If you found this blog post searching for “Decking Reviews”, congratulations! You’re right to do your research. You might have even read some negative feedback or heard a lot of marketing hype from both hardwood and composite decking companies. Hopefully, this post clears the confusion about which direction to go in and what material to choose for your specific project.
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You get what you pay for” then you understand that when people cut corners, focus on buying cheap materials, and fall for that marketing hype, disappointment, regret, and frustration set in. We’ve received a ton of phone calls from people who were tricked into buying “Tropical” materials that composite decking companies sell. We’ve even received calls from people who bought their decking from a different supplier only to be disappointed to find that their material was not premium grade, or was handled incorrectly.
Many of the problems you might hear when it comes to hardwood decking could have and should have been prevented.
- Was an end grain sealant used to protect the boards from drying out too quickly and checking?
- Were the boards allowed to properly acclimate to the surrounding climate for the recommended 3-5 days?
- If using dense materials like cumaru or ipe, were the deck boards pre-drilled prior to fastening?
- Seeking the advice of the company who supplied the material is also highly recommended.
- Also it helps to chose to work with a reputable contractor in your area who understands multiple materials and how best to install them.
With regards to composite decking materials, we strongly advise against them for many practical reasons:
- It’s more expensive than real wood decking
- The benefits (or lack thereof) don’t justify the high cost
- There are too many composite recalls and lawsuits and general complaints to count
- Mold, mildew, decomposition, and discoloration are common complaints
- Composite deck boards cannot be recycled by a majority of local recycling plants
Let’s be honest, if composite decking were so great, we’d be selling it. However, with these facts in mind, we can’t in all good faith, offer products we know to be inferior to genuine hardwood.
Ultimately, what you need to consider is not how the material will look 1-2 years after it’s installed, but what the material will look like and be able to handle in 10-15 years…that’s the benchmark.
Discover more about real wood decking from AdvantageLumber.com
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!