Wood Vs. Vinyl: Which Decking Material Is Better?
In the past, decking materials were limited almost exclusively to wood, but the previous two decades have changed that. Vinyl is one of the most popular options among the alternative building materials that have become available for decks. Some professional contractors even suspect it will come to replace traditional wood as the industry leader. Yet, decks continue to be built with both materials, so there must be something that makes homeowners prefer one over the other.
In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the features of wood decks and vinyl decks to see which one is truly a better choice. For more resources on decking materials, fences, and other topics on property enhancement in Orange County, please visit our blog collection or contact us directly at AG Vinyl!
- Generally affordable
- Aesthetic appeal
- 10-15 year lifespan
- Customizable paints and stains
Wood decks are an aesthetic and versatile option for any deck build, whether it’s constructed for a residential home or a commercial property. For those who enjoy a wide selection of colors, decking wood can be an appealing prospect. Common species used for decks include redwood, cedar, numerous kinds of pine, and even exotic varieties like mahogany. Regardless of the particular type selected, wooden decks tend to fare better in the summer months because of their heat-reflective properties. And when it comes to installation and maintenance, wood is relatively easy to bend, resize, and repaint.
- Prone to water damage
- Frequent maintenance
- Shorter lifespan than composite materials
- Higher cost in the long run
For all of their curb appeal and customizability, every decking material has a few drawbacks. Due to its organic composition, wood decks are vulnerable to a variety of external elements that composite decking materials can typically withstand. Water damage, insect invasion, and splintering are all common issues that wood decks can develop. For this reason, decks of this build tend to require frequent maintenance and repairs, whether it’s to correct structural integrity following a long bout of moisture exposure or a replacement of panels that have been destroyed by termite infestation. Despite the fact that wood decks have a lower upfront cost than vinyl options, they tend to be more expensive overall. From recurring maintenance to part replacement to painting and varnishing, the ultimate price tag of a wooden deck isn’t always cut and dry from the moment it’s purchased.
- 25+ year lifespan
- Highly durable
- Aesthetic appeal
Vinyl decks are made from polyvinylchoride, an extremely durable and 100% recyclable plastic material used in numerous sectors of construction. They last up to twice as long as most traditional wood decks and require little to no maintenance. They are an excellent option for humid and rainy environments, as they are resistant to both moisture and insect infestation. Finally, they offer a greater variety of long-lasting color options that won’t need upkeep or reapplication.
- Higher upfront cost
- Holds heat
- Expands/contracts with weather changes
- Limited workability
In comparison to traditional wood decks, vinyl decking materials can have a higher upfront cost that can dissuade some buyers. However, their low maintenance requirements offset this initial investment — which pays for itself in just a few years due to savings on services. That being said, extreme temperatures can affect vinyl decks, causing them to expand and contract. Vinyl decking materials tend to retain heat, so wearing shoes may occasionally be necessary on particularly hot summer days. Lastly, the high density of vinyl decking makes it more difficult to alter shape, size, and color as frequently as a wooden alternative.
Find The Deck That’s Right For You
All decking materials have their respective assortment of pros and cons, but there will always be one that stands out and resonates. Whether you’re uncertain that a vinyl deck is your style or you’re vehemently opposed to anything besides this kind of build, you can find an ideal vinyl deck solution to make your vision a reality when you work with our 5-star team of contractors in Anaheim. To learn more about vinyl deck installation services in the Orange County area, please contact us at AG Vinyl today!