and sealing

Then, repeat every 6 to 12 months. (Ugh.)

And after all your years of strenuous maintenance work? You’ll still likely need to replace your deck within about 15 years.  

Wood decks have a short lifespan

Understanding Wood’s Short Lifespan 

As an organic material, wood fibers are highly susceptible to weathering agents — especially moisture. Moisture damage includes:  

  • Warping, cracking, and splintering 
  • Mold and mildew growth 
  • Rot 

While some types of wood are naturally resistant to moistureno wood is completely impervious to moisture damage or the harsh outdoor environment.  

With all the unending maintenance and an unavoidable deck replacement, traditional wood will end up costing you big time in the long-run.   

How Often Should Wood Decks Be Replaced?  

Find out how often wood decks should be replaced

A full deck replacement is where the entire deck — both substructure and surface — is replaced. Wood deck boards are typically the first to need replacement. However, oftentimes, when replacing the deck boards, issues with the substructure also become apparent, so it’s recommended to replace both the substructure and surface together. 

WOOD DECK REPLACEMENT: Needed every 10 to 15 years, consistent with the average lifespan of a wood deck.  

NOTE: By contrast, a capped polymer or capped composite decking lifespan is far greater than wood, and these decks can last for decades — which means little risk of replacement. 

What Indicates Wood Deck Replacement?

Not all problems with your traditional wood deck will require a full-blown deck replacement. To determine whether your wood deck needs replacing or simply a few repairs, consider:  

The Extent of the Problem 

Does the issue affect your deck’s structural integrity, such as rot in the joists or posts, or is it a surface issue, like fading or splintering in your wood decking?  

Cost 

If the cost of the repairs is equal to or greater than the cost of a full replacement, opt for the full replacement — this will ensure you get the longest lifespan out of your new deck.  

Your Needs 

Tired of your wood deck’s maintenance? Upgrade to low-maintenance, high-performance capped composite and capped polymer decking. 

How to Prolong the Lifespan of Your Wood Deck 

The answer to how long does decking last can change for a wood deck with maintenance

You want to get the most out of your decking investment — and prolonging the average lifespan of a wood deck is an ideal way to do just that. We recommend the following: 

1.) Perform Routine Maintenance 

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your deck will keep it in optimal condition for the long-term — whether wood or engineered decking. But maintenance needs between these deck materials vary significantly

2.) Perform An Annual Deck Inspection 

An annual deck inspection allows you to catch problems early when they are still reparable. Combine an inspection with your maintenance schedule to consistently keep tabs on deck health. 

3.) Upgrade to a TimberTech Deck 

The very best way to optimize your wood deck’s lifespan and avoid replacements? Upgrade to a more durable deck material than wood: TimberTech® capped polymer and capped composite decking.  

Protect Your Substructure With Joist Tape

Prolong your substructure’s health with deck joist flashing tape on your joists and ledger board.  

Composite Decking Lifespan: Enjoy Your Deck for Longer With TimberTech 

How long does decking last when it comes to composite? In general, a composite decking lifespan is greater than the average lifespan of a wood deck because of the boards’ high-performance blend of organic (wood) fibers and engineered material.  

A capped polymer decking lifespan is even longer, thanks to its superior material composition that includes no wood in the core or cap.  

THE AVERAGE CAPPED COMPOSITE DECKING LIFESPAN:
Estimated to be 25 to 30 years.
THE AVERAGE CAPPED POLYMER DECKING LIFESPAN:
Estimated to be 50 years, or more.  

More specifically, TimberTech capped polymer and capped composite decking are designed with innovative technology that makes for highly durable, long-lasting decking.  

Get the best answer to how long does decking last with TimberTech AZEK

TimberTech AZEK®: Unbeatable Performance 

What: A category innovator — the only decking of its kind, made with a unique blend of polymers from core to cap and absolutely no wood in the core or cap.  

What this means for you: Your TimberTech AZEK deck
is designed to last not just years, but decades. And, it’s protected with a Lifetime Limited Product Warranty

TimberTech PRO decking gives you a better answer to how long does decking last than wood

TimberTech Composite Decking: Superior to Wood 

What: TimberTech PRO® and TimberTech EDGE® capped composite decking feature advanced capping technology made with fully engineered polymers that lock out moisture and UV rays — while locking in rich color.  

What this means for you: Your TimberTech composite
deck not only lasts far longer than wood — but looks far better, too. 

Worried About Maintenance?
Don’t Be 

Our capped polymer and capped composite decking require minimal maintenance, saving you time and $$$. 

How Long Does Decking Last? With TimberTech, It Can Last Decades 

The answer to how long does decking last is decades when you choose TimberTech

For a deck you can commit to for the long-term, choose TimberTech for an optimal composite decking lifespan. Our advanced materials science gives our decking exceptional longevity — with minimal maintenance.  

Experience the enduring beauty and high performance up close by ordering up to four free samples of our capped polymer and capped composite decking.  

Place samples where your deck build is planned to get a true sense of the colors in different lighting. After all: With a deck as enduring as TimberTech, you want to make sure to get the color just right. 

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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