Composite decking is a man-made decking material made from a variety of wood fibers, often recycled plastic, and bonding agents. A composite deck looks closer to real-wood decking than fully plastic alternatives, while still requiring much less maintenance and labor than a wood deck.
While a composite deck is a little more pricey than wood, it is often a preferred decking material for its long lifespan, easy care, and close to natural appearance.
A 12×12 composite deck costs $5,250 – 10,000 depending on the decking brand you choose, additional features and accessories as well as the local cost of professional labor.
If you are ready to install a new deck, call your local decking pros for a FREE ESTIMATE!
Average Cost of Composite Decking
To build a composite deck, expect to pay between $20 and $38 per square foot of decking, including all materials and professional installation.
For an average deck size of 12’ by 14 (228 square feet), homeowners pay $5,821 on the low end, and can spend as much as $10,826+ to install a high-end composite deck.
The national average cost to install a composite deck is $8,000.
|Composite Deck||Price per Square Foot (Installation Included)||Average Total Price|
You can use our Deck Cost Calculator to quickly and accurate estimate the cost of various decking materials, including composite.
Cost Breakdown for 144 Square Foot Composite Deck
It can be helpful to consider the price of different aspects of deck installation, especially if some features you intend to keep and do not need replacement. For instance, not every home will require a new substructure installation if there is already an existing one.
The table below outlines the major features that will factor into the pricing of your new composite deck.
|Decking Feature||Average Cost|
|Boards||$600 – $2,000|
|Railing||$350 – $1,000|
|Substructure||$775 – $1,250|
|Hardware||$100 – $200|
|Posts||$300 – $750|
You can also refer to our comprehensive Deck Building Price Guide for a more detailed overview of decking prices.
Professional Installation Cost of Composite Decking
On average, the installation cost of composite decking is $7.52 per square foot, which varies depending on local labor costs.
For a 228 square foot deck, labor will cost about $2,165 for around thirty five hours of work. This number is only for decks with an existing substructure.
If you need to install a new substructure, as well as the deck and railings, the cost will be higher, at about $3,138 and will take around fifty hours to complete.
Factors that Impact Price of Composite Decking
While composite decking will never be cheap, there are some factors that make composite decking more pricey than the bare minimum, such as add-ons and accessories. Of course, other factors such as existing obstructions are unavoidable, but it is important to note how they will impact the overall price of your decking.
Of course, the size of the deck itself will be a primary determinant of price, both for the materials as well as the installation cost. While larger decks cost more, some contractors may offer packages with reduced costs for larger projects such as multiple decks.
If you do not have an existing substructure or your substructure is damaged and needs repairing or replacement, expect to pay more. Installing new substructure can add between $775 and $1,250 to the total price.
Old Deck Removal
Removing an old deck will require additional labor and tools, upping the cost. A home demolition company can remove your old deck for you, at an average cost of $5 to $15 per square foot.
Time of Year
Installing a new deck, regardless of material, is always the most costly in spring as homeowners want it ready for the summer. Waiting to install your new deck until late summer or fall can reduce prices significantly, as many contractors will likely be offering bargain deals during this time period.
Any additional accessories to the decking will increase the price. For instance, if you want built-in lighting or plumbing for a hot tub, for instance, will cost extra. Electricians and plumbers usually charge between $60 and $90 per hour, so even a small job can rack up a large price tag.
Grading / Leveling
If you need to level your ground in order to build the deck, you will need to hire a construction company to do so, which can cost between $300 and $1,000.
Structural obstacles such as trees or large stones will need to be removed in order to install the deck, which will add to the final price.
Angles of Deck Corners
If you want your deck edge shape to be interesting or creative, or even if you need sharp angles to match the layout of your home, installing a deck with angles will cost more. For instance, installing a hexagon-shaped deck will certainly cost more than installing a square deck, as it requires more labor and time to complete.
What Is Composite Decking Made Out Of?
Composite decking is made from three main material types: Polyethylene plastic, PVC, and Polypropylene plastic. Each type has distinct advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to choose the material that will be the best fit for your new deck.
Polyethylene plastic is made from polyethylene, a common plastic, mixed with wood fibers, grain hulls, or some other filler material. Various chemicals are also included to help seal the boards as well as prevent mold or mildew. Polyethylene plastic composite decking is an affordable material, costing on average $3.79 per linear foot.
PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)
PVC decking is made from composite decking materials, but is additionally encased in PVC. The PVC encasement helps protect the boards against fading from sunlight, insect infestations, mold, mildew, or scratches. PVC decking is also known as vinyl decking, and costs about the same as polyethylene plastic composite decking, at $3.78 per linear foot.
There are in fact multiple types of PVC composite decking. First, there is cellular PVC, which is built to closely mimic the appearance and texture of real wood.
Cellular PVC can also be easily cut without much risk of splintering or cracking, compared to other vinyl materials.
There is also the option to use fully recycled PVC, which is an environmentally friendly choice that decreases the amount of waste ending up in landfills.
Polypropylene plastic is a more high-end composite decking material because of its preferable features. Polypropylene plastic is heat resistant as well as warp resistant even with prolonged moisture exposure.
