Wood And Composite Decking Comparison

Why Is Composite Decking Better Than Wood?

Wood And Composite Decking Comparison

What Is The Price Difference Between Wood And Composite Decking?

Composite is more expensive than standard pine and cedar wood decks. How much more expensive? There are many variables that affect the final installed price, so it's difficult to provide figures without evaluating a homeowner's individual needs. However, before a homeowner is ready for an actual estimate, we are able to tell them WHY there is a difference in price. If you're currently researching installing a new deck, the initial outlay is only a part of the big picture. Here's what else you need to know.

Upfront Material & Installation Costs

wood and composite decking comparisonLet's look at a hypothetical deck build scenario here in Naperville. A homeowner wants to build a standard deck and wants to choose between pressure treated pine and composite. For the sake of having numbers to compare, we'll say the pine deck costs $6,000 installed and the composite deck $10,000. While a difference of $4,000 upfront may in fact be cost-prohibitive for some homeowners, the difference often becomes nominal when considering the positive impact of long term value-add, enhanced durability and very low maintenance required.

Durability & Lifespan

Not only is composite eco-friendly since it doesn't require cutting trees down, it's also far more durable than wood. Composite is not subject to the same issues wood deck owners may run into, such as splintering, rotting, warping, fading and insect infestation. A manmade material, composite decks generally last 25-30 years or longer. A pressure-treated wood deck requires annual maintenance to protect it against the elements. Also the organic nature of wood means it will eventually fail and require replacement. Expect a wood deck to last around 10-15 years. When you take into consideration that you may have to buy two wood decks over the lifespan of one composite deck, the cost puts composite in the lead.

Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Lastly, when you're comparing wood and composite decks, you have to factor in ongoing maintenance time and costs. Composite decks need nothing more than annual washings to keep dirt and mildew off. Wood decks require annual washing, staining and sealing, plus sanding about every 3-5 years depending on level of exposure to the elements. While power washing, sanding, staining and sealing your own deck is a feasible DIY job, it's tedious and time-consuming, and many homeowners prefer to hire a professional to avoid the hassle. The cost to have a deck professionally washed, stained and sealed averages about $1.00 per square foot (SF). With a 400 SF deck, estimate cost range to be between $500 and $750 annually to maintain (includes material & labor costs). Approximate a minimum of $5,000+ over the course of the deck's lifespan which is more than the cost of a composite deck which lasts longer than ten years!

ProTek Is Your Choice For Composite Decks In Naperville

If it's time for a deck check, contact ProTek Construction for a FREE evaluation and estimate. With hundreds of happy customers in the Chicagoland area, we are committed to 100% customer satisfaction. We provide competitive pricing on deck materials and construction, offering products from the top manufacturers in the composite industry. Most importantly, we stand by our work with an industry leading,15 year warranty on our craftsmanship!

Contact us at 331-444-7380 to schedule a free deck evaluation, and mention code DECK200 to receive $200 off any approved decking project.

Why Is Composite Decking Better Than Wood?

Why Is Composite Decking Better Than Wood?

When you begin researching deck materials, you're going to find a lot of information comparing wood and composites. While you should always make an informed choice based on your particular situation and budget, we believe that composite material has some marked advantages over wood that are important to note.

How It's Made

First, it's important to understand what exactly composite lumber is. Composite material is made from a mixture of wood flour - made from wood scraps from lumber and recycled wooden doors and window frames; and polyethylene (plastic) - often made from recycled plastic bottles and bags. The materials are mixed together and dyed to get various shades of wood tones such as redwood, cedar, tropical hardwoods and even modern gray palettes. The mixture is poured into molds that will create various sizes and shapes of boards, railings and steps. Another method of forming is through extrusion, where the material is pushed through a shape. However, this method creates waste that must be melted down and reused.


composite deckingBecause composite decking is mostly a plastic, non-organic material, it is not susceptible to the same issues as wood such as rot, mold, warping, splintering and insect infestation. Because of this, a high-quality composite deck that has been professionally installed can last 25-30 years or even longer. For homeowners who plan to stay in their home indefinitely, composite means years of worry-free deck ownership and zero fear of splinters!


Unlike wood, which must be sealed every year and sanded around every 6 years, composite decking needs nothing more than a good washing every year. If you have a darker color composite, you should also consider using a sealer every couple years to minimize fading. While you may still see mildew spots in damp areas, these can be easily washed away using a solution suggested by the manufacturer. Unlike wood, the mold or mildew is only on the surface of the composite and does not cause rot that compromises the integrity of the material.


Many composite manufacturers make products that are considered eco-friendly because of their minimal impact on the environment. Unlike wood decks whose planks must be harvested from full-grown trees, composite manufacturers use recycled plastics and scrap wood to make the ingredients for their products. Some brands go so far as to only use recycled materials from local sources and have perfected virtually waste-free manufacturing processes. This diverts an incredible amount of potential waste from the local landfills and turns it into a quality product that will provide enjoyment to homeowners for years to come.


With the exception of exotic ipe hardwood which can last as long as 75 years, composite decks are more expensive than all other deck woods like pine, cedar and redwood. The reason? It lasts twice as long, if not longer, is virtually maintenance free, and requires a more sophisticated level of installation. However, when homeowners crunch the numbers and take into account the ongoing maintenance and required labor of wood compared to its relatively short life span, composite comes up the winner every single time, making it worth the initial outlay.

ProTek Construction Is Your Source For Quality Composite Decking In Naperville

If you're considering installing a new deck or updating an aging one on your Chicagoland home, make your first call to ProTek. We offer a free onsite consultation, where we will evaluate your space, your style, your personal preferences and your budget to make a recommendation for a deck you will love. Contact us at 331-444-7380 to schedule your free consultation. Mention code COMPOSITE10 to receive 10% off an approved decking project.