Last updated on March 31st, 2022
Composite decking vs wood cost guide
Decking is a practical yet classy addition to any garden, large or small. But it can be hard to choose between composite decking and wood. Here, we’ll take a look at the differences between the two and we’ll break down the typical composite decking vs wood cost in the UK.
Decking is a practical yet classy addition to any garden, large or small. But it can be hard to choose between composite decking and wood. Here, we’ll take a look at the differences between the two and we’ll break down the typical composite vs wood deck cost in the UK.
Composite or wood deck? The cost
|Item||Unit||Cost - low||Cost - high||Average cost|
|Composite decking materials||Per m2||£40||£100||£70|
|Composite decking materials and installation||For m2||£65||£125||£95|
|Wood decking materials||Per m2||£15||£30||£22.50|
|Wood decking installation||For 20 m2||£400||£1,000||£700|
|Hardwood decking materials||Per m2||£85||£100||£92.50|
|Hardwood decking materials and installation||Per m2||£140||£160||£150|
|Softwood decking materials||Per m2||£30||£50||£40|
|Softwood decking materials and installation||Per m2||£50||£80||£65|
Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now
Composite decking is one of the main alternatives to timber decking, made from a blend of wood fibres and recycled plastic. Because of its construction, it weathers well and requires very little maintenance in comparison to wooden decking.
Typically the composite decking price will be higher than the price of wood decking. However, because it’s so durable, you can expect to spend less money maintaining, repairing or replacing it, saving you money in the long run.
How much more does composite cost compared to wood?
On average, you can expect to pay around £95 per m² for composite decking, including installation. In comparison, wood decking will cost around £65 – £150 per m² on average including installation. The total cost of wood decking will depend on the type of wood, with hardwood being more expensive.
The cost difference between softwood/hardwood decking and composite decking will depend on the quality of the wood or composite decking you’re choosing between.
For instance, the price of wood decking can vary hugely depending on the type of wood and finish you’re looking at. You could save money initially by opting for softwood. However, this will come with more maintenance costs and will be less durable.
Similarly, the composite decking prices will depend on what kind of composite decking we’re talking about. It can come with or without a plastic coating (capped or uncapped) and you can buy it either solid or hollow.
The price will also vary depending on how wood-like your composite decking looks. High quality composite decking can also be made to look very similar to authentic wood and it will come with a higher price tag. As an example, Trex decking materials can cost anywhere between £900 – £1,300 for a 15 m² deck, depending on whether you opt for their basics, natural or transcend range.
Why is composite decking prices higher than wood?
The main reason that composite decking is more expensive than wood is that a lot more work goes into manufacturing each board. For example, wood boards pretty much just need to be cut and sawn before selling. However, composite boards require extensive work and machinery to blend together the wood and recycled plastic that they’re made from.
Is composite decking cheaper than wood for maintenance?
Yes! Composite decking tends to need a lot less maintenance than wood, which means you’ll spend less in the long run.
Wood decking needs a lot of maintenance every year, such as sealing, staining and painting. Otherwise, it could warp, rot or crack. Not only can this maintenance be costly in itself, but if you don’t adequately maintain your wood decking, it could lead to expensive repair or replacement costs.
On the other hand, composite decking needs very little maintenance. You’ll just need to give it a sweep and hose down a few times a year. It’s also likely to last a lot longer. So, although it does cost more to buy upfront, it will pay itself back fairly quickly.
Composite decking vs wood – advantages of both
Still not sure whether to choose composite decking or wood? There’s no one right answer and the right material for you will depend on your preference. However, here’s a quick summary to help you decide.
- Environmentally friendly (manufactured using recycled plastic and wood).
- Less slippery.
- More expensive upfront.
- Easier and cheaper to maintain.
- More durable.
- Environmentally friendly (if taken from sustainable forests).
- Looks more authentic.
- More slippery.
- Cheaper upfront.
- More expensive and time-consuming to maintain.
- Durable if adequately maintained.
Composite decking price comparison summary
- Composite decking is made from a blend of wood and recycled plastic.
- Wood decking is cheaper to purchase than composite decking.
- Composite decking costs less to maintain and tends to be longer-lasting.