Man-Made Composites Vs. Natural Wood Decking Materials

There are two main categories of decking materials you can opt for: manmade and natural wood products. However, there are plenty of options within each of these categories. Manmade decking materials include vinyl, PVC and composites. The most commonly used natural wood decking products include tigerwood, jutoba, Ipe, cedar, and redwood.

But before choosing between natural wood and manmade decking materials, ask yourself one question – where is your deck? If your deck is in the shade or sun for most part of the day, you will want to opt for a material that will feel comfortable in that spot on the hottest days of the year.

Most of the decks constructed today are made of natural wood. People choose wooden decks because of the low initial installation costs. Others select manmade decks for the low maintenance required. So between manmade and natural wood, what decking material is right for you? Well, let’s explore some characteristics of each of these decking materials to help you decide on the most appropriate for your unique requirements.

Heat resistance

At the time manmade decking materials such as plastics, vinyl and the likes were made, there wasn’t a lot of thought as to how they would perform in extreme heat. While these materials have their own advantages, comfort on extra hot days is not one of them. Decks made of these materials get extremely hot during extra hot days of the summer making walking on them while barefoot uncomfortable.  Capped composites are no different as the plastic layers surrounding the composite holds a lot heat. But the lighter the color, the less heat it will hold.

For this reason, it is recommended to use natural wood in climates with extra hot summers. In this case, tropical hardwoods such as teak and ipe weather well while exposed to extreme heat from the sun. Because some of these hardwoods are naturally dark, they hold more heat than their lighter counterparts, for instance, the commonly utilized pressure-treated Southern yellow pine. Redwood is a commonly used decking material in most parts of the country due to its fair price, cool surface and low maintenance.


Plastic and composite decking are more than twice as expensive as their wooden counterpart since the materials cost more and the structure tend to be much more extensive. However, composite decking is not as strong as wooden decking. So it generally requires additional support to prevent sagging. The additional work can easily add hundreds of dollars to your decking costs. In this case, here are some average prices for a completed deck per square foot. However, note that these prices significantly can vary according to things such as construction costs, design features and location.

•    Ipe: $55

•    Top-end plastic: $48

•    Redwood: $30

•    Composite: $32-$45

•    Cedar: $24-$45

•    Pressure-treated wood: $15-$25


Regardless of your opted for decking material, it is going to require maintenance. The minimum maintenance in this case is periodic cleaning. The majority of plastics and composites require regular finish application to keep them from fading. On the other hand, most decking woods can be left unfinished or finished depending on a homeowner’s personal preferences. Wooden decks are more susceptible to warping and rot. Mold spots are much more difficult to get rid off on plastic and composite decking.

All in all, a lot of people have started using composite and plastic decking over the past couple of years. Apart from the ordinary composite and plastic decking, people are also opting for plastic-capped composites as the ever-growing field of less maintenance decking materials evolves. This type of composite is covered in a thin, plastic material that greatly improves it longevity. Moreover, this decking material is quite easy to install. Whether you decide to go for composite, plastic or wood decking material, it is recommended to hire reliable decking installers in Edmonton to handle the entire installation undertaking.

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