Composite Timber Vs Solid Timber

Composite Vs Solid Timber, stuck on deciding?

Composite timber is a fast growing material being used in the building and construction industry, specified by architects, building designers, builders and even home owners who are aware of the product.

Despite the above, solid timber has long been a warm finish and traditional choice made by many, but not the most practical or cost effective. With the advance of so many materials in the industry it is hard to decide so we discuss advantages and disadvantages below for you:

Advantages

Composite Timber Tiles & Decking

  • Ready to go! The finished product is ready to use straight away. All involved in the industry know the pain of searching for oils, stains, sanding back and trying to play with sealers and select finishes.The composite timber product is available in many shapes, sizes, colours and textures.
     
  • Maintenance: Maintaining, cleaning and repairing timber is a head ache and a costly one too. Every few years the requirement to re-colour and clean solid timber arrives and home owners just don't have the time for it. A reconstituted wood system will save the hassles of bug and termite protection also.
     
  • Green-friendly: both public and private areas (indoors or outdoors) deserve to be free of chemicals and hazardous toxins found in many stains used on solid timber flooring systems. Through the use of recycling plastics and wood, composite timber includes a green tick of approval.
     
  • Safety first: ever had a splinter or slip out on the deck? Well maybe solid timber isn't the first decking finish you would select. Slip and splinter free flooring is also part of this innovation.
     
  • Durability: don't get confused on this one. Some species of solid wood are very durable but going composite can save the struggle of sorting it out. Most suppliers or manufacturers offer long guarantees - even over 25 years.
composite timber decking
Disadvantages

Although the product is constantly growing and changing there are a few cons:

  • Costs: are higher in the beginning, or higher than cheap solid timber species - which are not suitable but still used at times. If a high quality natural timber is selected the price will be equivalent to going with a composite wood any way. After the staining, polishing, oiling and other layers + maintenance are added into the equation you may find composite wins already.
     
  • Appearance: maybe you just do not like a recycled product or any thing that is not natural timber decking and this is understandable. Lower priced composite woods are not the most visually appealing finish but higher quality products do offer a very stylish look.
     
  • Versatility: the main issue is many people do want to grind, sand or strip their deck or floor and change colours and finishes. This can not be done with composite timber.

Solid Timber Flooring & Decking

Every Australian loves a good timber deck and it has been a traditional choice for many years. If you select a timber which is not an endangered species but a species from a renewable source such as a plantation then solid timber is also an environmentally friendly choice. 

The main reason people avoid composite is it is not a natural product that lasts a "life-time" like a standard timber deck. See advantages and disadvantages below:

Advantages
  • Price: initially a timber deck can be cheaper to build and purchase but keep in mind the cost of finishing and layers of required protection.
     
  • Verstatility: are you the type who likes to change their floor, wall and home colours quite often? Selecting solid timber may be better for you as it can easily transition between modern, rustic or more styles.
     
  • Natural: what can be more natural than a fresh timber deck? This is not always true though, many composite flooring choices are mistaken for wood nowadays!
natural timber decking
Disadvantages
  • Maintenance: it's hard work to keep it looking like it did when it was first installed. After a while you may find weathering destroys natural wood and creates rotting, warping and combined with expansion and contraction, your deck won't be looking so good. Also, having the option of versatility is not always good, as incorrect choices can lead you going back and forth and ruin the deck all together.
     
  • Sustainability: although products which are from a plantation are readily available many are not aware of their purchase and select timbers from a species that is not being grown specifically for timber use.
     
  • Resistance: mould, rotting and pest/termite resistance are a common issue with solid timber decking that does require a protective coat.