07 Nov

Decking Decisions: Composite vs wood

You’ve made the decision that you’d like to have decking installed in your garden, but which type of decking do you go for?

Here we explore the differences between wood and composite materials available for your decking project.

Image – Left: Composite decking / Right: Wooden decking

Composite decking

What is it you ask? Well, it’s a man-made fibre, a combination of plastic and wood designed to be some of the things that wooden decking isn’t. Created to be longer lasting, less slippery (they say non-slip, but if you are a bit accident prone anything can happen) and low maintenance, ready to go – no painting required.

Composite decking – the lowdown…

  • It’s a long term investment, may be more costly initially but the next point will demonstrate a benefit of that
  • Low maintenance – no time or cost of painting, oiling, replacing any rotten bits which is all the more possible with wood, which requires much more of your time and attention.
  • Composite decking providers tell us is far superior when it comes to UV fading.
  • Often made from recycled wood and plastic fibres
  • Available in a wide range of colours
  • Less slippery than a wooden deck (more child friendly)
  • Less cleaning maintenance required – depending on the product and location (e.g. beneath a tree where birds sit) it is possible to give the composite decking anything from an annual wash to 3-4 times with soapy water or specialist decking cleaner (check guidance on the chosen product).
  • Consider which option you choose in terms of strength – composite is not always as structurally strong as wooden decking, but there are options for overcoming this depending on your choice of composite board, to the support built underneath.
  • Less prone to damage from pests and insects
  • Lends itself better than wood to curved areas, great in the case of bending and shaping
  • Composite decking isn’t recyclable at the end of it’s life (yet)
  • Cannot change the colour/paint it
Image – A Tame Your Garden composite decking installation

Let’s look at wooden decking

  • Lower initial material cost
  • Traditional and natural look and feel
  • Completely recyclable should you ever change your mind
  • You can choose colour and change your mind later just with a flick of a paint brush.
  • Easier to find in stock than composite
  • Rotting, algae and splinters are possible over time – although good maintenance should limit these
  • Warping wood is always a risk, but can be replaced in sections (keep leftover paint/stain for matching) 
  • The risk of nibbling from pests, pets and insects
  • There are of course different types of wood, much the same as there are different types of composite decking, as with the composite some of these factors depend on what you go for.
Image – A Tame Your Garden wooden decking installation

What next?

We have weighed up some of the pros and cons of composite decking and traditional wooden decking, but ultimately it comes down to what you will like the look of when you’re sat outside, what will compliment your garden and who lives in your house. If you have little people, pets, a very busy working family life which doesn’t allow for a lot of garden maintenance and you know you won’t keep on top of maintaining the wood (when is the last time you painted your fence?) could composite be the right choice for you?

Image – Top: Composite decking / Bottom: Wooden decking (both Tame Your Garden installations)

Are you on the composite fence?

Have a look at some samples, try to see them in the flesh rather than choosing based on colours and textures you can see online.

We regularly install both, and in our own gardens at home we all have different types of decking material, so if you need to know more get in touch, take a look at our Facebook and Instagram photos for decking installation inspiration.

Who are we?

At Tame Your Garden we offer regular visits, or one-offs from tidy ups to tree work, to get you started in Spring, or if you have moved into a new property which needs a bit of work! We work with homeowners, tenants, landlords, estate agents, letting agents and business owners, on courtyards to car parks and front gardens to sports grounds, GP surgeries to schools. We have been up and running as a family gardening business for 7 years, prior to this having worked as part of the Frosts installation team, contracts with Parks Trust and voluntarily looking after churchyards! 

Find out more about us.

Check out photos of our gardening work and customer reviews on our Facebook Page.

Image – Tame Your Garden decking installations in Milton Keynes