If you're thinking of adding a deck to your outdoor space, there are a number of different materials for you to choose from - including hardwood, softwood and composite wood decking.
100% wood deck boards have a number of benefits. Timber decking suppliers frequently trumpet the virtues of their 'natural' and 'organic' products...but they're far less likely to mention the drawbacks of real wood decking.
If you want a simple life, composite decking (a low-maintenance alternative to traditional wood decking) may just be perfect for you. Read on to find out why wood-plastic deck boards are generally preferable to all-wood products.
Softwood vs composite decking
Softwood decking is a popular option that's aesthetically pleasing and costs less than hardwood decking (more on which in a moment).
But using softwood boards to build your garden deck can lead to a number of issues. For one thing, softwood decking can be quite tricky to fit, with the natural knots in the wood resulting in a surprising amount of wastage. What's more, the lifespan of softwood decking is notably shorter than that of other, tougher materials - materials like composite decking.
If outdoor deck boards can be judged on how well they stand up to the elements, softwood unfortunately doesn't score all that well. Softwood boards are naturally absorbent, making them very susceptible to warping as well as algae and mould (potentially turning your lovely softwood deck into a slip hazard).
Softwood deck boards are prone to cracking and splintering very easily. They also need regular staining and sealing in order to keep them looking respectable.
All of this means that DeckPlus composite decking - which requires virtually zero maintenance, and doesn't crack or splinter - is almost always preferable to softwood decking.
Hardwood vs composite decking
Though more expensive than softwood, hardwood decking is superior to its softer sibling in most other respects. Hardwood deck boards last longer and tend to be of a higher quality...yet they still come up short when compared to high-quality composite decking products.
For a long time, hardwood decking was the UK's preferred decking material. In recent years, however, composite decking seems to have surpassed it in both popularity and performance.
Hardwood decking boards are:
- Prone to cracks and splinters over time
- Susceptible to algae growth, which can make them slippery
- Not as low-maintenance as composite decking
Hardwood decking is also more difficult to install, with wood knots once again resulting in lots of offcuts and wasted wood.
To make matters worse, hardwood decking tends to come from tropical environments, making the wood decking industry a contributor to deforestation - bad news if you're concerned about the environment.
Finally, you should remember that a hardwood deck will require continuous treatment throughout its lifetime to keep the boards in tip-top condition, demanding more time and effort (and money!) from you.
Is composite decking better than wood?
Yes, we believe so.
Made using a combination of reclaimed wood fibres and recycled plastics, our composite deck boards are:
- Easy to install
- Exceptionally durable
- Resistant to chips, stains, slips and frost
Perhaps best of all, composite decking is extremely low-maintenance. Sealing and staining are not necessary - your composite deck will retain its appearance for many years to come with very little effort on your part.
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SEE ALSO: How Long Does DeckPlus Composite Decking Last?