Should you use timber or composite boards for decking?

If you are considering installing decking in your home, one of the first decisions you will have to make is what materials to use. The main options are timber or composite decking. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.


Timber is the traditional material for decking. There are many different species that can be used, which have different properties. Its main advantage is its attractive appearance. Each board is slightly different from the others, which means your decking will have a unique look. You will not need to stain it if you do not want to, as the untreated timber will have a natural appearance that looks as if it has been weathered with time.

Timber is also a very durable material. It is strong and is not particularly susceptible to marks and scratches. Species can also be used that are resistant to termite damage or rot, and it can also be sourced from sustainable forests to make it an eco-friendly option.

Finally it is worth remembering that the upfront costs of timber are likely to be less than composite decking.


Composite decking is an artificial product made from timber and plastic. It is made from recycled materials and so is an environmentally friendly option.

Its main advantage is that it is low maintenance. It should never require staining or oiling, whereas timber boards will need to be re-sealed every couple of years. It is also not prone to some of the problems that can affect wood. Although timber boards can be bought that will not be so susceptible to weather or insect damage, composite boards are immune to these problems. They will not rot, warp, splinter or split, and they should not need to be replaced during the lifetime of the deck. They will only need to be cleaned every few months with a garden hose.

Composite timber is also very easy to install. The boards all come in standard sizes and have grooves built into the sides to allow them to interlock and provide a flat and smooth surface. This will make the installation quicker, which will save money as well as time.


The choice of whether to use timber or composite boards for your decking is one that only you can make. Both can be environmentally friendly and have a natural look, but timber may need more maintenance and composite may be more expensive when it is first bought.