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Plastic Decking Vs. Wooden Decking, Which Is The Right For Me?

Feb 2018


Plastic decking.. Is that really a thing?

 

It sure is! Decking materials is a whole other world, and if you’re not a fan of the authentic wooden deck, then there are lots of other options.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves (you’re welcome) to write a smaller comparison of wooden versus plastic decking. If you’re not sure what deck materials really tickle your fancy, or which are right for your garden – then stay tuned because we’re about to run through the pros and cons of plastic vs. wooden decking.

 

Wooden Decking 2 Stewart Timber

 

Plastic Decking

 

A lot of people confuse plastic with composite decking, but there’s a few key differences. Composite boards are made by combining polymers with real wood, making them hybrid, or ‘semi-synthetic’ if you will. Plastic boards are entirely synthetic. In this article, we’ll just be comparing plastic with wood. Composite decking is for another day, and another blog article.

Pros

  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Lightweight
  • Highly stain- resistant
  • Doesn’t require polish, finish or any sort of treatment
  • Won’t splinter, or crack
  • Most plastic lumber is made from recycled polyethylene (old shampoo and milk bottles) making it eco friendly
  • Weather resistant
  • Resists insect infestation
  • Fireproof

Cons

  • Comes as a whole ‘system’, and must be installed with strict adherence to the instructions
  • Often requires purchasing special fasteners, fascia boards and trim pieces
  • Requires a stronger substructure than wood as the boards themselves are less durable
  • Although technology is booming, the colours and textures still do not bear much resemblance with wood

 

Wooden decking

 

The first oceanside boardwalk in the States, The Atlantic City Boardwalk, was made of wood, and according to studies wood continues to be the top choice for most residential decking projects.

 

Atlantic City Boardwalk, Stewart Timber

 

We’re of course biased here at Stewart Timber, because we are wood- enthusiasts, but we think it’s hard to beat a well maintained wooden deck. A deck made from untreated wood can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years, and one from treated wood – up to 50 years! That’s basically a lifetime!

In the world of wooden decks, the natural wood is the most demanding. It requires an annual refreshing (sometimes including sanding), removal of finish and last but not least – application of new finish. Although this might sound a bit intense, it’s not such a big deal when you’re in it. And the result will make your wooden deck look as good as new, year after year. We reckon if you’re just a little bit handy, it’s worth the hassle.

Pros

  • Wood is the real deal. If you’re looking for a deck that looks and smells authentic – then get yourself a wooden deck
  • The wood has a natural warm look
  • Wooden boards are often some of the most inexpensive decking boards
  • Even on a warm day (although they don’t come around too often here in Cumbernauld) a wooden deck will keep a comfortable temperature, whereas plastic can get uncomfortably warm
  • Wooden materials are both renewable and recyclable

Cons

  • Availability and price are determined by location.
  • Ill maintained wooden decking can split crack and change colour
  • Sometimes, even well maintained decking can split crack and change colour
  • Keeping a wooden deck looking and feeling new, can take quite a bit of maintenance and elbow grease.
  • Good maintenance including stain, finish etc. can be expensive

 

Wooden Decking Stewart Timber

 

Cost

 

The upfront cost of plastic decking tends to be more expensive than the price of wooden decking. The minimal maintenance means that the upfront cost is likely to be the only time you need to cash out on your plastic deck.

Although wooden decking comes at a lower upfront cost, the cost of maintenance will accumulate. Whilst a plastic deck requires nothing but a good wash once in a while, the cost of maintaining, if you’re maintaining it properly, can be a significant expense.

 

Ready for your new deck?

 

When choosing your garden deck you need to consider how you’d like it to look, how much work you are wanting to put into it, and how much you are willing to spend. Choose accordingly.

All our decking boards here at Stewart Timber are made from Swedish red pine, and all are pressure treated to protect from insects, moist and normal decay. If you’ve got plans to build a wooden deck this spring, we’d recommend you check out our decking calculator! You give us the specifications of what you’d like your deck to be like, we give you a no obligation quote. Easy peasy 🙂

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