Introduction to Decking Materials

When planning your outdoor decking project, one of the most important decisions is choosing the right material. Composite and timber are two popular decking options, each with its advantages and drawbacks. In this guide, we’ll compare these materials across various factors, including cost, maintenance, durability, and aesthetics, to help you make an informed choice for your project.

Composite Decking: Overview and Benefits

Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fibers, plastic, and binding agents. This synthetic material has become increasingly popular for its low maintenance requirements and long-lasting performance. Key benefits of composite decking include:

  • Low maintenance: Composite decking requires minimal upkeep, as it doesn’t need painting, staining, or sealing. A simple wash with soap and water will keep it looking fresh.
  • Durability: Composite decks resist rot, mold, insects, and warping, ensuring a long lifespan with minimal signs of wear.
  • Consistent appearance: The manufacturing process ensures uniform colour and texture, resulting in a cohesive look across your entire deck.
  • Eco-friendliness: Many composite decking products are made from recycled materials, reducing their environmental impact.

Timber Decking: Overview and Benefits

Timber decking, made from natural wood, has been a classic choice for homeowners due to its timeless appeal and versatility. Key benefits of timber decking include:

  • Natural beauty: Timber decking offers an unmatched warmth and aesthetic that complements a wide range of architectural styles.
  • Variety: With numerous wood species available, you can choose the color, grain pattern, and texture that best suits your design preferences.
  • Customisability: Timber decks can be easily sanded, stained, or painted to achieve the desired look and adapt to changing trends.
  • Biodegradable: As a natural material, timber is biodegradable and has a lower carbon footprint compared to composite decking.

Comparing Composite and Timber Decking

When comparing composite and timber decking, consider the following factors:

  • Cost: Composite decking typically has a higher initial cost compared to timber. However, its low maintenance requirements can save you money in the long run. Timber decking has a lower upfront cost but may require more frequent maintenance and repairs.
  • Maintenance: Composite decking requires minimal maintenance, while timber decks need regular cleaning, staining or sealing, and occasional repairs to maintain their appearance and integrity.
  • Durability: Composite decks are highly resistant to rot, insects, and moisture, offering a longer lifespan with fewer issues. Timber decks, especially those made from untreated or softwood species, may be more susceptible to decay and insect damage.
  • Aesthetics: Timber decking boasts a natural beauty that many homeowners find appealing. However, composite decking offers a consistent appearance that requires less upkeep to maintain its look.
  • Environmental impact: Both materials have environmental considerations. Composite decking is often made from recycled materials, while timber can be sourced from sustainably managed forests. Look for certifications like FSC or PEFC to ensure responsible sourcing.


Choosing between composite and timber decking depends on your priorities, budget, and design preferences. Composite decking offers low maintenance and durability, making it an attractive option for busy homeowners. Timber decking, on the other hand, provides a classic, natural aesthetic that can be customised to suit your tastes. Weigh the pros and cons of each material to determine which best meets your needs and will create

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