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Western red cedar decking with a hammock hanging in the middle

5 biggest myths about decking materials

posted April 19, 2016


A naturally beautiful Real Cedar deck like this one doesn’t compare to a synthetic deck.

Whether you’ve decided this is the year you’ll add a deck to your home, or you’re still pondering the project, as soon as you say the words: “I want to build a deck,” you’ll start hearing and reading lots of advice. Some of it will be useful, like: “build the biggest deck you can afford” and “add features that fit your lifestyle.” However, you’ll likely hear conflicting opinions about what material to use.

Should you go with natural or composite decking? Your choice will affect how the deck looks and functions through its entire service life. And beware: there’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding wood vs. man-made composites. So as you weigh your options, make sure you know fact from fiction. Here, then, are the five biggest myths about wood:

Myth No. 1 — Wood is too expensive.

Domestic softwoods remain one of the most cost-effective decking options on the market. For example, a durable, long-lasting Western Red Cedar 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., it begs the question why pay more for a knock-off? Moreover, according to Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” report, wood decks retain more of their value than composites when it comes time to sell. So a naturally beautiful cedar deck is a better investment all round.


Choosing Real Cedar to build a durable structure like this beautiful freestanding deck is more cost effective than choosing a synthetic material.

Myth No. 2 — Wood needs too much maintenance.

Of course there is no such thing as “no maintenance.” But naturally rot-resistant woods such as Western Red Cedar require less care & maintenance than you may think. True, you’ll need to remove grime from the surface and between boards from time to time, as well as give your wood deck a thorough cleaning as needed, but that’s about it.

You may also choose to add a finish in order to enhance the look of your deck. Which is pretty easy considering Western Red Cedar is pitch and resin-free; and therefore, accepts and holds a wide range of finishing types. But for the lowest maintenance option possible, you can just let your deck weather naturally, and it will take on a rich silvered hue over time.


This naturally beautiful Real Cedar deck proves you can’t beat the real thing.

Myth No. 3 — Wood’s beauty can be easily duplicated.

Wrong. Multiple national studies show that wood remains the top choice for deck products. Why? Its natural beauty just can’t be beat. Nothing looks, feels or smells like Real Cedar – although composite manufacturers continue trying in vain to duplicate the look of natural wood grains.


The builders of this deck made an eco friendly choice when they chose Real Cedar.

Myth No. 4 — Composites are just as eco friendly as wood.

Not even close. Wood is the only building material that is 100 percent renewable and sustainable. Furthermore, untreated wood can be recycled at the end of its service life. 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. And there’s plenty more scientifically proven green facts where those came from.


Not only is this Real Cedar deck a stunner, it’s a top performer too.

Myth No. 5 – Wood is depleting forestland.

Not true. Real Cedar 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. As you gain knowledge about deck building options, you’ll learn more about wood characteristics and get a better understanding of why it’s a top choice for decks. For example, did you know that in addition to being rot, decay and insect resistant, cedar remains cool underfoot, unlike composites, which can get unbearably hot during the summer months?

For more outdoor living inspiration, browse through our free downloadable project plans or find a retailer near you.