Wood vs Composite Decking - Which Is Best?

Decking in the garden is a popular way of creating an area which is perfect for al fresco entertaining, a multi-level fire pit or just a space from which to enjoy your garden with a cup of coffee and a good book. Whether you're looking for inspiration for something new or need your existing deck updating, in this post we'll discuss the two most popular materials and their pros and cons; wood vs composite.

Wood Decking

Wooden decking is exactly that - boards made from wood. They can either be hardwood, which is sourced from slow-growing trees such as ash or oak, or softwood, which is usually sourced from coniferous or evergreen wood such as spruce or pine, and then pressure-treated.

Pros of hardwood:

- High quality

- Lifespan of up to 40 years if maintained well

- Natural look fits well in all gardens

- Can be painted or stained to any colour

- Fire-resistant

- Less likely to warp, rot or split

Cons of hardwood:

- Does require regular upkeep such as treating, staining, sealing etc

- Expensive in both material costs and labour

- Grows slowly and demand can outweigh supply

Pros of softwood:

- More affordable and budget-friendly

- Lifespan of 10-15 years if maintained well

- Can be painted or stained to any colour

- Sourced from fast-growing trees so eco-friendly

- Easy to install

Cons of softwood:

- Susceptible to rot, splintering and warping

- Not as durable or resistant to wear

- Regular maintenance and upkeep required

Composite Decking

The most common composite is wood-plastic composite, which is a combination of wood fibres, plastic and a bonding agent. This mixture is heated up and pressed into boards before being cooled.


- Long lifespan

- No need to stain, seal or treat - low maintenance

- Doesn't rot or split

- Various colours and styles to match all types of gardens

- Created using recycled plastic and off-cuts of wood and sawdust so environmentally friendly


- Can be more expensive initially

- If a board suffers damage, the whole thing will need to be replaced

- Cannot be painted or stained, so initial colour choice is important

- Not resistant to mould or pollen damage

- Can get extremely hot when exposed to direct sunlight

The Handyman has experience in fitting all kinds of decking, and can advise on what would best suit your needs and budget. Contact us for a free estimate and get that decking ready for the summer!

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