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Question DetailsAsked on 6/29/2013

Is it better to put composite decking over wood or to stain the wood instead

Composite decking

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1 Answer


If you mean as a replacement deck surface, depends a lot on your budget and what you like the looks of. Refinishing is cheapest, also has the shortest life. New wood is usually in the middle price wise (particularly if well treated or stained before installation), and composite or plastic is generally the most expensive but lasts longer than regular wood and about the same as periodically recoated ACA or CCA treated timber, aside from exotic tropical woods.

If you mean a choice between restaining the existing or covering the existing wood with composite, NEVER do that. Putting another layer that is not absolutely watertight (like a membrane) over deck boards is a definite no-no - you trap moisture at the interface between the top layer and the old boards, making for massive rot within a couple of years, as well as rotting your support timbers (joists and beams).

The only system I have seen that avoids this problem is a composite lightweight concrete decking system that puts a thick waerproof membrane over the deck boards, then a reinforced concrete layer on top of that. I would not count on it not cracking with deck movement over the years, though, especially for decks where the support piers do not go 5-6 feet into the ground.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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