The Pros and Cons of Synthetic Vs Natural Wood Decking

Synthetic deck

A raised deck adds both beauty and function to your backyard, providing a clean and comfortable outdoor gathering place for your family and guests. The benefits of a deck don’t just last while you occupy the house, either; attractive outdoor spaces make a house more likely to sell, and adding a deck to your home can result in a 72% return on investment when you put your house on the market.

But once you’ve decided on building a deck, you’re face with another choice: Is real wood or synthetic decking a better choice?


A wooden deck provides a classic look. The best wood for decks is often considered to be cedar, which also has a distinctive reddish color that’s difficult for synthetic decking to match. However, composite materials have steadily improved in appearance over the years. Lower-quality synthetics may look and feel like plastic, but high-quality products made of plastics and wood chips can seem almost identical to wood.


Both wood and synthetic decking materials range in price, which generally depends on quality. This makes it almost impossible to compare “natural” and “synthetic” decking as monolithic categories. Treated wood is typically the cheapest option when it comes to natural materials. High-quality composite decking can be more expensive even than cedar, but it won’t splinter or rot.


High-quality wood, if properly installed and sealed, can stand the test of time. However, it may require quite a bit more maintenance than synthetic decking. Composite decks require only occasional cleaning. The upside of wood is that it can be sanded and refinished if damaged. Both wood and synthetic materials can warp over time, especially depending on temperatures. If you’re unsure of how climate might affect the lifespan of either material, ask a deck builder from your area to give you an opinion (and a quote).

Have you had a deck installed? What material did you settle on, and why?

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