Personalized Deck Refacing – Real Wood or Composite Materials?

May 15, 2014

file000262816689The design of your deck depends almost entirely on you. Some of the most impressive deck designs I’ve seen to date are created using intricate designs such as pinwheels or squares inside squares to give an almost-3D appearance. The design can be as detailed or as plain as you choose, because it is your deck. Discuss your ideas with a few different contractors to see if it is feasible. The next step is a little more confusing – which materials should you use? Should you go with real wood or composite materials? What are the differences? Is one better than the other? That’s what I’m going to talk about in today’s blog post.

Real Wood Decking or Composite Decking?

Choosing the material for your deck refacing project can get pretty confusing. Let’s go over the pros and cons of two types specifically: real wood and composite materials. Each has an extensive list of pros and cons, so I’ll be brief in descriptions.

Pros of Wood Decking: Pressure treated wood (resistant to bugs and rot) is primarily used, but natural untreated wood is also available. Wood grain offers a beautiful uniqueness, no two boards will be identical. Maintenance can get intense, especially if you build a large deck and use paint. Cheaper than cedar and composite decking.

Pros and cons of Cedar Decking: I’m just tossing this out there, most people choose pressure treated or composite, but I wanted to be a little more comprehensive and add cedar into the mix. Cedar is naturally resistant to rot, bugs, and water. The lifespan of cedar decking is 15 to 20 years. Maintenance can be a bear: to maintain that gorgeous cedar appearance, you have to clean it and reseal it every year. In all fairness, a cedar deck is impressive, but often loses that warm cedar look within about 10 years. It’s also more expensive than other choices.

Pros of Composite Decking: Is created using wood chips or sawdust, and recycled plastics, so it is almost infinitely sustainable. The wood grain appearance is unique per board. Available in a wide variety of colors and styles. Maintenance is a no-brainer, just mop it like you would the hard floors inside your home. Durability (it lasts longer than wood decks).

Cons of Wood Decking: Maintenance. Eventual rot, although pressure treated wood lasts many years.

Cons of Composite Decking: It isn’t 100% real wood. Some people simply don’t like the look, because you can see that it is not real wood if you really look at it and know what you’re looking for.


So there you have it; you have so many beautiful options, that it really comes down to personal choice and budget. People use a variety of real woods to build decks. Two of the more popular real wood decks are pressure treated wood (usually available in a variety of wood types from oak to maple to softer woods like pine), and cedar (which requires no special treating because it is naturally resistant to most bugs). Composite materials are available in a variety of wood grains, colors or stains, that it really does make it very difficult to choose.

I’m sorry I couldn’t say definitively that one material is better than the other. It simply isn’t true, especially for deck refacing projects. Choose the material that works best for you, and hire a contractor who will work with you to achieve your ultimate goal: the perfect deck!

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