Summertime is the time to lounge outside and enjoy the outdoors. A backyard deck is a great way to enhance your outdoor living space, providing a comfortable and inviting area for relaxation, gatherings, and various outdoor activities. When choosing the best material for your deck, you might be faced with the decision between vinyl decking and composite decking, each offering its benefits and considerations.
Ultimately, vinyl decking vs. composite decking can only be decided by you, the customer, based on your needs and preferences. Whichever option you choose, creating a welcoming outdoor space will undoubtedly enhance your enjoyment of the summer season. Here are the benefits of each so you can make an informed decision!
What is the Difference?
Composite decking looks similar to traditional decking. Unlike treated wood decking, composite is made from a mix of wood fibers, plastics, and bonding agents. The mix is heated, formed into boards, and then cooled. A polymer cap is applied to the outside of the boards to protect against UV rays and prevent moisture from soaking into the wood fibers. This cap is essential; otherwise, the composite would not have any benefit over wood.
Vinyl decking is 100% made of polyvinyl. Since the entire board is vinyl, your deck will not rot. Over the years, vinyl decking has improved, resulting in realistic wood grain patterns. Since the entire board is vinyl, the deck will be lighter than composite or wood. Also, vinyl is better at reflecting heat, so your deck will be usable in the dead of summer.
Benefits of Composite Decking
Composite decking offers a multitude of benefits that set it apart as an exceptional choice for outdoor spaces:
Composite decking boasts an impressively long lifespan due to its advanced engineered composition. Unlike traditional wood, it is highly resistant to rot, decay, and termite damage, ensuring a durable investment that can withstand the test of time. Unlike a wooden deck, you will not need to periodically stain your deck since the coloring is in the capping of the board.
Safety is paramount; composite decking addresses this concern with its splinter-free design. Composite decking is more fire-resistant than wood. Also, composite is more slip-resistant than wood since mold can’t grow on it.
3. Fade Resistance
Due to sun exposure and weather, a deck’s vibrant colors and aesthetics can wane over time. Composite decking, however, offers exceptional fade resistance. Its engineered composition minimizes the effects of UV rays and prevents color fading, maintaining a vibrant appearance year after year.
Traditional wood decks demand regular maintenance, including staining, sealing, and repainting to preserve their appearance. Composite decking significantly reduces maintenance demands. It requires no staining or sealing, and occasional cleaning with soap and water is sufficient to maintain its beauty and integrity.
5. Color Choices
Aesthetic flexibility is a crucial advantage of composite decking. It is available in various colors and finishes, allowing homeowners to match or complement their outdoor space with their preferred design theme. This versatility ensures that composite decking seamlessly integrates into any architectural style.
6. Eco Friendly
Recycled wood is used for composite decking boards. The plastics used in the board are also recycled, resulting in an environmentally friendly decking solution.
Benefits of Vinyl Decking
Vinyl decking presents a range of benefits that make it an appealing choice for outdoor spaces:
The durability of vinyl decking is a standout feature, contributing to its extended lifespan. Resistant to the effects of moisture, insects, and decay, vinyl decking offers a long-lasting solution that can endure various weather conditions and retain its structural integrity over time.
Safety is a top priority in any outdoor space, and vinyl decking addresses this concern by offering a non-slip surface even when wet. This slip-resistant quality enhances the deck’s safety, especially when water exposure is expected.
3. Fade Resistance
Vinyl decking is engineered to withstand the fading effects of UV rays. Unlike some traditional materials, vinyl has maintained its color vibrancy for years. Since the color is baked into the product, you will never need to repaint or stain vinyl decking.
One of the key benefits of vinyl decking is its low maintenance requirements. It does not need staining, sealing, or painting to preserve its appearance. Routine cleaning with basic household cleaning agents is usually sufficient to maintain cleanliness and visual appeal.
5. Color Choices
Vinyl decking comes in various colors and finishes, giving homeowners the flexibility to choose a design that complements their outdoor aesthetics. This range of choices ensures that vinyl decking seamlessly integrates into any architectural style or landscaping theme.
6. Temperature Resistance
Vinyl decking demonstrates remarkable temperature resistance, remaining cooler to the touch even under direct sunlight. This characteristic enhances comfort, making it a comfortable surface for walking barefoot during hot weather.
7. Eco Friendly
We use Clubhouse PVC decking for most of our deck installs. Clubhouse decking is eco-friendly and recyclable since no wood or wood fillers are used. Clubhouse offers recycling services, or you can take the decking to any other PVC recycler.
Vinyl Decking VS Composite, What is the difference?
When choosing the suitable decking material for your outdoor space, vinyl, and composite decking are two popular options that often enter the conversation. Understanding the similarities and differences between these materials can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and needs.
Vinyl VS Composite Similarities
Both vinyl and composite decking are known for their low maintenance requirements. Unlike traditional wood decks that need regular staining and sealing, vinyl and composite decks require minimal upkeep, making them convenient for busy homeowners.
Both materials offer enhanced durability compared to natural wood. Vinyl and composite decks are resistant to rot, insects, and decay, ensuring a longer lifespan for your outdoor deck. However, since vinyl decking is 100% vinyl, you will never need to worry about water damage. Water can damage composite decking if the cap gets damaged or the board is only capped on three sides. Also, if the end of the composite board is not capped, water can enter and make the ends swell.
Whether you opt for vinyl decking vs. composite or vice versa, you can access various colors, textures, and finishes. This variety allows you to select a deck design that complements your home’s exterior and style.
Vinyl VS Composite Differences
Vinyl decking is made primarily from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) material, providing resistance to moisture and excellent color retention. Composite decking, on the other hand, combines wood fibers and synthetic materials.
While both materials offer aesthetic choices, composite decking is designed to mimic natural wood’s look closely. This look is attractive to those who appreciate the natural appearance of wood without its maintenance demands. However, composite decking has a rougher surface than vinyl. Vinyl has a less rough surface and bends more than composite. Vinyl will be more comfortable than composite when walking barefoot.
Vinyl decking tends to stay cooler under direct sunlight, making it more comfortable for walking barefoot during hot weather. Composite decking can become hotter to the touch, potentially requiring outdoor rugs or other solutions.
In the past, composite decking was more expensive than vinyl. That is no longer the case! Some of the higher-end composite decking is more expensive than vinyl. Since composite is far heavier than vinyl, you will need a stronger deck frame which can result in higher costs.
Vinyl Decking VS Composite Decking, Which Is Right For You?
Which type of decking is right for you? Vinyl and composite decking are both better than traditional wood decking. However, vinyl decking technology has been advancing, providing clear benefits over traditional wood and composite decking. Vinyl decking has all the benefits of composite, zero chance of water damage, better temperature resistance, and more comfort. It is your choice whether to go with a vinyl deck vs. composite. Just make sure you research each product before purchasing. If you have any questions, contact us; we would be happy to help! In conclusion, here are the pros and cons of each board.
- Similar look to wood decking
- No staining required
- Longer lifespan than wood
- Won’t grow mold
- Boards can be scratched or chipped
- Colors fade more than vinyl decking
- Very hot in the summer
- High-end look
- No staining required
- Longest lifespan
- Won’t grow mold or rot
- Most resistant to color fading
- 100% water resistant
- Stays cool in the summer
- More Scratch Resistant
- More expensive than the basic – mid-grade composite decking
Areas We Serve
If you are in south-central Pennsylvania, we would love to help you achieve your outdoor living dreams! We are based out of Elizabethville, PA. We offer free decking consultations, so if you are interested, fill out a quote request or call us at 717-303-6134.
We look forward to hearing from you!