Difference Between Timber and Composite Decking

Choosing the right decking material is not an easy exercise because of the different timber species available in the market, as well as the varied range of composite options. Materials for composite alternatives were not present in the market, until the early 90s. But today, there are a variety of options that make it hard for customers to easily identify the best option, or alternative for their deck. Unfortunately choosing between these two options is not easy because each material has a unique benefit.

Timber Decking

Timber decking is the use of timber to create a stylish framed area off the ground. A deck can either be attached to the house or it can be freestanding. Boards are usually laid on top of timber that can bear load using deck boards that are ideally between 19 to 27mm in thickness, 75 to 200mm in width while maintaining a gap of 10mm between the boards.

Composite Decking

In a composite product, a mixture of plastics, wood fibres, and bonding agents are used to build a man-made structure. The product of the mixture are board shaped items. One of the advantages of the composite boards is that they require little maintenance compared to wooden decks. There are two types of composite decks in the market, uncapped and capped. Uncapped boards are a cheaper option, although the material is hard to wear out. Uncapped boards do not have the same protection against colour fading and staining like the capped boards.

Timber Versus Composite Decking

When building a deck, it is important to know that all decks use treated lumber to create a frame, which is the structural part of the hidden deck. So, you are only going to decide on the material that will be on the visible deck surface and railings. When it comes to timber decks, the most popular options are treated cedar and lumber. Other less common options include ipe, tigerwood, jutoba, and redwoods. For the composite options, PVC and vinyl options from different manufacturers are common. Most decks are made from wood because of the cost savings. When it comes to composite options, most people go for them because they are easy to maintain. It is not easy to pick the best type of deck because there are various factors that need to be evaluated first before a decision is made.


Between composite and timber decking, it is easier to install a timber decking because, for the composite material, you have to be careful with thermal expansion. In most climates, temperatures can cause an issue on how you place and space your decking material from summer to winter, especially with the extreme heat in South East Queensland.


Timber decks that are well maintained can last for a lifetime. You can easily sand down timber and even replace a section if some parts are infected by fungus, pests or rot. However, you have to keep checking your deck every few years to maintain its longevity. For composite decks, you do not need to check its status regularly because it can last for decades with little maintenance. You also don’t have to stain or treat them to avoid moisture damage. Choosing the right deck depends on what you need. To make a better decision, involve a professional deck builder in Brisbane who can help you decide on the right course of action, the best materials for your deck. Be honest with yourself, trust the builder and consider the maintenance longer-term needed for each option.

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