Is Composite Decking, Worth the Cost (Yes? No?)


A very common object when I am presenting a deck estimate for a composite deck is cost. Even with a wide range of price points for composite decking, cost is still a factor to consider.

Raising the question. Is composite decking worth the cost?

The cost of composite decking is worth the cost with minimal maintenance, being barefoot-friendly, durability and longevity.  Composite decking is not worth it if you plan to move soon.

After building many decks, both composite and pressure treated. These are the most common ways that composite decking is worth and not worth the cost.

Giving me, a few minutes, and I will explain fuller when composite decking is worth it. And when you should go with a more economical option.

Before justifying the cost of composite decking, I need to highlight the fact that there is a wide range of prices for composite decking. Prices can range from close to pressure treated at $2 lineal foot to much more. I wrote an entire article talking about the cost of composite deckingOpens in a new tab.. Click the link to see prices and over 30 specific composite deck boards costs.

How Composite Decking is Worth the Cost

The question of how much composite decking is worth is largely a question of time.

What is your time worth?

The more your time is worth. The more composite decking is worth.

What I mean is one of the most significant benefits of composite decking is low maintenance.

Maintenance is a big-time suck, but with composite, there is less.

Composite Decking Is Worth the Cost by Buying You More Time

There are two ways that composite decking will give you more time.

Composite decking doesn’t require annual staining. Even if you use high-quality stains promising to last for years.  It is still more than composite. Composite decking will never need to be stained.

Never!

Never Ever!

You Will Never Need to Spend a Weekend Staining Your Composite Decking!

However, you do the math. Is it 25 weekends every spring over the life of your deck?

Even if you are lucky and only need to stain every 5 years. That is still at least 5 weekends in the next 25 years.

However many it is. With composite decking you can spend those saved weekends can be spent enjoying your deck, hanging out with friends, or quality weekends with your kids or spouse. The extra weekend are gold. Pure gold.

Worth the cost of composite.

Not only does composite decking save you time with annual maintenance, but frustration in cleaning. Decks are great for enjoying meals outdoors. But with food comes spills and spills requiring cleaning.

With modern capped composite decking, cleaning is as easy as cleaning your vinyl floor.

Often cleaning is a simple as dish soap and water. A simple wipe, and you are done. No fancy chemicals, special tools. Just a squirt of Dawn in a bucket, fill with water and a cloth from the kitchen, and you are good to go.

“The Product will resist permanent staining from food and beverage items that may be spilled onto the surface of the Product, including items such as condiments (barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise), salad dressing and salad oils, grease, tea, wine, coffee, fruit punch, sodas and other food and beverage related items that would typically be present on a residential deck, provided that such substances are removed from the Product with soap and water or mild household cleaners after no more than one (1) week of exposure of the substances to the surface of the Product.”

TimberTech AzekOpens in a new tab.

Saving hours of frustration trying to scrub grease out of the wood.

Even annual cleaning is often simply spraying of dirt and grime with a garden hose, and you’re done. Use of a brush with a long handle can help to scrub off any hard hard to remove grime.

You can even use a power washer with a wand tip, with the appropriate pressure.

Regardless of how you clean your composite deckingOpens in a new tab..

Composite decking is worth more because of less time and effort in cleaning. 

Composite Decking is Worth It On Your Bare Feet

Decks are about relaxing, and what better way to relax than to kick off your shoes.

Composite decking is excellent for shoeless fun outdoors.

There are a few ways that composite decking is barefoot friendly.

  • Safe on feet
  • Comfortable underfoot
  • Traction

Composite decking does not have splinters or protruding fasteners to hurt your feet.

The texture of composite has a good feel underfoot. I particularly like the wire brush finishes of TimberTech decking. But most composite feels good to the touch.

No buddy wants to be slipping and sliding on their deck. Composite decking provides excellent tractionOpens in a new tab., especially PVC deck boards. Click the link to compare 12 popular boards’ traction ratings.

Durability Makes Composite Decking Worth It By Costing Less

Nothing diminishes a product worth like breaking.

Composite decking value is in its durability. Designed to last for years.

