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A Composite Deck or a Natural Wood Deck, THAT is the Question

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Every homeowner’s dream deck lasts for many years with minimal maintenance.  While both composite deck materials (like Trex®, Deckorators®, and TimberTech®) and natural wood deck materials can be used to create beautiful, durable decking, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the different building materials before beginning your Kansas City deck building project.        

Let’s take a look at the PROS of deck building with natural wood:

Low cost – at first.  Choices of wood can vary in price, but all-in-all, natural timber is less expensive in up-front costs than composite decking.     

Broader range of choices.  Natural wood boasts a wide variety of styles and colors, plus it can be stained or painted.

Cool and flexible.  Compared to composite, natural wood is better at resisting heat and stays cooler when subjected to direct sunlight.  It can also be sanded and resurfaced if changes or spot repairs are needed.

… And the CONS of natural wood:

Safety first!  Splinters, chemical treatments, and sealants could be a cause for concern with natural wood.  Decks treated with moisture resistant coatings can be slippery, which may make them unsafe for pets, children, and the elderly. (Keep in mind though, a reputable and licensed KC deck contractor should take measures to address this)

Weather happens.  Moisture and humidity cause natural wood to expand and contract, which leads to warping and even mold growth.  If these symptoms are ignored, rot will set in and cause structural damage.  PRO TIP: If you strongly prefer natural wood, cedar decking material is often a great choice as it delivers less than half the swelling and shrinking tendencies of other domestic softwoods.

Keep up with the upkeep.  Compared to composite decks, natural wood requires significantly more care and maintenance to preserve its beauty and wellbeing.  It must be re-stained and resealed regularly to ensure it is protected against the elements, then stripped every few years and occasionally sanded.  Regular repairs are unavoidable.  

What Are the Advantages of Composite Decking?

Practically bullet proof.  Composite wood resists stains, water, insects, and fading.  If it is installed and capped off properly by a top Kansas City deck builder like All Weather Decks, warping and mold will not be a problem.     

Low maintenance.  Composite decking requires much less care and maintenance than natural wood because it does not need to be stained and sealed.  

Environmentally friendly.  Composite wood is usually sourced from recycled material, which in turn reduces the demand and production of chemical stains and sealants.

Grill on!  Here’s one most people never think about, but composite decking is resistant to catching fire, and some brands can even be used in areas where the risks of fire danger are high.

Peace of mind.  Most composite wood carries a 25-year warranty.

Are There any Downsides to using Composite Decking Materials?

For all the advantages, there are some potential downsides to consider.

More expensive – at first.  Composite decking material is more expensive to purchase than natural wood, but it pays for itself over time because it requires less maintenance.  If you’re focused on value over the long term, it’s almost always a great choice. 

Less forgiving.  Composite wood cannot be sanded or resurfaced to improve its overall appearance, meaning scuffs and scrapes will remain.  In addition, it retains more heat under direct sunlight, and may swell when subjected to moisture if cut areas are not capped properly (make sure you go with a reputable KC deck builder for any composite deck build!)

In Conclusion:  

Life is full of choices, right?  Building your perfect deck is no different!

Composite wood is best for those who want that polished, high-end look without the regular maintenance required of a natural wood deck. However, if your deck is going to be in direct sunlight, you may want to choose to build with natural wood because of its ability to remain cooler in Kansas City’s hottest months.

Should you decide to build a natural wood deck, it is smart to go with a weather-resistant timber such as cedar or Brazilian ipe.  These woods look and feel beautiful and resist warping, cracking, and other moisture damage.  However, be aware that these types of wood are on the pricier side.   

Now that you know the pros and cons surrounding natural and composite wood, you can make a sound decision that will lead to enjoying a beautiful deck for many years to come.