Comparing Composite Decking with Other Materials

When choosing materials for your home’s outdoor decking, you want something that looks great, is durable, and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Composite decking has become an increasingly popular choice, offering benefits over traditional wood and other common decking options. 

 

We compare composite decking with timber, PVC and aluminium to help you determine which is best for your home.

 

Composite Decking vs Timber

 

Timber decking certainly has an attractive, natural aesthetic that many homeowners love. The varied grains and wood tones can be quite beautiful, but there are some significant downsides to using real timber that composite decking aims to improve upon:

 

Durability

 

Timber is prone to rotting, splintering and warping over time when exposed to the elements. The material readily absorbs moisture, leading to fungus and structural damage if not properly sealed and treated. In addition, it requires applications of protective stains/sealants to protect it from moisture issues. 

 

Whereas composite decking contains plastic polymers mixed with wood fibres/particles. The plastic content resists absorbing water and makes the material highly resistant to warping, rotting or structural issues, even with years of outdoor exposure.

 

Maintenance

 

Because timber is so prone to moisture damage, it needs periodic sanding, restaining and resealing to maintain its aesthetic looks and prevent deterioration. This maintenance should be done every 1-2 years to protect it. 

 

However, composite decking contains UV inhibitors and colourants to prevent fading. The material just needs an occasional wash with soap and water to keep it looking fresh and vibrant for decades. Composite also requires no restaining or sealing to maintain its appearance and performance.

 

Slip Resistance

 

When timber gets wet, especially smooth planed timbers, it can become very slick and slippery underfoot. This can lead to dangerous falls, especially on steps and sloped decks. Composite decking is often more slip resistant than traditional wood decking due to its textured surface and the materials used. The combination of wood fibres and plastic in composite decking creates a surface that provides better traction, making it less slippery, especially when wet.

 

Composite vs PVC Decking

 

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is another common low maintenance decking alternative to natural wood. Here’s how it compares to composite decking in detail:

 

Durability

 

PVC decking is highly resistant to moisture absorption and rotting – similar to composite. However, PVC can become more brittle and prone to impact damage over time, resulting in cracks and breaks. It also tends to fade and discolour more quickly in sunlight than quality composites, with composites maintaining their structure and colour better long-term.

 

Aesthetics

 

PVC is only produced in a limited range of solid colours that often look artificial. The appearance is clearly plastic, without the depth and variation of real woodgrain. Quality composite decking much more closely emulates the subtle detail in wood grains and colour change, delivering a richer, more natural wood look.

 

Sustainability

 

Composite decking often incorporates sizable amounts of recycled plastics and reclaimed wood fibres, so it is considered a more environmentally sustainable choice. On the other hand, PVC production results in the emission of hazardous VOC gases and more greenhouse gases. 

 

Composite vs Aluminium

 

Aluminium is sometimes used for decking because of its sleek, contemporary appearance. However, it has some qualities that make it less than ideal for many homeowners:

 

Aesthetics

 

Aluminium has an industrial, utilitarian look and feel. The uniform grey tone lacks the warmth and character of natural wood, whereads composite decking delivers a much closer aesthetic match to real timber, with colours and graining that create depth.

 

Comfort

 

Aluminium can become uncomfortably hot when sitting on it in direct sunlight during summer. In contrast, composite materials, with their wood component, stay much closer to air temperature regardless of sun exposure.

 

Cost

 

Composite decking has a similar installed cost to high quality timber when you factor in ongoing maintenance savings. However, aluminium is typically a far more expensive option – sometimes 2-3 times more costly than other deck materials.

 

Ecoscape UK: Quality Composite Decking 

 

After comparing composite decking closely to the most common alternative deck materials, the composite option provides clear advantages for most residential settings.

 

At Ecoscape UK, we offer a premium range of composite decking made from recycled wood and plastic. With a high content of recycled materials, our boards provide an eco-friendly and sustainable choice. 

 

What’s more, with natural-looking colours and convincing wood grain finishes, our composite decking beautifully emulates the visual appeal of real wood, but with outstanding durability and low maintenance. 

 

Our decking experts are happy to advise the ideal options for your garden decking project. Get in touch today or browse our composite decking products to learn more!

