I’ve had an opportunity to build decks with every imaginable material to date. Wood was the standard for decades. Then along came fabricated material, such as composite. It was supposed to reinvent decking as we knew it. True, it did have its benefits. But when technology allowed us to enhance natural wood, we’ve come fool circle again. Here are some myths that still remain.
Myth 1: Wood is too expensive.
Domestic softwoods remain one of the most cost-effective decking options on the market. A durable, long-lasting Southern Pine deck is considerably less expensive than a synthetic deck. And since composite manufacturers try really hard to mimic wood’s natural beauty with faux grain etc., at some point, it further someone to ask the question, ‘why not just use wood’? Further, according to a recent Remodeling Magazine report, wood decks retain more of their value than composites when it comes time to sell.
Myth 2: Wood needs too much maintenance.
I’d say that there was truth to this many years ago. Provided that the wood is profiled and treated (which is mostly the case today), this is now largely a myth. There is no such thing as “no maintenance” for any deck, no matter what the material. But you might be surprised that Southern pine milled and treated require less maintenance today than synthetics. It’s come a long way!
Myth 3: Wood’s beauty can be easily duplicated.
This has been perpetuated for a long time. For as hard as the manufacturers try to duplicate wood, its natural beauty just can’t be beat. Nothing looks, feels or smells like Southern Pine. And multiple national surveys back up consumers’ top choice for deck building.
Myth 4: Composites are just as eco-friendly as wood.
You would think so. And that’s been a selling point for composite for many years. But wood is the only building material that is 100 percent renewable and sustainable. By comparison, composite decking — even planks made from recycled materials — can’t be reused in any way after the deck’s service life is done. In addition, wood actually improves air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) and emitting oxygen. That’s because when a tree is harvested, it traps carbon dioxide in its cells, keeping it out of the atmosphere.
Myth 5: Wood is depleting forestland.
Also not true. Southern Pine is harvested from the most sustainably managed forests in the world. In fact, more evergreen trees are growing in North America now than there were over 100 years ago.
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