Sugar or high fructose corn syrup? Cotton or polyester? Wood or a synthetic alternative? Clearly, there are pros and cons of original materials and their man made mimics, but when it comes to choosing a deck material, is it best to go all natural, or is it better to take the side of technological progress? We at Garuda Decks specialize in outdoor yard construction, and we have put together some of the most notable advantages and disadvantages to constructing with synthetic wood. Here are some of our findings.

Background

Synthetic wood has been a growing market over the past decade and offers some significant advantages over natural wood however, until recently there had been a very limited variety available in the synthetic decking colors and styles, which had turned off many builders who were looking for a wood substitute. Now, there are over 60 different brands of synthetic decking, each with their own collection of mock wood schemes, colors, and patterns.

Pros

Here are some of the potential benefits of forgoing nature for synthetics

Weather Resistant– synthetic decking are weather resistant, never succumbing to mold, mildew, or rain damage. Because of the waterproof nature of synthetics, weather doesn’t impact the  stability or diminish the overall quality of the deck.

Maintenance– In addition to being weatherproof, synthetic decks are easy to maintain. Cleaning is a breeze, as decks can just be hosed off, and because it isn’t made of wood, termites and other wood dwelling infestations are never an issue.

Installation– Synthetic decks can be easily installed with normal power tools, simplifying the process of deck building.

“Green”– Many synthetic decks are made out of recycled plastics and are a eco friendly alternative to lumber.

Variety– As mentioned before, there are over 60 brand of synthetic decking, each with many individual collections. In addition, there are a variety of materials available such as polyethylene based composite, polypropylene based composites, wood free plastics, fly-ash based products, and more.

Cons

Cost– Synthetic decking is still about 3-5 times more expensive than pressure treated wood.

Look– No one can deny that although there are many wood patterned plastic decks, none of them actually look much like wood. Perhaps at a distance, one might not be able to tell, but up close, there is no denying that fake wood is exactly that… fake.

Hardware– Because synthetic decking is far more dense and about two times heavier than wood, the hardware associated with synthetics more heavy duty and custom to synthetic decks. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it is a specific change from traditional deck materials.

Availability– Although synthetics are growing in availability, synthetic decks come in varied selections, with little consistency nationwide. Although you may find a deck material you like best, there is no guarantee that it will constantly be in stock in the amount required for your product.

Durability– Because synthetic decking is relatively new, the jury is still out on how it holds up over time. We have seen wood decks easily last 40+ years, but we can’t yet say the same for synthetics. Synthetics do tend to be nearly 2 times heavier than wood, but we have also seen wood plastic composites become more flexible in high temperature areas.

At Garuda Custom Decks, Inc. we design and build custom yard structures including decks, porches, gazebos, arbors and more. If you are considering a new structure for your leisure, consult our decking specialists to see what materials may be right for your specific needs. Contact us today by filling out the form on our webpage, or call us at (919) 460-8802.