Gary is the founder and CEO of Ecoscape UK. Gary graduated from Liverpool JM University in 2007 with a 2:1 in Economics. A passion for innovation, design and sustainability, Gary has put to market numerous wpc products/systems, some of which have UK and European registered designs. Outside of work Gary enjoys spending time with his family, the great outdoors and watching Manchester United.

Comments

Comments (29)

  1. Blair
    January 1, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! I’ve been considering decking options for my home and this article gave me a clear understanding of the benefits of composite decking over timber, PVC, and aluminium. I’m especially impressed by its durability and low maintenance. However, I’m curious about the purchasing process and would love to hear more about it. Overall, this was a helpful and informative read. Thank you!”

  2. Harrison chambers
    March 10, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! It’s clear that composite decking offers many benefits over traditional wood, PVC, and aluminum. I appreciate the breakdown of durability and maintenance – it’s important to consider these factors when choosing decking for your home. I’m curious about the purchasing process for composite decking – do you have any tips or recommendations? Overall, this article was informative and helpful in making a decision. Thank you!”

  3. David Antony Jones
    March 11, 2022

    As a long-time expert in composite building materials, I couldn’t agree more with the points made in this article. Composite decking truly offers a superior alternative to traditional wood and other common decking options.

    One aspect that I believe is often overlooked is the durability of composite decking compared to timber. While timber may have a beautiful natural aesthetic, it is prone to rotting, splintering, and warping over time when exposed to the elements. This not only affects the appearance of the decking but also poses potential safety hazards.

    On the other hand, composite decking contains plastic polymers that make it highly resistant to water absorption and therefore, warping, rotting, and structural damage. This is a huge advantage, especially for outdoor decking that is constantly exposed to moisture.

    Maintenance is another key factor to consider when choosing decking materials. As mentioned in the article, timber requires regular applications of protective stains and sealants to prevent moisture issues. This can be time-consuming and costly in the long run. Composite decking, on the other hand, requires minimal maintenance, making it a hassle-free option for homeowners.

    In my 15 years of experience, I have seen the evolution of composite decking and can confidently say that it has only improved in terms of durability and maintenance. I highly recommend considering composite decking for your outdoor space – it truly offers the best of both worlds in terms of aesthetics and practicality.

  4. Gabrielle Khan
    July 3, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! As a homeowner, I appreciate the benefits of durability and low maintenance that composite decking offers over traditional wood. However, I am curious about the purchasing process and would love to hear more about it. Overall, this article has provided valuable insights for anyone looking to upgrade their outdoor decking. Thank you for sharing this informative piece!”

  5. J Maxwell
    July 9, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! I was always torn between timber and PVC decking, but now I can see the clear advantages of composite decking. The durability and low maintenance aspect really stand out to me. However, I’m wondering about the availability and cost of composite decking. Can you provide any information on where to purchase it and the average cost? Thanks!”

  6. Joshua
    July 13, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! The durability and low maintenance of composite decking definitely make it a top choice for outdoor spaces. However, I’m curious about the purchasing process for this product. Do you have any tips or recommendations? Thanks for sharing this informative article.”

  7. Jenny
    October 31, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! I’ve been considering decking options for my home and this article has been really helpful in highlighting the benefits of composite decking over timber, PVC, and aluminium. I’m especially impressed by the durability and low maintenance of composite decking. I’m curious about where I can purchase this product, can you provide any recommendations or personal experiences? Thanks!”

  8. Emily
    November 24, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! I appreciate the detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of each option. I’m particularly drawn to composite decking for its durability and low maintenance. However, I’m wondering about the cost and availability of this product. Do you have any recommendations on where to purchase it? Thanks for the helpful information!”

  9. Dominyka
    November 24, 2022

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! It’s important to consider durability and maintenance when choosing outdoor decking, and composite decking seems to have the upper hand in both areas. I appreciate the breakdown of benefits over traditional wood and other options. However, I’m curious about the purchasing process for composite decking. Is it readily available or does it require special ordering? Overall, this article was informative and helpful in making a decision for my own decking needs.”

  10. Marlow
    December 31, 2022

    “Great comparison between composite decking and other materials! It’s important to consider factors like durability and maintenance when choosing decking for your home. I appreciate the detail on how composite decking resists rotting and warping, making it a more long-lasting option. However, I’m wondering about the availability and cost of composite decking compared to other materials. Overall, this article was informative and helpful in making a decision. Thank you!”

