Deck-building trends come and go, including new styles and building materials like composites. However, wood remains the material of choice for the majority of deck projects, according to Popular Mechanics.
When you’re weighing what type of material to use for your deck project, you’ll likely hear pros and cons for both composites and wood — as well as a lot of misinformation. Here are four fallacies about wood decking that you should never believe, and the truth behind each:
Myth 1. Wood won’t hold its value the way a composite deck will. Build your new deck from wood, and you could recoup nearly 72 percent of the cost of your investment at the time of resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. That’s because a wooden deck increases resale value more than a composite one; the report notes composite decks recoup about 65 percent of their investment at time of resale.
Myth 2. Wood is difficult to maintain. All decks require some maintenance, even if they’re built from a material the manufacturer touts as virtually maintenance free. Naturally rot-resistant woods like Western Red Cedar actually require less maintenance than you may believe. If you choose to stain or finish your wooden deck, you’ll have to refinish it to maintain its beauty and weather resistance. Or, you could allow your cedar deck to weather naturally. It will acquire a rich, silvered hue over time. The only maintenance it will require is a good cleaning now and then to remove dirt from the surface and between boards to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Myth 3. Wood-look isn’t unique anymore; you can get that appearance from composites. Do false teeth ever look as natural and right as real ones? Do fake nails? Mother Nature remains the greatest artist. While many composites attempt to mimic the look of wood, they can’t replicate the unique beauty, feeling or smell of real cedar.
Myth 4. Wood contributes to deforestation and that’s bad for the environment. Real cedar is harvested from sustainably managed forests — every year, forest managers plant new trees to replace the ones cut. It makes good business sense to sustain the source of your livelihood, so wood producers take care to protect the health and longevity of their forests.
However, wood is environmentally friendly for other reasons, too. Cedar is naturally rot-, decay- and insect-resistant, meaning there’s no need to treat it with chemicals. Woods such as cedar are also 100 percent renewable and sustainable; once your wood deck’s usable life is done (long in the future), the planks can naturally decompose or be recycled for other uses. Once composite decks wear out, the material will sit in landfills and never degrade.
Wood also improves air quality. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide (a major component of greenhouse gases) and emit oxygen. After a tree is harvested, the carbon dioxide contained in its cells remains trapped there, and out of the atmosphere.
To learn more about Western Red Cedar, visit RealCedar.com.