Most Nashville-area homeowners are aware that composite/synthetic decks are more expensive than those built with the most commonly-used wood, pressure-treated pine. What you may not know, however, is how to evaluate the advantages of choosing one of the low-maintenance wood alternatives on the market today. When custom designing your deck, Archadeck of Nashville can help you navigate the options and weigh the pros and cons of choosing wood decking or composites.
First, to clear up a point of confusion, composite decking and synthetic decking, both wood alternatives, are not exactly the same. Several manufacturers such as TimberTech offer both options. Composite decking is made from wood fibers and plastic and is capped on three sides or four sides for protection from moisture. Synthetic decking is made from PVC, entirely plastic, and protected with a durable cap on all sides. These wood alternative decking boards were developed to withstand the effects of weather and UV rays—effects that cause wood decks to deteriorate over time.
Many of our clients have asked us, are composite deck boards worth the money? When advising homeowners, we always enquire how long they intend to stay in their present home. Low-maintenance composite and synthetic decks will last a good while longer—and look great longer—than wood decks. If you don’t plan to stay in the home long enough to reap those long-term benefits, a wood deck will be more cost-effective for you.
If your primary concern is price, and you plan to stay in your home, you must consider the cost of owning a wooden deck. The initial investment, with wood, is lower than what you would pay for a custom composite deck, that’s true. Owners of wood decks incur deck maintenance costs over time, however, that composite deck owners do not. In order to keep a wood deck from looking weather-worn, you need to have it sanded, stained and sealed every couple of years. These costs add up over the life of your deck.
Many homeowners who choose a wood deck to save money lose enthusiasm when the effort and cost of wood deck maintenance take their toll. This is what we refer to as the cost of wood deck ownership. The most substantial cost of owning a wood deck—even more than regular maintenance—is the cost of replacing it.
Consider this: wood deck maintenance does more than restore a deck’s appearance. With proper maintenance, a wood deck will last longer, perhaps 15 years. Without proper maintenance, the wood fibers deteriorate more quickly, because the wood becomes vulnerable to moisture and UV rays. Wood that’s not properly sealed every year or two will be more likely to splinter and more susceptible to mold and other damage. A wood deck that’s not maintained will need to be replaced sooner. In that case, you must add replacement costs to the cost of your wood deck. How much have you really saved?
Today’s composite and synthetic decks will last (and look great) from 25-30 years (composite) or possibly as long as 50 years (PVC). During that time, not only will a homeowner have paid for wood deck maintenance many times over, they will also have to replace the wood deck. One composite deck will likely last as long as two wood decks. One synthetic (PVC) deck may outlast three wood decks.
Note that we are referring to the life expectancy of today’s composite decking. Manufacturers of composite decking have improved their products since the technology was first developed more than 20 years ago. One result is that they’ve extended the life expectancy of their decking boards. Some homeowners who purchased the first generation of composite decking are now replacing those decks. Nevertheless, they have still outlived their wooden counterparts.
While the initial investment in a composite deck is higher, the cost of ownership is lower than that of a wood deck. The savings benefit is compounded over time. The longer you own a composite or synthetic deck, the more you benefit, financially, from choosing to build with a wood alternative. In relation to the ownership costs of a wood deck, a composite or synthetic deck will save you money over a period of time.
As low maintenance deck builders, at Archadeck of Nashville we know that price is not your only concern. How do you decide if a composite deck is better than a wood deck? We have worked with homeowners who prefer the aesthetics of natural wood over composites. They accept the responsibilities of wood deck maintenance because they prefer the look and feel of wood.
Today’s composite and synthetic decking boards, however, look and feel more like wood than the earliest composites did. Many of our clients are pleasantly surprised at how “natural” these wood alternatives seem now. Composites come in a wide range of colors and textures. They are not all the same.
Composite decking comes with other advantages, too. These boards don’t warp or splinter, so you and your children can walk barefoot on the deck in comfort. Best of all, Archadeck of Nashville’s composite decks are low-maintenance decks. To keep your composite deck looking beautiful, you should hose it off periodically. Then, clean it once in a while with mild soap and a soft brush or sponge. The effort required to clean a composite deck is drastically less taxing—and less expensive—than the upkeep wood decks require.
— A low-maintenance deck leaves more time for the “living” part of being outdoors.
Advantages? A custom low-maintenance deck requires no sanding, staining, sealing or painting. Your composite deck won’t have splinters, cracks or other structural damage due to exposure. We like those advantages! At Archadeck of Nashville, we believe that the benefits of investing in a composite/synthetic deck outweigh the costs in the long run. What’s more, composite decks are environmentally friendly because they’re made from recycled materials.
Contact us today to schedule your deck design consultation. You can reach us by calling the number to the right or send us an email at [email protected] or fill out the form at the top right and we will get in touch with you very shortly.