  11. Andrew
    January 13, 2023

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! I’ve been considering redoing my outdoor decking and this article has been really helpful in highlighting the benefits of composite decking over timber, PVC, and aluminium. I’m particularly impressed with its durability and low maintenance compared to timber. I’m definitely leaning towards composite decking now. Just wondering, where can I purchase this product? Any suggestions? Thanks!”

  12. Kerry Doig
    January 13, 2023

    As a composite building materials expert, I couldn’t agree more with the points made in this blog post. Composite decking truly offers a superior option when compared to traditional wood and other common decking materials.

    One aspect that I think is worth mentioning is the environmental impact of composite decking. Many homeowners are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and are looking for sustainable options for their homes. Composite decking, with its use of recycled materials and minimal need for maintenance, is a great choice for those looking to reduce their environmental impact.

    Additionally, I have seen firsthand the durability of composite decking. After years of exposure to the elements, it remains strong and resilient, unlike timber which is prone to rotting and warping. And let’s not forget the maintenance aspect – with composite decking, you can say goodbye to the constant need for protective stains and sealants.

    Overall, I believe that composite decking is the best choice for homeowners looking for a beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance option for their outdoor decking. It’s time to say goodbye to the downsides of timber and embrace the benefits of composite decking.

  13. David Smith
    April 20, 2023

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other popular materials for outdoor decking. As someone who is currently in the process of choosing decking for my home, this article was very helpful in outlining the benefits of composite decking over timber, PVC, and aluminium. However, I do have a question about where to purchase high-quality composite decking. Overall, a concise and informative read for anyone considering decking options for their home.”

  14. Terry Cooke
    August 18, 2023

    “Great breakdown of the pros and cons of different decking materials. I’ve been considering composite decking for my home, but wasn’t sure how it compared to traditional wood. This article answered all my questions and highlighted the benefits of composite decking, especially in terms of durability and maintenance. I’m definitely leaning towards this option now. Can you recommend any specific brands or retailers to purchase from? Thanks!”

  15. Guy
    September 18, 2023

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! It’s important to consider the durability and maintenance of outdoor decking, and composite decking seems to have the upper hand. I’m curious about where to purchase this product, as I’ve heard good things about it from friends. Overall, this article was informative and helpful in making a decision for my home’s decking.”

  16. Malcolm Hoe
    October 15, 2023

    “Great comparison between composite decking and other materials! I’ve been considering replacing my old timber deck and this article has given me a lot to think about. I love the natural look of timber, but the durability and low maintenance of composite decking seem like a better option. I’m curious about the purchasing process for composite decking, do you have any tips or recommendations? Overall, a very informative read.”

    • NadiaLedger
      January 16, 2022

      Hi there! I’m glad you found this article helpful in your decision-making process for your deck replacement. As an expert in composite building supplies, I can definitely attest to the durability and low maintenance benefits of composite decking. In terms of the purchasing process, I would recommend doing some research on reputable suppliers and brands in your area. It’s also important to consider the warranty and installation process, as these can vary between different composite decking products. Overall, I highly recommend investing in composite decking for its long-term benefits and natural look. Let me know if you have any other questions, I’d be happy to assist!

  17. Wayne Pascoe
    October 24, 2023

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! As someone who is currently in the process of choosing decking for my home, this article was very informative. I had no idea that composite decking was so much more durable and low-maintenance compared to timber. However, I do have a question about where I can purchase this product. Any suggestions? Thanks for the helpful insights!”

    • Craig
      January 21, 2024

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad to hear that our comparison of composite decking with other materials was helpful in your decision-making process. As an expert in composite building supplies, I can confidently say that composite decking is indeed a superior choice for its durability and low-maintenance qualities. In terms of purchasing this product, I would recommend checking with your local building supply stores or home improvement centers. Many of them carry a variety of composite decking options and can also provide you with further information and assistance in choosing the right product for your specific needs. Thank you for considering composite decking for your home and best of luck with your decking project!

  18. Bill
    November 5, 2023

    As an expert in composite building materials, I couldn’t agree more with the points made in this article. I have seen first-hand the drawbacks of using timber for outdoor decking, and composite decking truly offers a superior alternative.

    One aspect that I believe is worth mentioning is the environmental impact of using composite decking compared to timber. With the growing concern for sustainability, it’s important to consider the source of the materials we use in our homes. Composite decking is made from recycled materials, making it a much more eco-friendly option than timber which requires cutting down trees.

