composite decks

Understanding Composite Decking Durability

As you explore decking materials, you want to purchase the most cost-effective, durable option available. You might consider wood decking due to its classic, rich appearance that never goes out of style. But other materials last longer and require less maintenance than wood.

One such option is composite decking, which has become especially popular among homeowners. Composite decking durability often surpasses wood durability by decades.

As deck-building artisans who prefer composite decking in Fishers, IN, our Artisan Outdoor Craftsman team outlines why composite decking material is so superior. Don’t make your final decision until you read the details below.

What Influences Composite Decking Durability?

In general, wood composite far outlasts wooden decking materials. But what influences a composite decking lifespan? And how do you maximize its strength and natural resistance to elements outdoors?

You’ll find a breakdown of those and other answers below. 


What materials make up a piece of composite decking? Most composite materials consist of up to 90% recycled plastic and wood. During the production process, the manufacturers blend these two materials for a solid, cohesive material. They then coat it in a layer of plastic.

When the wood and plastic bind together, they mimic the appearance of natural wood. The final plastic coating seals the composite board, protecting it from UV rays, moisture, and microorganisms that would otherwise eat away at the wood.

The average composite decking material already prevents plastic waste by giving would-be waste products new life. Manufacturers develop eco-friendly composite decking using methods that reduce pollution and environmental disruption. Plus, composite decking’s lifespan extends beyond wood and prevents additional wood usage. 

Deck Construction Services

Who you hire to build your deck will also factor into composite decking durability. Look for companies that specialize in decking versus general construction contractors. Decking companies source materials and develop services based on the best designs, features, and materials for outdoor spaces.

A reputable company with skilled artisans will go above and beyond to meet your expectations. Their artisans will help you select the best materials on the market before construction begins. During construction, they’ll ensure every detail aligns to craft a strong, durable deck with solid foundations, supports, and surfaces. 

A person creating custom composite decking

Deck Warranties

The materials’ manufacturer generally supplies composite warranties based on certain decking aspects. For example, Trex’s average warranty lasts around 25 years for most construction materials. This general warranty usually covers general wear and tear that could negatively impact the composite deck’s lifespan.

Trex also offers a warranty to protect the appearance of certain products. If you purchase a high-performance material that significantly discolors or fades within the stated period, you can replace the materials. Strong warranties covering all aspects of the deck ensure your deck retains its quality and strength for years to come.

Other manufacturers to consider include:

  • TimberTech
  • Azek
  • Fiberon
  • MoistureShield  

Maintenance Routine

The minimal maintenance of composite decking appeals to many busy homeowners. However, your composite deck still requires occasional upkeep to protect the materials’ integrity. A pressure-washing service twice a year usually does the trick.

Plus, composite decking doesn’t require the same harsh chemicals as wooden decks do. Liquid dish soap and water will suffice to cleanse the surface. Beyond the occasional washing, you can remove large debris by hand and sweep occasionally. 

Average Composite Decking Lifespan

So how long will your composite deck last before you must replace the materials? More conservative estimates indicate that these decks last around 20 years. However, a professionally crafted, well-maintained deck lasts an average of 30 to 40 years.

If you choose the highest-quality materials available, you could get up to 50 years out of your composite deck. Most wood decks won’t last longer than 20 years before requiring significant repairs and material replacements. Constructing your deck out of composite materials could more than double your deck’s lifespan. 

Composite Decking vs. Pressure-Treated Wood

Why is composite decking so much stronger than wood? Manufacturers pressure treat the wood used for decks and other outdoor structures with chemicals to make it last longer than untreated wood. Yet pressure-treated wood still doesn’t compare to composite materials due to the levels of raw exposure it endures. 

Sun Exposure

Sun exposure gradually weakens wood fibers. As the fibers weaken, the wooden planks become softer and less resilient. Eventually, the planks splinter, buckle, and crack.

The plastic that coats composite decking prevents UV rays from penetrating any wood fibers. Although composites expand and contract from temperature changes, you won’t notice any dramatic damage caused by extended sun exposure. Composite boards may fade in color, but this cosmetic change doesn’t weaken the structure’s integrity. 

Moisture Retention

Since composite decking materials combine plastic and wood, they aren’t as porous as wooden planks. They can’t absorb moisture deep into their fibers. Wood, on the other hand, is extremely porous with or without treatment.

It quickly absorbs moisture, causing it to expand. As it evaporates, the wood contracts. This endless process of expansion and contraction from moisture fluctuations weakens the wood.

Although regular maintenance and wood treatment may help it last a few years longer, this arduous process offers no permanent protection.   


As an organic material, wood will eventually decay. It lacks a permanent protective coating to help it maintain its resilience. Constant temperature fluctuations and changing moisture levels soften the fibers.

Mold and other organisms find softened wood fibers appealing. A wooden deck’s underside offers the perfect habitat for mold to flourish. It gets little to no sunlight and retains a shielded, damp environment.

Since composite decking doesn’t retain moisture nor degrade from sun exposure, it resists mold infestations. The fungi cannot break down the materials or reproduce as readily on a plastic coating. 

A person creating custom composite decks

Construct the Durable Deck of Your Dreams with Artisan Outdoor Craftsman in Fishers, IN

Composite decking durability is unrivaled among most of its peers. Our artisans at Artisan Outdoor Craftsman recommend capped composite decking for a material that lasts a decade longer than regular composites. Call 317-836-2355 to request a free estimate for your dream deck.