When choosing to build a timber, plastic or composite deck, the first question most customers ask is “How much will it cost?”. Unfortunately, calculating how many square metres the deck will cover and adding up the cost of the materials required isn’t enough to make the right decision. It can make timber decking look like a cheaper option which, over time, it is not when you consider longevity and value for money.
Building any deck is an investment in your property, improving your outdoor space and providing an attractive and practical outdoor living area perfect for entertaining and unwinding in the sun. It’s important to factor in ALL the costs associated with each type of deck before choosing the right one for your project.
Timber vs Composite Deck Boards
If you simply look at the cost per square metre of materials, composite decking is usually slightly more expensive than timber alternatives. However, composite deck boards are supplied as a finished product – while the timber boards’ lower upfront cost does not include the sanding, staining and sealing required to protect them from the elements before they are used.
And that’s not the end of it – any real cost comparison should factor in the regular maintenance required by timber decks, as the sanding, treating and staining should be repeated once or sometimes twice a year if the deck is exposed to extreme heat or moisture. If this maintenance isn’t provided, the deck’s condition deteriorates, creating an eyesore and in some instances a dangerous, rotten structure that must be removed.
Low maintenance composite decking does not require treating, sanding or staining during its lifetime. Instead, it can be maintained by sweeping with a broom and scrubbing with warm soapy water once or twice a year for a pristine finish.
The cost of the materials and treatments required to maintain timber decking adds up, and over the life of the deck, it can make timber decking a more expensive option.
Time Spent / Labour Costs
While some people choose to build their own timber decks, for a really professional finish it’s best to call in the experts, who can usually construct a deck in a few days.
As composite decking is a man-made product, it has been designed to make installation simple and straightforward, so most practical amateur’s can install their own deck without the need for expert assistance, saving on labour costs altogether. Composite deck building uses a hidden fastener system which automatically acts as spacers, maintaining even gaps between boards and only requiring standard tools for fitting. The clever fastener system speeds up the project, saving time – whether that time is yours or an expert’s.
Longevity / Ongoing Maintenance
Timber decks don’t last as long as composite decks, even with the time-consuming and expensive annual sanding, treating and painting. After the first few years, even a well-maintained timber deck may split, crack or rot so that it requires replacement boards and possibly even substructure maintenance. These are all costs that add to the annual upkeep bill.
Specifically designed for longevity, composite decking doesn’t deteriorate in the same way as timber. In fact, our composite decking has a 20-30 year life expectancy and is supplied with a 10-year warranty for complete peace of mind, so you can be sure that there will be no extra repair costs to factor in.
The longer lifespan of composite decks offers an improved return on investment compared to timber decking – another fact to consider when analysing costs.
If or when you come to sell your home, an attractive deck area to enjoy your garden from can definitely impress buyers. However, purchasers can equally be put off a sale by the sight of a badly-maintained, rotten timber deck which is instead seen as an eyesore that will need to be removed. A neglected timber deck can reach this condition in just a few years, and can then affect your property’s market value. Composite decking, on the other hand, stays solid and pristine for much longer, remaining an asset, rather than an issue.
Complete Cost Analysis
While a composite deck has a higher initial cost than the timber alternative, over time its longevity and ultra-low maintenance design make it the more cost-effective option. Our 10-year warranty on composite decking removes the worry of additional costs, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy your deck.