Vinyl and composite decking are two popular options for homeowners who are looking for a durable, low-maintenance deck. While both materials offer many benefits, there are some key differences between the two that homeowners should consider before making a decision.
Take a closer look at composite vs. vinyl decks, what they are and why they have accumulated popularity, cost, and maintenance requirements.
What is Composite Decking?
Composite decks are made from a combination of wood fibres and recycled plastic. The result is a durable, low-maintenance material that looks and feels like natural wood. Composite decking comes in a wide range of colours and styles, so homeowners can choose a look that fits their aesthetic.
What is Vinyl Decking?
Vinyl decking is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic. Like composite decking, vinyl decking is highly durable and low-maintenance. It’s also available in a range of colours and styles, so homeowners can choose a look that fits their home’s aesthetic.
Both composite and vinyl decking requires very little maintenance compared to natural wood. Composite decking can be easily cleaned with soap and water, and it doesn’t need to be stained or sealed. Vinyl decking can be cleaned with mild detergent and a brush or hose, and it doesn’t need to be painted or stained.
Composite decks are typically more expensive than vinyl decking, although the difference in cost may be less significant in the long run due to composite decking’s lower maintenance requirements. Homeowners should consider both the upfront cost and the long-term cost when deciding between composite and vinyl decking.
Maintenance and Durability
Both composite and vinyl decks require low maintenance. However, they may need occasional cleaning to maintain their appearance.
Composite decking is highly durable and can last up to 25-30 years with proper maintenance. It is resistant to mould, mildew, rot, and insect infestation. Composite decking doesn’t require sanding, staining, or painting, and it doesn’t crack, warp, or splinter. It also holds up well in high-traffic areas and is fade-resistant. Vinyl decking is also highly durable and can last up to 30 years or more. It is resistant to mould, mildew, rot, and insect infestation. It doesn’t require sanding, staining, or painting, and it doesn’t crack warp, or splinter. Vinyl decking is also fade-resistant and holds up well in high-traffic areas. However, it is prone to scratching, so it’s essential to keep heavy objects off the surface.
Both composite and vinyl decking are eco-friendly options as they are made from recycled materials. Composite decking is made from a combination of wood and plastic, while vinyl decking is made entirely from PVC. Both options reduce the amount of waste going into landfills and cut down on the use of natural resources.
However, composite decking is considered to be more environmentally friendly than vinyl decking as it contains less plastic. It also doesn’t release harmful chemicals into the air or water during its production. Some composite decking brands even use recycled materials, making them an even greener option.
Composite decking is more expensive than vinyl decking, with an average cost of $30-$60 per square foot, depending on the brand and quality. However, it’s essential to note that composite decking is more durable and has a longer lifespan than vinyl decking, which may offset the higher initial cost in the long run.
Vinyl decking is a more affordable option, with an average cost of $10-$20 per square foot, depending on the brand and quality. However, as previously mentioned, vinyl decking is prone to scratching and may need to be replaced sooner than composite decking, which can add to the overall cost.
Both composite and vinyl decking come in a variety of colours and textures, making it easy to find a style that suits your aesthetic preferences. Composite decking mimics the look of natural wood, while vinyl decking comes in a range of colours and patterns, including wood grain, stone, and tile looks.
However, composite decking offers more design flexibility than vinyl decking, as it can be customized to suit your specific needs. It can be cut, drilled, and fastened like wood, allowing for more intricate designs and creative installations.
Choosing between composite and vinyl decking ultimately comes down to personal preference and your specific needs. While both options offer low maintenance, durability, and eco-friendliness, composite decking is more durable and has a longer lifespan, making it a better long-term investment. However, if cost is a significant concern, vinyl decking is a more affordable option that still offers many of the same benefits. Ultimately, it’s important to choose the option that best fits your budget, lifestyle, and aesthetic preferences.