    In addition, the durability and low maintenance of composite decking not only save homeowners time and money, but it also reduces the need for constant upkeep and replacements, ultimately reducing waste and environmental impact.

    I also want to highlight the benefits of using composite decking over PVC and aluminium. While these materials may offer some advantages, such as being waterproof and low maintenance, they lack the natural aesthetic of timber and composite decking. With composite decking, homeowners can enjoy the best of both worlds – the look of timber with the durability and low maintenance of PVC and aluminium.

    Overall, I believe composite decking is the clear winner when it comes to choosing materials for outdoor decking. Its combination of durability, low maintenance, and sustainability make it a smart choice for any home. Thank you for providing such a comprehensive comparison, it’s always great to see the benefits of composite decking being recognized.

  19. MARK MACDONALD
    November 18, 2023

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! I appreciate the detailed breakdown of the pros and cons, especially when it comes to durability and maintenance. However, I’m wondering about the purchasing process for composite decking. Is it readily available in home improvement stores or do you need to order it through a specific company? Overall, this article has definitely helped me in making a decision for my outdoor decking. Thank you!”

    • NadiaLedger
      April 15, 2023

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad to hear that our comparison of composite decking has been helpful in your decision-making process. In terms of purchasing, composite decking is readily available in most home improvement stores, making it easily accessible for customers. However, it’s always best to do some research and compare prices from different suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best quality and value for your money. Additionally, some companies specialize in composite decking and may offer a wider range of options and services, so it’s worth considering all your options before making a purchase. Thank you for reading our article and happy decking!

      • Craig
        October 21, 2023

        Hi there! I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad to hear that our comparison of composite decking has been helpful for you. As an expert in composite building supplies, I can assure you that there are many options available in the market, and it’s important to do your research and compare prices from different suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best quality and value for your money. Some companies specialize in composite decking and may offer a wider range of options and services, so it’s worth considering all your options before making a purchase. Thank you for reading our article and happy decking!

  20. Darren Musgrave
    December 17, 2023

    “Great comparison between composite decking and other common materials! It’s interesting to see how composite decking addresses the issues of durability and maintenance that timber, PVC, and aluminium may face. I’m definitely considering composite decking for my home now. I do have a question about purchasing though, as I want to make sure I’m getting the best product for my money. Overall, a very informative and helpful article. Thank you!”

  21. Paul Lane
    December 31, 2023

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other common materials for outdoor decking. It’s interesting to see how composite decking offers benefits in terms of durability and maintenance compared to timber, PVC, and aluminium. However, I’m wondering about the cost and availability of composite decking. Have you personally used it or know someone who has? Any insights on where to purchase it? Overall, a helpful and informative read for anyone considering decking options for their home.”

  22. SARA ALTIERI
    January 1, 2024

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! It’s impressive to see how composite decking offers durability and low maintenance compared to timber, PVC, and aluminium. I’m definitely considering this option for my outdoor decking. I have a question though, where can I purchase this product? Any personal experience or recommendations from other sources would be helpful. Thanks!”

  23. Stephen Myatt
    January 18, 2024

    I found this article to be highly informative and eye-opening. As someone who is currently in the process of choosing decking materials for my own home, I appreciate the thorough comparison of composite decking with other options such as timber, PVC, and aluminium. The durability and low maintenance of composite decking are major selling points for me, as I want something that will last and won’t require constant upkeep. I also appreciate the mention of potential issues with timber, as I have heard from friends and family about the challenges they have faced with rotting and warping. Overall, this article has helped me make a more informed decision and I will definitely be considering composite decking for my home.

  24. Emma
    January 22, 2024

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! I’ve been considering adding a deck to my home and this article has been really helpful in weighing the pros and cons. I’m especially impressed by the durability and low maintenance of composite decking compared to timber. However, I’m curious about where to purchase composite decking and if there are different options available. Overall, great read for anyone considering outdoor decking options.”

  25. natasha stanbury
    March 12, 2024

    “Great comparison of composite decking with other materials! As someone who is currently in the process of choosing decking for my home, this article was very helpful. I appreciate the breakdown of the pros and cons of each material, especially the durability and maintenance factors. However, I’m curious about the purchasing process for composite decking. Do you have any recommendations or tips? Thank you for sharing this informative piece!”

Leave a Reply