Composite decking is expensive, but our Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, climate will be tough on any material. Will there be any long-term savings and benefits in upkeep and repairs using a composite material versus redwood?
Oliver ~ Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oliver, the cost savings that come from choosing a composite decking material over traditional redwood decking is the long term maintenance. Even redwood needs to be sanded and refinished every few years, a project that can easily cost a few hundred dollars, or at least a weekend or two of your precious summer months. On the other hand, composite decking needs no maintenance and does not need to be finished with paint or stain.
Home improvement warehouses sell 2x6 redwood decking for about $1.50 per linear foot, while composite decking costs between $1.90 and $2.25 a linear foot. Although if you want to make an accurate apples-to-apples price comparison, you have to include the additional cost of sanding, staining, and maintaining the redwood decking. Composite decking needs none of that and is ready to go right from the start.
It is also worth mentioning that redwood is a dwindling and precious resource. Native only to northern California, some experts estimate that only 3% of the original old growth redwood stands are still in existence. While there are some timber companies that sell FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified redwood, most retail lumber yards generally sell non-certified redwood, which means that the product is most likely harvested in an environmentally unsustainable manner.
There are so many styles of composite decking now available, that I think you can get a better product, with less hassles, when you purchase composite decking instead of redwood. It is also an opportunity for you to push the wood products industry towards more sustainable harvesting practices and products, which in the long run benefits the environment and our society. Plus, maintenance free products really pay off down the road, because you can sit back and enjoy your deck next summer instead of sanding and refinishing it!