Wood Decks Versus Composite Decks

The outdoors has become an important part of every home. Everyone is interested in having the best space. When buying homes, prospective buyers will prefer a home that has a beautiful space like a deck. Decks come in different shapes and sizes. The good thing about a deck is that you can personalize it and make it feel like yours. It becomes an extension of your indoor space. Your family will appreciate being in a beautiful outdoor space.

When planning to build a deck, one of the key choices you will have to make is on the type of decking to use. There is a wide range of options, but the most common are wood and composite. Whether you are planning to do it on your own or you are going to hire a contractor, you will need to choose the option that works best for you.

Treated lumber is used in most decks for framing. The framing is the part of the deck that you cannot see unless you are below it. Your choice involves the materials making up the railings and the decking surface.

Wood decking

There are different wood species you can use for your deck and railing. Some of the most common options are redwood, cedar, and pressure-treated pine lumber. If you are looking for exotic wood species for your deck, then you can look at options such as ipe, tigerwood, and mahogany.

Composite wood decking

Composite decking was invented in the ’90s and has continued to become popular. Composite wood decking is made of wood fibers that are encased in plastic. More and more people are choosing composite decking because of their high-performance. They have also noticed that wood decking has its challenges.

Many people will go with wood decking over composite decking because it is affordable, readily available, and it is something they are familiar with. They have to deal with wood decking problems like rot, splinters, and high maintenance. For those who choose composite, their main worry is that it doesn’t look as good as wood decking. However, advancements in manufacturing have made possible composites that have the natural look of wood. This means you get the chance of having decking that looks exactly like wood without having to worry about the hassle that comes with having a wood deck.


There are some key issues you have to look at when it comes to choosing between the two options.

Looks

During the early days of composite, it used to look artificial, but today it has changed. Today, they come in a wide range of looks and colors. This means you will be able to find one that works for you. They have a variegated appearance and randomized grain pattern which ensures that two boards aren’t the same. This means the composite can replicate the look of the wood and appear just as natural.

Moisture

One problem that homeowners notice with wood decking is that they absorb water easily. If stains, sealers or paint are not applied regularly, the wood decking becomes susceptible to cracking, splintering, warping, and rotting. Composite decks don’t absorb water because they are moisture-resistant. Composites can be installed in areas with high moisture conditions without having to worry about decay.

Maintenance

Wood needs to be painted, stained, or sealed regularly to defend against moisture, which then extends the life of the wood deck. With composite, all you have to do is sweep it or wash it to keep it looking good.

Insect damage

Insects tend to damage wood decking because they like wood and/or the moisture they find inside of it. They cannot damage composite decking because it is not made of wood.

Splinters

A common thing many homeowners notice at one point is a splinter, which is a natural thing to happen with wood. Composite is made from small wood fibers that have been encased in plastic, and this is why they won’t splinter. This is good for those walking barefoot on the deck, or children and pets with sensitive feet.

Maintenance or durability

Composite decks are durable and long-lasting and can hold up well for up to 50 years. They can withstand harsh weather and natural wear and tear. Wood will last between 10-30 years depending on the type of wood.

Composite boards have built-in UV resistance that prevents them from fading. Natural wood will fade and lighten faster than composite. If you notice your wood deck is starting to fade, paint or stain it and it will look new.

Price

Pricing is one of the benefits you can expect to get from wood decking. Wood is cheaper to buy compared to composite. While you will pay less for wood, composite is going to pay itself back over the years not having to invest in the maintenance.

The species of wood you choose is going to determine the price difference. If you choose an exotic type of wood, then expect to pay more. You need to look at the different options then choose the type of wood you want based on your personal preferences and what would complement your house.

Workability

Both composites and wood can be easily cut. One advantage composite has over wood is that they can be bent easily by applying heat. This will make it easy to form curved deck sections.

Surface Temperature

Wood has an advantage over composites when it comes to the warmer weather because composites tend to become hot when exposed to direct sun, which can be uncomfortable for many people. Feet can start to blister in temperatures of about 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Composite technology has improved and has managed to reduce heat absorption by about a third, but wood still has the clear advantage when it comes to staying cooler on those hot days.


There is a wide range of options to choose from, which is why it is important to invest time and effort in the process. Start by knowing what type of wood decking you consider your favorite. This will help you narrow down your options. You can then compare the wood and a composite that looks like that wood.

The main factor when choosing decking material comes down to preference. If you love the rich and natural look of wood and you don’t mind its maintenance, then natural wood becomes the best option for you. If you are looking for a deck that is low maintenance and lasts longer, then composite might be your best option.

If you have a limited budget, then you need to put that into consideration when making your choice. Cheaper options don’t mean that they are not of quality. With this in mind, you can expect to have an easier time choosing the best option for you.

If you are not sure about your options, then consider talking to one of our experts who has worked with the different materials. Visit your local lumber store and have a look at the options. Touch them and see whether it is something you might want for your deck.

