Cedar Versus Composite Decks

Spring is the time of year for deck installation! However, before you install your deck, you’ll need to determine the building material that you will use – cedar or composite.


Aesthetic: Most will argue that nothing beats the natural, warm, and rich look of new wood.  Cedar also has a distinct grain that adds to its aesthetic appeal. When left untreated, cedar fades to a soft gray. When treated with stain, the rich reddish hue of cedar can be preserved for an even more attractive result.
Maintenance: To retain the color of cedar decks, you must clean and reseal them every other year.
Durability: Cedar is naturally resistant to damage caused by rain, direct sunlight, and termites.  Thus, most cedar decks have a lifespan of 15 – 20 years; however, this can be shorter for lower-level decks or those under shaded overhangs that make them slow to dry out.  Cedar is also soft – meaning that furniture being dragged around the deck could result in scratches and other surface damage.
Bottom Line: Cedar decks are perfect for homeowners willing to put in a little more maintenance time in exchange for an ideal aesthetic or for those looking to make a lower initial investment.
Aesthetic: Composite decks are made from recycled plastic and woodchips or sawdust.  Color change is even over time and most varieties can be stained four to six months after installation.
Maintenance: Composite decks are essentially maintenance free.  However, they can be prime candidates for mold and mildew which can lead to slick, unattractive surfaces.  To counter these effects, some manufacturers recommend soaking the deck in bleach.
Durability: Composite decks do not rot, splinter or twist once they are in place.  However, because composites are significantly heavier than regular wood, some have been known to sag between joists, resulting in a bowed, unsightly appearance.  In addition, traffic patterns wear more noticeably with composite decking products than with wood, and dents and scratches cannot be sanded out.
Bottom Line: Composite decks are perfect for homebuyers looking for a low-maintenance option, with less concern for a particular deck aesthetic, and willing to make a higher upfront deck investment.
To learn about the possibilities of adding a deck addition to your home, contact Excel Builders!