Composite decking is

  • Water-Resistant
  • Insect Resistant
  • Rot Resistant
  • Warp Resistant
  • Fade Resistant (Almost, less than 5 Delta-E)

Wow! That is a lot of resistance.

But resistance makes composite worth it.

All the things that will destroy your deck’s value composite decking is designed to resist. Ensuring you can enjoy your deck for years to come.

But don’t take my word for it.

Composite Decking is Worth it Because of its Warranties

All quality composite decking has a minimum 25-year warranty against structural, staining and fading damage. Giving you peace of mind that you can enjoy your deck for years.

Some like Fiberon Concordia include a 50-year warranty. A lifetime of peace of mind.

Paying a little extra now will save you thousands later.

Using Environmentally Friendly Composite Decking Is Worth It

Can you put a price on the environment?

Composite decking is largely made from recycled material-removing thousands of tonnes of waste from landfills.

“The average 500 square-foot composite Trex deck contains more than 140,000 recycled plastic bags, films, and wraps.”

TrexOpens in a new tab.

One thing I love is the use of plastic bags, film and milk cartons.

In recent years, there have been huge struggles with recycling plastic, with many countries no longer accepting used plastic. Creating huge piles of sorted, cleaned plastic collected for recycling being dumped in landfills.

Composite decking helps to rectify this. By making a useful product from plastic waste.

Composite Decking Appearance is Worth the Cost

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But composite decking looks great the first day you install it and will continue to dazzle years from now.

I have built many decks, both pressure-treated wood and composite. And still, enjoy looking over a composite deck when complete. The textures, embossing and colour makes composite decking worth it.

When Composite Decking Is Not Worth the Cost

Reading just the first part of this article, you might think that I only build composite decks. That composite decks are always worth the cost.

“Not all rainbows and unicorns.”

No, there are times when composite decking is not worth the cost.

Time is the keyword.

Composite Decking Has a Lower Resale Value

If you do not plan to be enjoying your deck for many years to come. It is not worth it.

If you are planning to move in a few years, composite decking may not be worth installing. There are times when you must fit the appearance of the house.

“A million-dollar house should not have a cheap pressure-treated deck attached to it.”

But if you have an older or entry home and you plan to move in a few years. You will lose money building a composite deck.

Home AdvisorOpens in a new tab. provides these stats

  • 75% average return for a wood deck
  • 70% average return for a composite deck

Not only will composite decking have a smaller return, but you are losing more. Loosing 30% of a $15 000 composite decking is huge compared to 25% of a $5 000 wood deck.

  • – $4 500 composite deck
  • – $1 250 wood deck

The math is simple. Plan to move in 5 years. Composite is probably not worth it.

Costly and Hard to Repair Surface Damage of Composite Decking

Composite decking is designed to be durable, but if you do damage it.

Repairs are almost impossible.

For a minor scratch, it is possible to repair with a heat gun. But everything else you are hooped. Replacing is the only option. You cannot sand out scratches, re-stain fade or stained boards.

There is no such thing as repairing a composite deck. It is either good or has to be replaced.

And those hidden fasteners will not come back to bite you. Often hidden inside grooves requiring you to damage the neighbouring boards to replace. And once you get the damaged board out, it will require a change in fasteners to re-install.

Cortex is great for face screwing decking while preserving the beauty of the decking. But a box of cortex plugs will cost you more than the deck board you are replacing.

This is where composite decking is not worth the cost.  

Verdict, Is Composite Decking Worth the Cost

Time.

Time is what makes a composite deck worth the cost.

If you don’t have time for maintenance and repairs. Composite decking will free up time while giving you space to enjoy life on.

“Not my forever deck.”

Sorry to say, but no deck will last forever, but that was the explanation recently from a homeowner when she decided to build a wood deck.

And she was right. She was not planning to be living at her home long enough to realize the value of composite decking. She just needed a nice deck for now. Low maintenance, durability could wait till she was in the space that it was worth it.

And this is the question you to must answer.

Do I plan to enjoy my deck long enough to make composite decking worth the cost?

The answer is often 5 years. Before you must re-stain the deck again. If yes, composite decking is worth considering. Its cost is worth it.  

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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