You’ve decided to add a deck to your home and the first step is comparing good old wood to the new composite decking materials. The composite product certainly looks nice. It looks, well, like wood. You like that the composite product is so eco-friendly. Its manufacturing process produces zero water waste, avoids the toxic chemicals used to treat wood, and avoids deforestation. So far so good. You love that composite decking doesn’t splinter. That means no slivers in your bare feet. The choice seems clearly in favor of composite materials. But wait, wood is much cheaper, and you don’t want to waste money, so you reluctantly go with wood.
Not so fast! There is more to cost than initial cost. To find the best value, you need to find the total cost of ownership.
Total cost of ownership vs. initial cost
Yes, wood has a lower initial cost when purchasing the materials. Giving wood an advantage, and using a very low estimate of $115 per square metre for wood, on a 20 square metre deck, the initial cost is only $2,300 in materials. Now using a high estimate of $139 a square metre for composite decking materials, the same deck costs $2,780. But that isn’t the total price difference. Initial cost isn’t the best way to consider value.
The total cost of ownership considers how much the deck will cost you per year, over its lifespan. Wood decks have much higher maintenance requirements and don’t last as long as composite decking materials.
A composite deck can last upwards of 25 years, compare that to a wood deck which typically lasts less than 15 years. Although it will have to be replaced in 15 years, wood might still seem like a good deal. But wait….
A timber deck requires yearly sanding, staining and oiling, maintenance which costs between $450 and $850 per year to maintain. Compare that to the $5 to $15 it costs per year to wash your composite deck. Over the life of the deck, you will be saving every single year that you own your composite deck.
When real, long-term value is considered, composite decking materials are clearly a less expensive option. And think of the ease of ownership that this relatively maintenance free product provides. Finally, consider that composite decking is good for the environment, looks beautiful and best of all, you can enjoy your deck barefoot and worry free. Contact us to consider design and colour options, as well as exactly which composite product best suits your needs.