Well-designed and properly-installed decking can add value to a property. It can also improve the quality of life for the homeowner, who will have additional space to relax, entertain, and spend time with their family.
There are different reasons why consumers might choose between deck board materials, and this guide will look at some of the most important of these, as well as the cost.
Composite decking is a more expensive option than wood decking. We look at why this is the case and why investing in composite decking is a wise choice.
The Difference Between Wood Vs Composite Decking
So why is composite decking more expensive than timber alternatives? By looking at the most important features of these two decking options, we will be able to break down the most significant differences between them.
Between the cost of materials and installation costs, investing in decking can be a big decision. Ensuring you make the right choice for your needs is essential.
One of the most important factors that many consumers will look at when buying decking is its durability.
Because composite boards are made from reclaimed wood fibres, recycled plastic, and a bonding agent, this makes them much more suitable for the UK climate than wood decks.
Composite decking does not warp, split, or splinter. This makes it perfect for decking, where family members or pets can walk barefoot without the risk of cuts and splinters.
Another benefit composite boards have over timber is that they don’t rot. Rot is primarily caused by moisture, and even wood decking that is regularly treated can be susceptible in damp climates.
Pests like woodworm can also cause issues with wood decks, and this is not an issue for composite. Composite is relatively scuff and scratch-proof as well, ensuring your decking looks great for years to come.
On average, traditional timber decking will last for between 10 and 15 years. The Clarity and Forma composite decking options available at Ecoscape offer 20 and 25-year warranties. This guarantees as much as twice the lifetime of some wooden decking options.
Maintaining composite decking is relatively straightforward. Regular brushing to remove dirt and debris from the surface and minimise the risk of drainage issues is advised.
Cleaning composite decks should consist of brushing the deck and scrubbing it with warm, soapy water before hosing it down.
Wooden decking requires significantly more care, and this can be both time-consuming and expensive.
Wooden deck boards need to be sanded, stained, and sealed. This can take a lot of time, especially if your deck area is large. Special cleaning solutions may be required to keep mould and mildew at bay as well.
Even with a high level of maintenance, boards can still warp, split, splinter, or rot. This can result in replacement boards being required.
The time, inconvenience, and the cost of supplies needed to maintain wooden decking make it a questionable choice for the UK climate.
While drainage is essential for all decking, timber fares significantly worse in wet conditions.
The safety of your decking should be paramount, and the installation should ensure it is safe and secure; and finding a slip-resistant deck board is a must.
The decking options at Ecoscape undergo rigorous testing, including slip resistance tests, to guarantee high performance.
Ensuring the decking is clear of dirt, debris, and standing water will also minimise the risk of slips.
Wood decking options that are treated should offer slip resistance, but mould, algae, moss, and mildew can all grow on it when it is damp or dirty, making it slippery underfoot.
The appearance of your decking will make a big difference to the appearance of your home and garden.
Composite decking comes in a variety of colours, with the Ecoscape Forma range also offering a colour guarantee. This is great for anyone concerned that their decking might fade over time.
The Ecoscape Forma composite decking range also comes with a 25-year warranty. So, it is important for consumers to have peace of mind and know that their decking will still look great after all that time.
The Ecoscape composite decking range comes with a natural wood look and is available with wide grooves on one side and narrow grooves on the other.
Natural wood, like hardwood, looks great. There is no getting around that fact, and hardwoods come with rich natural colours.
Soft woods are also appealing but are much more likely to be knocked or scraped. Pressure-treated wood can be stained easily, but this will require regular upkeep.
As much as real wood looks great and can be stained, the upkeep can be inconvenient.
Wood and Composite Decking Costs Compared
Now that you know a little more about the benefits of investing in composite over a wood deck, you should see the costs, so you are able to make an informed decision that suits your needs and budget.
Prices are typical of the materials being looked at. However, depending on the supplier, there may be some variations to cost.
The Cost of Wood Decking
When compared to composite decking, wood can either be a lot cheaper or considerably more expensive; the cost of wood decking will vary between the different types. Within the categories below, there will be other choices to make so that prices can vary considerably.
- Softwood (pressure treated) Decking Cost – £20 to £35 per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres between £300 to £525.
