People are always asking me if ultra low-maintenance materials like composite decking are worth the investment. There are many practical reasons why I respond with a resounding YES! But the first reason is purely psychological. What is the point of venturing into your backyard oasis, where the entire purpose is to relax in the same way you would at a resort, but when you look around you are constantly reminded of all the maintenance you have to do?? It kind of negates the point doesn’t it?
Now, I know there are some individuals with desk jobs that actually look forward to spending a hard earned weekend stripping, sanding, and re-staining their cedar deck floor every single year, as they find it to be therapeutic. I find these people to be just as unusual as those crazies who like to juice carrots at four in the morning. They’re a clear exception to the rule. Most people simply do not have the time to maintain their deck, so they are then forced to spend money for somebody else to do it, or they just let it go. In my experience, most people let it go, resulting in a sorry looking space that resembles anything but an “oasis.”
Today’s ultra-low maintenance decking has come a country mile from where it began decades ago. My favourite product is Trex Transcend. Not only does it look like natural wood, not fade, take a beating, and not mold like other composites have been known to do, but it allows for higher elements of creativity by being able to use multiple colours on a single project. Very, very cool.
So let’s get right down to the practical, shall we? Why is the composite decking worth the money? I’ll break down the costs. Let’s assume you are considering the three main decking choices; pressure treated, cedar, and composite. Let’s assume your decking project in pressure treated material will cost $10K installed, to use a round number. The same project will run you roughly $12.5K in cedar, or $15-$16 in composite. That’s quite the jump for the composite right? So why would over 90% of my projects use composite decking? Simple.
When I say the words “property value,” most homeowners have their ears perk up immediately. When I then explain that even the most boring square deck done in composite will average a 90% return on investment, their ears perk up even more. When I then explain that most of my clients receive back far more than what they paid for their deck due to a killer design, they start getting excited. This, coupled with the fact that a wooden deck will typically add nothing to property value due to the fact that prospective buyers don’t want to inherit maintenance issues, and it becomes a no-brainer for most.
It’s also pretty cool that a product like Trex is made up of 95% recycled materials. So, not only are you avoiding yearly staining, and increasing your property value, but protecting the environment as well. Nice touch!
Product costs based on value at time of publish: Spring 2013.