Installing a new deck or replacing an existing structure can be a large and potentially stressful project. You have many things to consider, from the space where your deck will sit to the architectural elements of your home. There are also many design elements like the type of material, texture, and color of the deck that can affect the appearance and life of your deck. Let’s discuss the key differnces between the wood vs composite deck materials.

These options can be difficult to choose between, that’s why you should contact a trusted professional at Groff Landscape Design to walk you through what’s best for you and your deck construction in VA. Below we describe the differences between natural wood vs composite deck materials:

Natural Wood Decking

Wood continues to be the most widely used and preferred material for constructing outdoor projects. One of the main reasons so many people choose natural wood is due to its cheap cost and authenticity. Real wood planks have a particular smell and echo, they also naturally retain warmth from the sun. However, you must carefully treat wood to handle the outdoor elements to prevent chipping or splitting of your wood.

There are also many ways you can customize the wood to be any color or stain, it can even be matched to blend with your surrounding nature depending on the wood’s availability. However, the biggest downside of using natural wood is that it contributes to deforestation.

Composite Decking

Composite decking involves blending various wood chips, recycled plastic, bamboo, and other raw materials to create a natural wood look. This option is environmentally friendly while still having a realistic texture and appearance of wood. They also come in a wide color palette available to match various wood types.

While composite decking materials are usually more expensive, you can save on long-term maintenance costs because they are easier to maintain and last longer. The planks can withstand the outdoor elements and normal wear and tear over time. However, when the planks are damaged, they will have to be fully replaced.

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Material Comparison of Wood Vs Composite Deck

When it comes to creating a beautiful, functional outdoor space, deciding between wood and composite deck installation can be a challenging decision. Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and understanding the key differences between them is essential for making an informed choice.
Below are some of the main factors to consider when choosing between wood and composite deck installation that will help you make the best decision for your outdoor living space.

Appearance and Aesthetic Comparison of Wood vs Composite Decking

  • Natural, authentic appearance with varying grain patterns
  • Can be stained or painted to achieve the desired color
  • Prone to weathering and fading over time


  • Available in a wide range of colors and finishes
  • Consistent appearance with minimal variation
  • Resistant to fading, warping, and splintering

Durability and Maintenance Comparison of Wood vs Composite Deck

Wood Decking:

  • Requires regular maintenance such as staining, sealing, and periodic refinishing
  • Prone to rot, splintering, and insect damage
  • Lifespan can vary depending on the type of wood and maintenance efforts

Composite Decking:

  • Low maintenance, requiring only occasional cleaning with soap and water
  • Resistant to rot, mold, and insect damage
  • Typically has a longer lifespan than wood with minimal maintenance requirements

Environmental Considerations Comparison of Wood Decking and Composite Decking


  • Natural and renewable resources when sourced from sustainably managed forests
  • Can contribute to deforestation if not responsibly harvested
  • Some wood species are more environmentally friendly than others
  • Often made from recycled materials, contributing to waste reduction
  • Can contain chemicals and additives that may have environmental implications
  • May require fossil fuels for production and transportation

Cost Comparison of Wood Decking and Composite Decking

  •  Initial installation cost can be lower than composite
  • Long-term maintenance costs can add up, including staining, sealing, and repairs
  • Lower-cost options, such as pressure-treated lumber, are available
  • Higher initial installation cost compared to wood
  • Minimal long-term maintenance costs
  • Potential for cost savings over time due to durability and longevity

Usage and Functionality of Wood Decking and Composite Decking


  •  Can be prone to splintering or warping, especially in harsh weather conditions
  • Provides a traditional, natural look and feel
  • Can be customized with different wood species and finishes
  • Resistant to warping, splintering, and rot, making it a low-maintenance option
  • Well-suited for areas with high moisture or humidity
  • Offers consistent performance and durability over time

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Trust Our Professionals at Groff Landscape Design With Your Custom Deck Construction Project

The various advantages and disadvantages of wood and composite decking offer a lot to consider when choosing what’s best for your deck. Let the professionals at Groff Landscape Design help with your custom deck construction. At Groff Landscape Design, we consider all the options and possibilities when it comes to assisting you in creating your dream deck. Our team of highly experienced technicians and landscape designers make this possible through our expertise in materials, design, and construction.

No matter which material you choose, Groff Landscape Design can enhance the enjoyment of your outdoor space. Learn more about the main differences of the wood vs composite decking debate according to research to gain further insights to help you decide on the right material to use on your new deck. 

Choosing between wood and composite decking is ultimately a matter of personal preference. If you love the look and feel of real wood and are willing to put in the time and effort to maintain it, wood decking may be the right choice for you. But if you prioritize low maintenance and durability over a natural look, composite decking may be the better option.

When making the decision, beauty, maintenance, and cost should be on your checklist. Every deck option has its pros and cons, so be clear on your goals and expectations.

Contact our team at (703)-999-8225 to speak to an expert about picking the best decking material to fit your needs and transform your home!