When it comes to deck maintenance, not all deck materials are created equal. Traditional wood, one of the most common deck materials, will require the most maintenance over the deck’s lifespan. Maintenance for composite decking, on the other hand? Requires minimal maintenance.
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While no decking material is truly maintenance free, TimberTech® composite decking delivers a low-maintenance outdoor living experience that saves you on long-term costs, time, and stress.
Maintenance for Composite Decking vs Wood
When you think of deck maintenance for a traditional wood deck, you likely think in terms of three categories:
- Deck board replacement
Between traditional wood vs composite decking, these categories look wildly different. Explore each category in terms of pressure-treated wood decking and composite decking to discover how you can improve your life with low-maintenance decking from TimberTech.
Cleaning is necessary for every deck — regardless of the type of material used. However, there are some stark differences in labor when it comes to maintenance for composite decking vs wood.
Cleaning for Traditional Wood Decking: Difficult & Time-Consuming
Cleaning a wood deck is essential to ensuring the surface remains clear of organic material, the accumulation of which can cause faster deterioration of the boards.
Cleaning a Wood Deck Involves
- Sweeping away dirt and debris.
- Using a putty knife to remove built-up debris in between the deck boards.
- Scrubbing the wood with a cleaner (often bleach-based). You’ll need to give it some elbow grease to remove tough stains, mold, and mildew.
- Rinsing the wood with a pressure washer, which involves filter cleanings, figuring out which nozzle to use, and an unwieldy high-pressure spray.
Cleaning for Composite Decking: Simple & Straightforward
Thanks to their protective capping, organic debris like dirt and leaves won’t affect TimberTech deck boards the same way they affect wood. But it’s still important to keep your deck looking its best.
Recommended Cleaning for TimberTech Decking
- Regularly sweep away dirt and debris.
- Clean your deck seasonally, such as removing snow with a plastic shovel and removing fallen leaves with a broom or leaf blower.
- Wash and rinse occasionally with the appropriate brush and TimberTech DeckCleaner™.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to closely review the Care & Cleaning Guide for your chosen decking line for cleaning best practices. LEARN MORE
Staining is a well-known requirement for traditional wood decks. It keeps the wood richly hued, while also offering a (comparatively small) level of protection from the elements.
Maintenance for composite decking, however, requires no staining for protection.
Staining for Wood Decking: An Annual Affair
With no protection from the elements, traditional wood is completely vulnerable to weathering agents like UV rays, rain, snow, and more, all of which contribute to discoloration in the boards.
What this means for you is annual — and sometimes more frequent — staining to keep up your deck’s appearance.
Wood deck staining is more than just a taxing endeavor, it also comes with other less-than-ideal realities:
- Costs time and money – The average cost to stain a deck is a little over $700 and the whole process can take days.
- Mistakes are easy to make – Lap marks can leave your surface blotchy, meaning you’ll have to strip the stain and start again.
Then, after you’re done staining, there’s more work ahead. You’ll need to seal the deck to protect all your hard work, doubling your labor, while only offering minimal protection that won’t last long.
And that’s not all…
The Environmental Cost of Staining & Sealing
Many wood deck stains and sealers emit potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are unhealthy for you and your family to breathe and which can leech into the ground below your home.
Plus, some of these compounds can affect plants and wildlife around your deck, causing environmental harm.
Staining for Composite Decking: Never Needed
Put the labor and costs of staining a deck behind you for good with TimberTech composite decking.
Richly-Hued Decking That Endures
Our deck boards are designed with rich, nature-inspired hues designed to endure — so you can keep the money you would normally spend on staining.
Plus, with Fade & Stain Warranties for up to 50 years*, you’ll confidently enjoy a gorgeous deck for years to come — no staining required.
*Our TimberTech AZEK® decking line offers a 50-Year Limited Fade & Stain Warranty, as well as a Lifetime Limited Product Warranty.
Deck Board Replacement
Replacing deck boards is no easy task. It requires the proper tools, know-how of joist spacing and blocking, as well as a significant time commitment.
Luckily, maintenance for composite decking doesn’t often require board replacement, thanks to the decking’s superior durability as compared to wood.
Traditional wood decks, however, will inevitably need replacing at some point due to deteriorate from rotting, splitting, cupping, or other failures.
Deck Board Replacement for Wood Decking: A Given
For a wood deck, deck board replacement is a question of “when” not “if.”
A Wood Deck Owner Should Prepare For
- Labor-intensive board replacement – On average, wood deck boards need replacing every 10 to 15 years, most often due to significant rot, cracks, or splits. That’s two to three replacements over the course of your 30-year mortgage.
- Potentially compromised substructure – A deck inspection should be conducted annually to look for signs of trouble with the substructure, such as rot — which could mean an unsafe deck and a costly full deck replacement.
Keep in mind that the substructure of a composite deck is also often made of traditional wood, so completing an annual substructure will be key.
Deck Board Replacement for TimberTech Decking: Unlikely
TimberTech capped polymer and capped composite decking is designed with exceptional durability that keeps it structurally secure and enduringly beautiful year after year.
TimberTech Decking Gives You
- Industry-leading product warranties, so you can have confidence in your deck’s performance for decades to come.
- Exceptional longevity – Our decking is protected with synthetic caps, so you enjoy a significantly longer deck lifespan — and less upkeep — than traditional wood.
Maintenance for Composite Decking vs Wood: The Winner Is Clear
Maintenance for composite decking is minimal compared with the difficult, costly, and tedious labor required of a traditional wood deck. If you long for an outdoor living space that brings you more joy than headaches, choose TimberTech composite decking.
So, are you ready to transition to low-maintenance outdoor living with TimberTech decking?
Start your new beginning by ordering up to four free samples of your favorite colors. Make sure to examine each sample in different lighting to decide if it’s the perfect fit for your outdoor space — and don’t worry: you can leave them out in the rain.