Fiber Cement Decking vs. Wood Decking

A deck with brown deck boards beside a white wall.

A home’s deck is a peaceful space to read and think. It is also a wonderful area to entertain. A deck energizes a backyard and creates an area where family and friends can make memories for years to come.

Along with the deck’s design and location, a deck’s material is one of the biggest decisions a homeowner must make. For years, treated natural wood, such as southern pine, has been the popular choice for a deck’s material. However, most wood, except very high-end tropical wood, has a tendency to crack, split and warp with changes in temperature and humidity.

Wood decks are also high maintenance. They require annual pressure washing and resealing every two to three years. Wood decks are beautiful when first constructed, unfortunately, their beauty and structural integrity fades.

A new decking product has recently become available that tackled these issues, fiber cement. Fiber cement decking not only stands up to severe weather conditions, but resists damage from hail and insects and will not rot, warp or split.

Fiber cement also requires little to no maintenance. Before selecting the material for your new deck, it is wise to consider the product's durability, maintenance requirements, along with its appearance and cost.

Durability of the Decking Product

Choosing a long-lasting product for a home’s deck will save the homeowner aggravation and money. A durable, attractive deck also adds value to a home.

Wood decks have a warmth that naturally connects the inside of a home with the outdoors. However, wood may not be the best choice if you want the deck to last the lifetime of the home.

Moisture in the wood, along with the sun, rain, and snow, can all lead to a deck rotting and warping. Wood decks often need replacing every 15 years.

Fiber cement decks combat these durability problems. The fiber cement boards are resistant to moisture, ultraviolet rays from the sun, insects, and decay and is flame resistant. For a durable, long-lasting deck that won’t warp, split or rot over time, fiber cement decking is the best choice over wood.

Maintenance Requirement of the Decking Product

Not all homeowners enjoy working around the house. When selecting a product for a home, always consider the product’s maintenance needs.

Wood has long been considered a wonderful material even for pool decking. However, wood decks require upkeep; with the lower end wood requiring more than the higher grade woods. Wood decks need annual cleaning. Every two or three years they must be sealed and stained. Without this maintenance, the wood will be more prone to warp, split and lose its natural color and texture.

An alternative to wood decking is fiber cement decking. Fiber cement decking is nearly maintenance-free. The boards do not absorb moisture, fade in the sun, or peel over time. They maintain their realistic wood grain and texture through the hot and cold weather

 The only time the deck needs to be repainted or stained is if the homeowner wants to change the color. For a homeowner who would rather play on the weekend than work around the house, fiber cement decking should be their choice over wood.

A Deck Should Complement and Enhance the Home and Yard

The exterior of a house showcases the home to visitors and those passing by. A deck, depending on its location, may be the first thing a guest notices. A rotting, splitting, gray deck will damage the overall look of the home’s exterior, regardless of how lovely the landscape and house.

One of the most common products used for decking is treated southern pine. Using pine for decking can be a problem because after exposure to moisture, the sun, and extreme temperatures, it can warp, cup, split and rot. Without regular maintenance these decks soon become an eyesore, damaging the overall look of your home and its value.

Fiber cement decking avoids these problems because season to season, the boards do not swell, split, rot or fade. The deck stays beautiful year after year; maintaining both your home's beauty and value. A deck is an extension of both the home and yard. Fiber cement decking will ensure the beauty of your home for years to come.

Decks are a place in your home for family and friends to casually gather and enjoy each other's company. It is also a space to retreat and relax at the end of a long day. Choosing the right material for your deck will ensure its durability and also a good return on your investment.

For a deck that will stand the test of time, through hot summers and cold winters, is low maintenance, and is a beautiful extension of your home, consider fiber cement decking. Fiber cement boards have a realistic wood grain and texture and are available in many colors; sure to fit the style and personality of any home.