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Should you get Wood or Composite Decking?

Alex Bushell

Created at: Nov 02, 2018

Last updated: Jan 16, 2020

Care Conservation Decking Garden Landscaping Popular Technical

What is composite wood decking?

Wood-polymer decking (WPC decking) is made up of wood fibres, plastics and a small number of bonding agents. At EnviroBuild, all these materials are environmentally friendly. Our wood is recycled and a 100% FSC certified, also the High-Density Polyethylene used in our boards are recycled.

The wood fibres, plastics, and the bonding agent are all mixed together, heated and then shaped into board shaped lengths.

Wood composite decking requires less maintenance than wood boards and looks more authentic than plastic alternatives. Our Pioneer range also has a reversible design allowing you to choose between a natural wood pattern or a grooved board.

Reversible Pioneer oak decking

Is wood cheaper than composite decking?

Wooden decking is commonly seen as the cheaper, more conventional route to obtaining your garden deck. The initial cost of a quality WPC deck may thus seem expensive compared to a wooden one, but the investment is one that is guaranteed to pay off.

Wood-plastic composite decking is famous for its longevity, a quality that traditional wooden decking often lacks. Customers often find that they have to replace their wooden deck in as little as five to ten years if strict maintenance routines aren’t kept up. 

Our quality Hyperion decking ranges are low maintenance and won’t splinter wrap and rot, which is often the case with wooden boards. This is backed up by our long-lasting residential warranties of 25 years on our Frontier range and 15 years on our Pioneer range. As a result, you are safe from additional costs and worries that you would face annually due to necessary wooden deck maintenance. 

Graph which shows the lifetime costs of softwood, hardwood and composite decking

*Costs for a 15sqm deck without substructure. Includes cost of deck boards, installation and cleaning materials needed for annual maintenance.

How much money would I save on maintenance?

The maintenance needed to maintain a traditional timber decking varies on the type of wood it is made from. Treatments usually range from yearly re-oiling and re-finishing to re-painting; the long term costs of which can be huge when considering the materials involved can cost over £150 per treatment. The lifetime cost of composite decking is undoubtedly lower.

WPC decking is low maintenance and unlike its wooden alternative, rarely needs more than a gentle hosing down once to twice a year. Not only does this mean you do not have to worry about spending money on re-treating or replacing wood boards, but you also can save time and energy that would be better spent enjoying your deck.

What is the cost on the environment?

Finally, there’s the hidden cost of the environmental damage that wooden decks cause to our planet. Although some companies are FSC certified, softwood and hardwood both lead to deforestation and the loss of crucial habitats to wildlife across the world leaving many animals struggling to survive purely for the purpose of wooden decking.

Elephant bathing in riverCourtesy of The Rainforest Trust:  www.rainforesttrust.org/project/saving-sumatras-rarest-wildlife

It’s a cost that we at EnviroBuild take seriously and take great lengths to avoid by opting to use recycled materials in all our products and ensuring that all recycled wood in our products is FSC certified. Our composite wood decking, for example, is made from 60% recycled wood (FSC 100% Certified) and 40% recycled High-Density Polyethylene, environmentally friendly bonding agent, additives and tint. On top of this, we also donate 10% of all profits to the Rainforest Trust UK to help become a carbon negative business.