Chances are you already have some experience with a wood deck. You have seen the boards split, crack and splinter from the sun and weather exposure. You’ve seen the boards and nails start pulling up and you may have even stubbed your toe on one! You’ve probably spent more than one long, hot weekend out there sanding and sealing your wood deck trying to get it back to some sort of presentable shape so that it keeps up with the rest of your well-kept home.
The primary advantage of using wood decking and wood railing boils down to one thing – the cost. Pressure treated wood is cheap and it gets the job done. Beyond that, it is difficult to come up with any other reasons to use it when you consider how quickly pressure treated decking begins to doing all the things nature designed it to do- split, crack and rot.
Composite decking is now in its fourth and fifth generation. Initial composite deck products had problems – lots of problems! Manufacturers were all racing to get products into the marketplace and were figuring things out as they went. Most first generation composite decks built in the early 2000’s have either failed or been replaced. Many people give composite decking a bad wrap and rightly so, because those early products deserved it. The internet is full of people complaining about first generation composite deck boards when you research it. Those complaints never go away but the manufacturers have addressed all of the shortcomings of past generations and perform exceptionally well today.
At CMR we primarily install composite decking. These boards come with 25-year no fade/no stain warranties which is really a testament to their true performance. The value these products add to your home is measurable. Compared to wood decking (which typically has no warranty), the advantages of composite decking far out weight the wood decking advantages.
- WARRANTY: All composite decking and deck flooring we use comes with a performance and labor warranty. Wood does not.
- DURABILITY: Composite decks are designed to look like perfectly stained and maintained tropical hardwood for 25 years (with washing being the only required maintenance). Wood requires sanding, cleaning, staining and sealing yearly to keep from turning into a disaster. Composite decking is also much denser than most typical wood decking. In short, it is much tougher than wood.
- FIT AND FINISH: Since composite decking and deck flooring is manufactured, it has tighter tolerances and quality control than wood decking. This means that we can install it much more precisely and uniformly than wood. Wood naturally warps, twists and splits as Mother Nature intended it to.
- HIDDEN FASTENERS: All composite deck products we use are installed with hidden fasteners for a beautiful fastener-free surface. Wood decking can be installed with hidden fasteners however the fasteners can cost more than the decking which stops most people from using them.
- LOOKS: It’s fair to say that it is really difficult to trick someone into thinking a composite deck is a wood deck from a looks perspective. The reason for this is that no wood deck ever looks quite as good as a composite deck so the “perfection” of its color, grain and uniformity is the tip off to your brain that it’s not the inconsistent, warped, and cracked wood deck you’ve come to associate with what makes a deck a deck. Composite decks look great for the long haul with very low maintenance over the years. Wood degrades and its long-term maintenance is a hidden cost not enough people consider.