Wood vs Composite Decking

Should we use cedar decking or composite?

This question comes up frequently when our clients are looking to build a new deck or replace an older one. Anybody who has spent an entire year in the Pacific North West knows about the weather. From late fall until late spring, we have tons of cool, wet weather. Add in all the acidic fir, cedar and pine needles blowing down from the majestic trees and it’s easy to see how water management and decay are such big concerns with outdoor structures.

Cedar Decking

As a wood worker, I love the look, feel and smell of cedar. Freshly installed cedar decking looks fantastic! With annual cleaning, upkeep and staining, it can keep a lot of its wonderful appearance. But as a longtime Portland resident, I know what all of those cold drippy and gray days are doing to my deck. It’s not pretty.

Enter Composite decking…

Some years ago, a client of ours was tired of the upkeep of cedar and asked us to build his new deck using composite materials, specifically, Timbertech. As a carpenter and a bit of a purest, I was hesitant, however, I was willing to give it a try. I know my own deck has weathered poorly because I just don’t have the time to maintain it. After I got past the learning curve, I was sold!


Composite Decking

Composite decking is quite attractive and comes in a huge array of colors. And you can’t beat the durability. It resist stains, scratches and fading and can stand up to the elements as it resists mold, mildew and moisture damage. And quite honestly, the very best part, is the low maintenance…no annual cleaning, staining or sealing!

Comparison Chart

I have created a simple chart to compare wood vs. composite decking. As I look at it now, I suspect it is somewhat biased towards composite decking. That tells you how good it is. I hope that the woodworking gods will forgive me.

So…wood or composite?

Building or replacing a deck is a big investment and it is important to consider both wood and composite options. For the purest and homeowner who has the time and interest, truly, there is nothing better than the look and feel of a cedar deck. We at Cedar Mill Craftworks would love to build you one, it has been awhile. But more and more I am hearing, “Tom, I am just tired of cleaning and staining my deck every year.” If this is you, then composite is the way to go.

Either way, we’d love to help you assess your situation. We are happy to come out, have a look and bring composite samples so you can explore this option. Give me a call at 503-780-0554 or hit the LET’S GET STARTED! button. We look forward to hearing from you!