- Pine (pressure treated) Decking Cost– £22 to £38 per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres between £330 to £570.
- Redwood Decking Cost – £20 to £35 – per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres between £300 to £525.
- Cedar Decking Cost – £60 to £110 – per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres between £900 to £1650.
- Hardwood Decking Cost – £50 to £120 – per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres between £750 to £1800.
- Teak Solid Wood Decking Cost – £50 to £70 – per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres between £750 to £1,050.
The Cost of Composite Decking
- Uncapped hollow core decking costs around £40 per square metre on average. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres roughly £600.
- Uncapped solid core decking costs around £60 per square metre on average. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres roughly £900.
- Capped solid core decking costs – on average around £80 per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres roughly £1,200.
- PVC decking costs – on average around £40 – per square metre. This makes the cost of a small garden decking area of 15 square metres roughly £600.
- *prices above are based on the current market and not aimed at a particular supplier.
The cost of your deck board might be the highest cost of having decking installed, but it isn’t the only one.
Supporting your decking is essential, and your subframe will have to be strong and sturdy.
There are different subframe materials that will suit different budgets and weight-bearing needs.
Wooden subframes are the easiest to construct and typically last between 5 and 10 years. This is the shortest timeframe for any subframe because the wood can rot, warp, or twist at this time.
Drainage is especially important to the longevity of a wooden subframe as the degradation of the wood is speeded up by continual exposure to water.
The cost of a wooden subframe for a 15-square-metre decking area would typically fall between £500 to £700.
A composite subframe will have a similar cost to a timber subframe of around £500 to £700 for a 15 square metre decking area.
Composite decking should outperform timber subframes significantly, lasting around 25 years.
Some maintenance may be required to ensure the subframe lasts as long as possible. However, like composite deck boards, little maintenance is required compared to timber.
Plastic subframes are competitively priced. Ecoscape can provide a 50x50mm plastic joist for £8.98 +vat (50x50x2400mm length).
A plastic subframe for a 15-square-metre decking area starts from £200 +vat.
This option typically offers longevity because plastic will not rot, and it can last up to 25 years.
Aluminium subframes offer unparalleled strength and support. Unfortunately, aluminium is slightly harder to purchase and is slightly more expensive than timber and composite.
You could expect to pay from £350 +vat , and you can expect a lifespan of around 25 years with minimal maintenance.
On average, you should expect to pay around £200 per day in the UK on labour.
A small deck area of 15 square metres can typically be completed within 1 to 2 days costing between £200 and £400.
Getting quotes from a number of local specialists will help you get a better idea of the pricing in your area.
Is it cheaper to install a deck with an existing deck in place?
It can save money if you have an existing subframe that is suitable for your new deck.
If you are getting a new deck installed, you will want it to last as long as possible. An existing deck might not have a life span as long as the new decking, making it a poor choice. This is likely to be the case if it is a timber subframe.
If your installer has to remove an existing deck and subframe or repair an existing subframe, this can drive the cost up.
What is the longest-lasting decking type?
Steel decking is a long-lasting decking type and can last as long as 60 years.
There are a number of great composite decking options that can last as long as 30 to 50 years when cared for properly.
How can I prolong the life of my deck?
The best way to prolong the life of a deck is to clean it regularly.
Keeping it clear of dirt and debris will allow the deck’s drainage to work properly.
Another way that decking can be further protected is by covering it with an awning, shade sail, pergola, or roof extension. This can help to protect it from the elements and ensure it remains in great condition.
What is the best way to save money on decking?
The best way to save money on decking is by installing it yourself.
You should only embark on a decking project like this if you are confident that you can install it safely and correctly. Following the supplier’s instructions will ensure the correct steps are taken.
Incorrectly installing decking can be expensive and time-consuming to repair, and it can also compromise the safety of the decking area.
Choosing between composite decking and wood decking will always be down to your own personal preference. However, when you consider the benefits that a composite deck offers over other decking materials, it is easy to see why it is so popular.
While composite materials can be a more expensive choice initially, maintenance costs and the time it takes to treat and clean authentic wood decking material makes it a worthy investment.
Composite decking can also last as much as twice the length of time that wood decking will. The durability, slip-resistant properties, and great appearance of composite decking also make it one of the most popular options in the UK.