Cedar vs. Composite Decking

Decking refers to the method of installing different materials across the floor. These decking mainly consists of wood, concrete, cedar, and composite. Each of these materials has its characteristics and qualities.

 However, cedar and composite are the most popular decking material options used in construction. These deckings are most suitable for surfaces with a higher risk of water damage and areas that are prone to floods or water fill-up. The decking ensures that your construction costs reduce, and property owners can install a more reliable option to protect against external factors.

It’s essential to understand how these different decking work. Thus, this article will discuss cedar decking vs. composite decking.

Cedar vs Composite Decking


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What is Cedar Decking?

Cedar is the type of wood that is prone to damage like rot, decay, and insect attacks. Many people prefer it for their decking projects due to its amazing features. There are plenty of other materials out there, and the one you choose depends on your priorities and goals.

Cedar continues to be a popular option for people looking for durable and comfortable decking. The cedar decking provides a warm and unique texture to homeowners. Ultimately, it’s one of the most compact and durable deckings that is perfect for any owner.

What is Composite Decking?

Composite decking, by definition, means combining natural and synthetic materials to make a deck. Most of these decks are made of a mixture of wood, fiber, and recycled materials. The composite decking is further divided into two different categories; uncapped wood and capped wood.

The uncapped wood is often exposed to different challenges, which include mold and mildew. This happens since it has exposed wood material. On the other side, the capped wood is much safer since it is covered with protective shells that help it overcome the challenges initially faced by uncapped wood.

Cedar vs Composite Decking Comparison Table

Cedar WoodComposite
Design Versatility1. Plenty to offer in terms of design versatility.
2. Easy to work with and customize.
3. Interesting visual points and details.
4. Looks natural and compact.
1. Tries to imitate wood’s natural beauty.
2. Doesn’t offer much compactness for a deck.
3. Your deck may end up looking like a plastic.
4. It may look unappealing to many homeowners.
Environmental Impact1. Gives off the smallest carbon footprint and is best for the environment.
2. Demands less energy and fuel when transporting.
3. Produces less air and water pollution.
4. Cedar is a renewable resource and is environment friendly.
5. Reduces global warming by absorbing the CO2.
6. Biodegradable.
1. Produces greenhouse gases which can pose significant problems for the environment.
2. The material does not decompose easily. 
Finishing and Maintenance1. Requires annual maintenance.
2. Removal of debris and cleaning required with a detergent solution.
3. It can easily last for years, even without plenty of maintenance efforts.
1. Grows more mold over the years, which damages the structure.
2. Requires more chemicals for proper cleaning.
3. Lack of maintenance tools for composite material in the market.
4. Finding matching pieces can be hard.
Performance properties1. Naturally resistant to rot, decay, and other damage.
2. Ideal for outdoor locations.
3. Life expectancy is over 25 years.
4. Best choice for homes in extreme climates.
5. Low shrinkage factor.
1. Heavier than wood.
2. Hard to work with and customize.
3. Require more materials to implement.
4. More cost in terms of transport.
5. More cost-effective.
6. They tend to expand and contract.

Cedar Decking vs Composite Decking: Which is better?

There are plenty of differences in terms of functionality with decking options. The homeowners often wonder which design they should go for. They also have numerous factors in their mind that help them make their decision.

Design Versatility


The cedar wood provides plenty of options to homeowners in terms of design and appearance. These woods come in a range of grades and profiles that are easily customizable and can produce any desired look. Not only that, the wood is lightweight and offers easy makeover and customization.

It has amazing visual points that any homeowner would want on their decks. One of the best beauty materials is the real cedar deck which is the optimum choice for anyone.


Overall, it looks like plastic and may not seem as natural as wood. Moreover, it requires plenty of time to customize. Some homeowners have called it a poor imitation of cedarwood.

Environmental Impact


Cedar wood has the least significant impact on the environment. With the help of cedarwood, homeowners have a very small carbon footprint. Cedar wood also produces less air and water pollution compared to other materials.


The process of customizing and making composite produces dangerous greenhouse gases. Apart from that, it is also difficult to decompose them in landfills.

Finishing options

Cedar wood

This wood is an easy solution for all deck needs. As far as finishing is concerned, homeowners don’t apply anything to it since it is already perfect in terms of appearance. There are plenty of integrations that homeowners can add to it, such as transparent and semi-transparent finishes.


Composite, on the other hand, also offers many finishings. A common finish is with synthetic materials.


Cedar wood

This material requires very little maintenance and is a good option compared to other materials. Even without maintenance, it will offer an amazing look as time passes.


Composite is not beneficial for the homeowner as a deck since it can fall victim to mold and mildew. It also has fewer additional tools for renovation in the market compared to others. They also require extensive money for chemicals for cleaning.

Performance Properties

Cedar wood

This wood has the ability to last over 25 years without any signs of decay or rot. Moreover, it also keeps pests away. Any homeowner going ahead with cedar wood will not regret it in terms of performance.


Composites are usually hollow and give very little in terms of performance. They are cheap, but they are not sturdy enough to withstand water or moisture.

Final Verdict

If we compare both materials, cedar decking surpasses composite by a significant margin. Every homeowner should choose cedar for their decks, but if they have a limited budget, they can choose composite instead.

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