Wood is the original decking material, but recently composite has emerged as an alternative. So which is right for your garden?

Wood decking

Wood decking is normally made from pressure treated softwood, to ensure a long life. While wood has a traditional look, it can also be painted or stained for a more striking appearance.

Maintenance: Wood decking is likely to last longer if it is cleaned and treated every so often.

Lifespan: 15 years+ if you buy pressure treated decking and if it’s well looked after.

Keep in mind: Wood decking can change colour, but stains and paints can be used to restore it.

Composite decking

Composite decking is generally made from a mix of wood fibre and plastic. It doesn't look or feel like wood, but can be popular with people looking for a contemporary feel in their garden.

Maintenance: Composite decking doesn't require treatment, but it does require maintenance to stop it becoming slippy or mouldy. Once a year it will need a wash and scrub. Mould needs to be removed otherwise it can lead to staining.

Lifespan: Potentially up to 20 years, although composite decking is still a new material so it's difficult to know exactly how it will fare.

Keep in mind: Composite boards are heavier than wood (so they can be harder to move around) and unlike wooden decking, can't be painted – so make sure you choose a colour you like!


The right decking for you will depend on your personal preference. If you like the look and feel of wood, nothing beats the real thing and as timber is a natural product, it is more environmentally friendly than composite decking. Composite decking may be a good alternative for those who want a product that offers a long lifespan without needing to apply treatment, however it is considerably more expensive than timber decking.