Composite Decking VS Hardwood Decking: Which Is Right for You?

May 15, 2012

It’s official: the warm weather is finally here. If you’re like most Portlanders, you’ve probably been trying to soak up as much of the sunny start of summer as possible. You may have even decided to build an outdoor deck or patio. Great! Portland deck and patio construction is pretty straightforward (we’ve been doing it for years), but there is still one important question you must answer before the project can begin: “What type of building material should I choose?”


Currently, the most popular Portland deck and patio building materials are composite and hardwood. Both have their pros and cons. The following are a few of the benefits (and downsides) of both composite and hardwood decking. Enjoy!



Composite decking is made from wood fibers that have been blended with plastic, vinyl, or acrylic materials. It has gained popularity due to its relatively low maintenance and durability.



Most homeowners that choose composite decking over hardwood do so because it requires very little maintenance and is built to last a lifetime. Since they’re made of synthetic materials, composite decks don’t require any finish or special protection – the protective plastic coating does the trick. They also don’t require a lot of cleaning. Most composite decks simply need to be hosed down a couple times a year to keep them looking good.



Composite decks tend to have a larger up-front cost than hardwood decks, which can discourage homeowners looking to build a deck on a budget. The look and feel of composite decking can also be a turn-off. Many homeowners prefer a natural wood deck to the plastic feel of composite. And unlike hardwood decks, composite decks can’t be refinished. Any scratches or dents in the deck are usually there to stay.



Hardwood has been the go-to building material for Portland decks and patios for years. That's not to say, however, that it doesn't have its drawbacks.



The biggest appeal of a hardwood deck is its appearance. The look, feel, and smell of hardwood decking materials like Ipe, Cumaru, and Tigerwood is hard to beat. Wood decks also come with a smaller price tag most of the time, which is a big draw for most homeowners.



Being a natural material, hardwood decking is going to experience some sort of decay. There isn’t any way around that fact. Even if you treat the wood with a protective stain or finish, prolonged exposure to the sun or nasty weather can cause irreversible damage. Hardwood decks also require regular cleaning, especially after a particularly nasty winter.


As you can see, both composite and hardwood decking materials have their pros and cons. Which material is best for you really depends on your specific needs as a homeowner. One thing is for certain, though: regardless of your material preference, Improvement Remodeling can help you with every step of the deck design and building process. Contact Improvement Remodeling today to discuss your Portland deck or patio construction process.

Return to Blog Main Page

Call for Guarantee & Satisfaction Details.

"I recommend Edward and his crew for anything from simple handiwork to a major remodel. He gave us ideas on products that made our spaces do double and sometimes triple duty.

- Patricia McCracken
"They did a full house remodel, including bathrooms, moving walls, finish work, and windows. They were amazing and the interactions with them were very positive."

- Mara Delay
"Improvement Remodeling did a fantastic job updating our bathroom facilities. I would recommend them for anyone wanting to upgrade or remodel their facilities."

-Steve Jones
Les Schwab Tire Center
“Edward was a pleasure to work with during my home remodeling experience. His eye for detail and pride in his work are second to none."

- Benjamin Boden