The demand for RealWood natural hardwood Brazilian decking is growing rapidly as deck builders, home builders and homeowners become aware of RealWood attributes. This decking is now stocked in the United States.

How does Composite Material compare to RealWood decking?

Decking Appearance

While the carpet-like uniform coloring of composite decking is nice, the natural beauty of the many colors in RealWood hardwood decking is beautiful.

Many Composite decking choices have a wood grain pattern etched into the surface. Like most plastics, composite decking scratches easily by dragging a chair or walking a large dog across it. Repetitious scratches create a noticeable path across the etched grain pattern. This will occur on a deck from the door to the gate where traffic is heaviest. These scratches cannot be repaired because one can not match the etched grain pattern. Attempts to sand them flat leave cloudy abrasion marks. RealWood hardwood decking is difficult to scratch and can be sanded to match and look as good as new when scratches do occur.

Composite decking is available in a seemingly infinite range of color choices like vinyl flooring and carpeting. Many of these choices are impregnated with repetitive wood-like grain patterns. RealWood hardwood decking is available in a variety of natural colors and grain patterns. Some species have a variety of colors throughout the variety of grains. All naturally beautiful. Composite and hardwood deck boards may both be kerfed (edge grooved) to be installed with hidden fasteners.

Railing components are manufactured from composite material so that posts and handrail will have the same appearance as the decking. Composite posts may not be notched because doing this would reduce the structural integrity so much that they would not support the weight of a person leaning against them, making them unsafe. Exact matching composite railing lumber can be challenging if it is supplied from a different run than the decking or if it has weathered and is not as new. Matching balusters are not used in composite decking.

Matching railing and deck components are available to match all decking options in RealWood Brazilian decking. Made from the hardest and strongest woods in the world, these hardwood components offer a lifetime of beauty, durability, and safety. Hardwood posts can be notched for the easiest, strongest and most attractive installation preferred by all professionals. Matching balusters, handrails and stair components provide the finishing touches for a beautiful deck.

Workability, Flammability, Maintenance & Repair

Composite deck boards droop between joists over time because they do not have the proper structural properties to support their own weight. This results in an uneven deck surface. RealWood deck boards remain straight.

Plastic and oil-based composite decking burns. RealWood hardwood decking is very dense and is very difficult to burn. Many species have the same fire rating as concrete.

Plastic bends, droops, and cracks in weather. The installation instructions for composite decking components are very specific and warrantee driven. These instructions prohibit the installer from notching posts, for instance. Plastic makes great milk jugs, food containers, and water bottles but does not serve well as structural material. RealWood hardwood can be used up to and beyond normal wood installation practices. It is stronger, lasts longer, more durable, more tightly grained and expands and contracts less than any other wood on the planet. It can be nailed, screwed, glued, sawed, planed, milled, sanded and mitered like any other wood. RealWood is the first choice for professional carpenters.

With no maintenance, composite and RealWood hardwood Brazilian decking will retain the same structural integrity for many years. Composite decking will not degrade in strength for up to 10 years while RealWood hardwood decking will retain its sound structural integrity for 30 years and longer (depending on the species) without maintenance.

Colors fade in sunlight. Composite decking color fades and natural wood also fades. The natural beauty of RealWood hardwood decking can be maintained by periodic (usually annual) finish applications and can be restored like new (if allowed to fade) by cleaning and refinishing. Colorfastness is not warranted on composite decking and it can not be maintained or restored.

A damaged composite board cannot be easily matched with another identically weathered board. New RealWood hardwood boards will not match other previously installed boards initially but will weather to fit into the deck colors easily given the individuality of natural hardwood. Like snowflakes, no two boards are exactly the same. Replacement boards quickly age to match nicely. This is a characteristic of naturally beautiful decking.

Resistance To Rot & Decay

Plastic composite decking does not rot from water but will decay from UV exposure over time. Any hardwood species that survives the natural rainy climates with months of rain like the RealWood hardwood decking species do has proven rot resistance. These hardwoods will not rot.

Bugs do not eat oil-based plastic decking. Bugs cannot eat RealWood hardwood decking. It is simply too hard to eat. There are also too many other delectable softwood choices in the yard next door.

Environmental Impact

Environmentally Responsible and Sustainable: Oil-based plastic composite decking material (like water bottles) are not biodegradable, not reusable and have a limited availability given the finite amount of oil left on this earth. By buying RealWood hardwood decking, you are contributing to sustaining rain forests. Your purchase provides the economic value needed to sustain these forests and prevent them from being scraped and turned into soybean (ethanol) or minefields. Like cypress siding, heart pine flooring and real mahogany paneling, RealWood hardwood is reusable for decades.

Cost To Install And Maintain

RealWood hardwood decking costs less than comparable composite decking choices. There are a few hollow composite deck boards that are priced similarly to hardwood decking but… they’re hollow.

Characteristic Of Material

RealWood Brazilian Decking

Composite Decking

Stable Between Joists Yes Sags
Scratch Resistant Yes No
Scratches Can Be Repaired Yes No
Many Colors Available Yes Yes
Beautiful Grain Patterns Yes Etched
Matching Railing Lumber Yes Yes
Will Not Rot Yes Yes
Insect And Termite Resistant Yes Yes
No Maintenance Required Yes Yes
Useful Life Beyond 10 Years Yes No
Naturally Beautiful Yes No
Color Can Be Maintained Yes No
Color Can Be Restored Yes No
Burn Resistant Yes No
Replacement Boards Match Yes No
Hidden Fasteners Available Yes Yes
Environmentally Responsible Yes No
Environmentally Sustainable Yes No
Notch In Posts To Install Yes No
Structurally Functional Yes No
Price Less More

Premium RealWood™ hardwood provides unsurpassed durability and beauty in a wide range of colors and grain patterns. No pressure-treating with protective chemicals is required. Conventional pressure treated decking requires annual maintenance to retain its termite protection and resistance to rot and decay. Softer woods like oak, redwood, and pine are not as resistant to weather and rot and are easily eaten by bugs.