We have experience dealing with both wood and composite decking. If you have any questions about decking or about the deck building process don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also visit our deck building service page to learn more about what we have to offer.

With our skills and experience, you will end up with a beautiful deck and you will find yourself spending more and more time in your new outdoor space. Give TNT a call today at 970-663-2868.

Three Common Repairs for Wood Decks in Fort Collins, CO

old deck board that is curling up

At TNT Home Improvements, we are regularly called out to make some repairs on wood decks in Fort Collins, CO. These repairs can come in just about any shape or size, but in general they usually fall under one of the three categories that we’ll cover below.

Replacing broken boards in the deck

If you have split, rotten or otherwise degraded deck boards that are ruining the overall appearance of your deck, you should replace them as soon as possible. Don’t worry about them not fitting in with the rest of your deck; after a year or two of weathering, they will blend right into the rest of the deck. Just make sure you use the same wood type and thickness.

In some cases, you might not even have to replace the entire board. If this is the case, you should just make sure you cut a piece that goes across three joists. Do not hesitate to cut a little extra wood, as well, so you can stagger the wood with the adjacent joints for a better overall appearance.

The hardest part of this process is cutting out the damaged section of the wood cleanly. This is a job that’s probably too big for a jigsaw, so you will need to use a sharp, stiff blade to help keep your cuts straight. You should make sure you pre-drill holes for your screws, as well, so they can pull themselves in tightly to the joists.

Tightening decks that have become wobbly or bouncy

If the deck does not feel solid or strong when you walk across it, the cause is typically a long joist spanning between your beams, or between a beam and your house. You’ll need to access the framing underneath to be able to stiffen your deck. Then, you have several options as to how to fix the problem. You can add another beam for additional support, though this is a rather large job. To do this, you should first add rows of solid blocks every three or four feet along where the beam will span.

If you choose this method, you should use treated lumber blocking that is approximately the same size as the joists (usually either 2×8 or 2×10). Then, install these blocks in rows based on your measurements.

Replacing loose or damaged nails

Your deck will shrink and swell over the course of the seasons, which can cause the boards to expand and contract, popping out some of the nails above the boards. Sure, you can just drive them back into place, but in most cases this is only a short-term solution. For a more permanent fix, you should remove these nails and replace them with deck screws.

The hardest part of this job is removing those nails without damaging your deck. You should always use a block underneath your prying tool of choice, and take your time when working on particularly difficult-to-remove nails. A diagonal cutter could help you get out nails that are not protruding very far.

The old nail hole can act as a pilot hole for your deck screw. We recommend purchasing deck screws in colors that match the decking, so they don’t stick out too much.

For more information about the types of repair jobs we take on for wood decks in Fort Collins, CO, contact us today at TNT Home Improvements.

Maintaining Wood Decks in Fort Collins, CO Is a Great Weekend DIY Project

brushing on stain for deck

When homeowners decide to make changes to their homes, one thing they may decide to do is install a deck. As this is an expensive investment, your deck is not something you will want to neglect or fail to care for properly.

You have spent a lot of money getting your deck installed, which makes it similar to your vehicle or and appliances you have purchased, especially when it comes to the necessity of performing maintenance. Over time, there are things that can go wrong and cause the overall appearance of your deck to change into something you’ll see as more embarrassing than beautiful. However, with the proper maintenance, your deck can look beautiful for many years to come. Here are some tips to keep in mind for the maintenance of wood decks in Fort Collins, CO:

  • Wash your deck regularly: One of the best things people can do to keep their deck clean and in good condition is to simply wash it. Washing your deck removes dirt, stains and other debris that can cause the wood to look unpleasant.
  • Check for nail pops: With your deck wood, there are going to be boards that loosen and nails that will pop up. Should this occur, remove the nail and replace it with a screw that is longer than the nail, so the board won’t become loose as easily.
  • Repair splits in wood: Along with boards loosening, they may also split. For this type of repair, you will need to remove the damaged board and replace it. Remember to install a support block to ensure the board is secure and will not move.
  • Stain and seal the deck: The sun and moisture can easily cause the color of the wood to change. To address this issue, you can stain and seal the deck or apply a protective coating that will preserve the deck’s color.

With a deck being similar to a car or an appliance in terms of the importance of regular maintenance, people will do it for one reason: to keep it in good condition. If you have the money, getting your deck rebuilt may not seem like a big deal, but if you have planned to keep this deck for more than just a few years, it’s good to keep in mind that repairs will occasionally be necessary—and that they will be a lot cheaper than purchasing a whole new deck. When looking at the amount of money that can be saved through simple repairs and maintenance, it just makes more sense to put forth the effort into properly caring for your deck.

Those who decide to invest in wood decks in Fort Collins, CO are making a great decision, but an even smarter one would be to invest time into caring for it. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but it is necessary if you want your deck to remain in prime condition. Decks are a beautiful addition to any home, so why not work to maintain this beauty and keep the exterior of your home looking just as pleasant as the inside? Get in touch with TNT Home Improvements today to discuss the care and maintenance of your wood deck.