Many people settle for composite decking due to the fact that composite wood and materials are cheaper than more high-quality exotic hardwoods like ipe. However, while the cost may be appealing, the long term viability of the materials is suspect at best. If you do a simple Google search for “composite decking complaints” or “composite decking lawsuit” you will see that, while people and businesses may have saved some money initially, they took a great risk in choosing an inferior product.
Here’s a simple ipe decking versus composite decking comparison chart:
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You may be asking yourself, “Sure ipe decking is better, but it’s still more expensive!” You’re right. Being a high-quality premium exotic wood does come with a price. However, have you considered the overall return on investment? Take a moment to review the comparison chart once more. Ask yourself what it would cost you in medical bills if someone got hurt from a broken piece of composite decking? What if that person sued you? Sure, maybe your insurance would take care of it, but what would happen to your insurance cost after the fact? In this instance, isn’t it better to look at the long term advantage of building an ipe deck?
Update: Composite decking has changed a lot over the years, and manufacturers are constantly improving the product. Many of the problems that plagued synthetic decking in the past have been solved. But not all companies and products are equal; always do your research, and only buy composite decking from reputable brands!