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6 Things to Consider Before Investing in Your Composite Deck

December 18th, 2023 | 4 min read

By Jacob Livingston

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Are you standing at the threshold of a deck remodeling project, considering the options offered by composite decking? The fear of making the wrong choice, coupled with the anxiety of potential maintenance challenges, might cast a shadow over your excitement. We understand the financial weight of this decision and the impact it can have on your outdoor oasis.

At Custom Built, with over 15 years of expertise in remodeling and deck construction, we've navigated countless homeowners through this decision-making process. We comprehend the complexities and nuances that come with each choice, and we're here not just as builders but as partners in crafting the perfect outdoor retreat tailored to your lifestyle.

In this guide, we embark on a journey to unravel the six crucial considerations that will guide you through the decision between composite decking and traditional wood:

  1. Composite Decking vs. Traditional Wood
  2. Frequency of Use and Functionality
  3. Aesthetics: Color and Texture
  4. Climate Considerations
  5. Cost vs. Long-Term Savings
  6. Maintenance and Care

Let's transform your outdoor space into a haven that not only captures your vision but also stands resilient against the test of time:

1. Composite Decking vs. Traditional Wood: A Symphony of Aesthetics and Durability

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Choosing composite decking and traditional wood is pivotal and often boils down to personal preferences, functionality, and budget. While the classic appeal of natural wood is undeniable, homeowners are increasingly drawn to the durability and low-maintenance features of composite decking.

Here are a few more differences you can expect between composite and wood decking:

  • Staining: Composite doesn’t need staining, while wood does.
  • Color Options: Composite comes in a wider array of colors than wood.
  • Heat Retention: Composite decking can feel hotter than wood decking.
  • Price: Composite is initially more expensive than wood but less expensive over time.
  • Green Sustainability: Composite decking is made of recycled products, and wood boards are made entirely of trees.
  • Warranty:  Trex Transcend, installed by a TrexPro Platinum builder, stands out with a 10-year labor warranty, offering peace of mind and longevity.

2. Frequency of Use and Functionality: Crafting Your Outdoor Oasis

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If you use your deck daily, host large gatherings, or desire a long-lasting deck, composite will be an excellent investment for you!

Consider the purpose of your deck—whether it's a space to host gatherings, enjoy outdoor meals, or simply relax. Functionality determines the deck's size, design, and materials.

While some build decks as an integral extension of their living space, others may opt for a deck purely for aesthetic reasons. Aligning the deck's purpose with your lifestyle is key to creating a space that seamlessly integrates with your daily life.

3. Aesthetics: Color and Texture: Personalizing Your Outdoor Retreat

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Composite decking offers a spectrum of colors and textures, allowing you to tailor your deck to a preferred aesthetic. Whether you desire the classic wood grain look or a smooth modern appearance, the choice is yours. Consider the color palette of your home and surroundings to create a cohesive and visually appealing outdoor space that reflects your style.

Here are a few examples of popular composite color palettes:

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Light Gray


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Dark Brown


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4. Climate Considerations: Enduring the Elements

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In regions like Michigan with challenging climates—ranging from negative 10 to 90 degrees annually—considering the deck's ability to endure these elements is crucial. 

Composite decks prove to be more resilient, with better resistance to water damage, freezing cycles, and extreme temperature fluctuations compared to traditional wood. Factor in the local climate to ensure your deck withstands the test of time and remains a functional and beautiful outdoor retreat.

Let’s explore more details about the weather condition comparisons between composite and wood decking:

  • Insect Resistance: Traditional wood decks are susceptible to insect damage, with termites and other pests posing a constant threat. Composite materials, on the other hand, are naturally insect-resistant. 
  • Moisture Resistance: Composite decking excels in damp conditions. Unlike wood, it doesn't absorb moisture, so it won't swell, warp, or rot when exposed to rain, snow, or high humidity. This moisture resistance is essential if you live in The Great Lakes region with frequent precipitation.
  • UV Resistance in Premium Lines: Composite decks such as Trex Transcend and TimberTech come with UV-resistant coatings and pigments, making them more robust against the sun's harsh rays. This translates into minimal fading and color retention over time. You won't need to worry about staining or sealing your deck frequently to maintain its appearance.

5. Cost vs. Long-Term Savings: Investing in Quality and Longevity

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While upfront costs may favor traditional wood, the long-term savings of composite decking become evident over time. Composite decks, backed by comprehensive warranties, ensure longevity beyond that of treated lumber. Evaluate the initial investment against the long-term benefits to make an informed decision that not only enhances your outdoor living experience but also provides financial peace of mind.

Investing in a new composite deck isn't just about enhancing your outdoor living space; it's a strategic move that can add significant resale value to your home. In fact, according to Remodeling by JLC’s 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, your new composite deck build can recoup 31.6% of the cost.

Potential buyers are increasingly drawn to the allure of low-maintenance composite decking, appreciating its durability and aesthetic appeal. With your new composite deck, you're not only elevating your lifestyle but also making a wise investment that can pay dividends when it's time to sell, showcasing your home as a sought-after haven with a modern and resilient outdoor retreat.

6. Maintenance and Care: Balancing Effort and Lifespan

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Maintenance is a critical consideration that directly impacts the lifespan of your deck. Traditional wood decks demand regular care, including sealing and staining, to prevent rotting. On the other hand, composite decks require minimal upkeep, often limited to warm soapy water to maintain their appearance.

Assess your willingness and ability to commit to maintenance tasks to make the most suitable choice for your lifestyle.

Next Steps to Installing Your Composite Deck

Reflect on the initial dilemma that led you to the crossroads of deck remodeling—standing on the precipice of a decision between composite decking and traditional wood. The weight of uncertainty and the fear of choosing the wrong path may still linger, echoing the typical homeowner's struggle to make the right choice for their outdoor haven.

In this article, you learned more about the considerations you should think about before investing in a composite deck.

You're now poised to make a decision that aligns with your lifestyle, preferences, and budget.

With over 15 years of expertise in crafting outdoor retreats, we’ve seen it all when it comes to installing new decks. As a Trex PlatinumPro builder, our firm understands how important it is to assess your remodeling needs before starting your life-changing project.

Ready to turn these considerations into reality? Let's bring your vision to life and create an outdoor space that seamlessly integrates with your lifestyle. Explore the possibilities and take the first step toward a deck that not only enhances your home but also becomes a cherished haven for years to come.

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Now that you know what you should consider before investing in your composite deck, let’s explore the top unique designs to infuse in your blueprints, how much your new outdoor living space will cost, and how long it’ll take to build:

Jacob Livingston

Jacob brings 20+ years of residential construction experience to the Custom Built team. He has spent years in the field learning the hands-on side of building from foundation prep to roofing shingles. With a need-to-know mindset and a desire to understand how things work, Jacob has studied building science, systems integration, home inspection, and radon measurement and mitigation.