It is also a more durable composite decking material than both Polyethylene plastic and PVC. The cost of polypropylene plastic composite decking can range between $3.19 at the lowest up to $5.80 per linear foot, making it the most pricey material choice.
Here is a table with estimated prices per square foot for each type of composite decking material.
|Composite Decking Material||Cost per Linear Foot|
|PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) / Vinyl||$3.78|
|Polypropylene plastic||$3.19 – $5.80|
Composite Decking Brand Cost Comparison
There are many brands on the market that offer composite decking. Trex began the use of composite materials in decking, and is therefore the company with the longest lifespan.
However, many other companies have joined the market and compete with Trex to sell high-quality, long-lasting composite decking at even cheaper prices.
The table below outlines the price differences between some of the most popular composite decking brands.
|Decking Brand||Average Cost per Square Foot|
|Veranda||$4 – $5|
|Fiberon||$5 – $10|
|Trex||$5 – $10|
|TimberTech / Azek||$7 – 12|
|Cali Bamboo / Bamdeck||$8.50 – $12.50|
Composite Decking vs. Wood Decking Cost
Wood, like composite decking, is a popular decking material. Composite decking is slightly more pricey than wood decking, on average. Per square foot, composite decking costs between $20 to $38, whereas wood decking costs between $15 to $25. However, if you are interested in cedar decking, that will be more costly, starting at $30 per square foot.
|Decking Material||Average Cost per Sq Ft|
|Composite Decking||$20 – $38|
|Pressure Treated Wood Decking||$15 – $25|
|Cedar Decking||$30 +|
When considering the price difference between wood decking and composite decking, it is important to note that composite decking will likely cost less in the long run for maintenance.
This long-term price consideration may bring the price of composite decking closer to the price of wood decking.
|Cost||Composite Decking||Wood Decking|
|Average Total Cost Including Installation||$14,400 – $17,600||$8,000 – $11,000|
|Average Maintenance Cost over Five Years||$500 – $1,000||$5,000|
Trex Composite Decking Cost
Trex is the leading composite decking provider, as they pioneered the industry in 1996. Trex is especially known for its environmental friendliness: no trees have been cut to use for Trex decking material since its inception.
That is because a Trex deck is made from 95% recycled material, including recycled wood, sawdust, plastic film, and more.
|Trex Decking Material Type||Average Material Cost per Square Foot||Average Labor Cost per Square Foot||Average Total Cost (228 Square Foot Deck)|
|Average Range Decking||$7.22||$7.52||$4,244|
Trex Composite Decking Series
Trex decking is offered in a wide range of colors, as well as three primary series: the Trex Select, Trex Enhanced, and Trex Transcend, each at different price points.
● Boards are 0.82 inches thick, 12 feet long, and 5.5 inches wide
● Shallowest grain pattern
● Lowest grade of Trex scratch resistance
● Available in five colors: Madeira Brown, Saddle Brown, Woodland Brown, Winchester Grey, and Pebble Grey
● Most affordable price-point
● Boards are 0.94 inches thick, 5.5 inches wide, and offered in lengths of 12 feet, 16 feet, and twenty feet
● Mid-depth grain pattern, giving the boards a more natural appearance ● Mid level scratch resistance
● Carried at Home Depot and Lowe’s
● Available in three colors: Beach Dune Brown, Sable Brown, and Clam Shell Grey ● Mid-range pricing
● Boards are 0.94 inches thick, 5.5 inches wide, and offered in lengths of 12 feet, 16 feet, and twenty feet
● Highest quality scratch resistance
● Deepest grain pattern, providing a convincingly natural appearance
● Available in a wide range of colors: Premium Tropicals, which includes Havanah Gold Brown, Lava Rock Brown, Spiced Rum Brown, Tiki Torch Brown, and Island Mist Grey; Classic Earth tones includes Firepit Brown, Tree House Brown, Gravel Path Grey, and Vintage Lantern Gray. Porch Colors includes Gravel Path Grey and Spiced Rum Brown.
If you are trying to decide whether a Trex deck is right for you, check out our comparison guide on Trex vs Timbertech decking, (Trex’s biggest competitor).
Popular Composite Decking Colors
Many homeowners considering composite decking wander what their color options are. The good news is that a composite deck is available in dozens of colors ranging from numerous shades of brows, greys, whites, and even brighter colors as as greens, reds and blues.
For example AZEK Timbertech decking is available in 40 colors, while Trex Decking comes in 23 colors.
The most popular colors for a composite deck are shades of brown, since they most closely replicate the natural look of a wood deck and go well with pretty much any architectural house style.
If you are not sure what color deck will look best with your home, consider ordering a few samples from the brand of decking you are considering. This way you will have a real color sample right in front of you and the decision will be much easier.
Composite Deck Design Options
Sky is the limit (and perhaps your budget) to the designs that are available in the world of composite decks. Your deck can be as simple or as fancy as you want, from a modest square 12×14 deck to a multilevel deck that has a build-in pool, hot-tub, fire pit, etc.
You can also select boards of various width and create more attractive designs by laying the boards in special patterns, as well as mix colors. In recent years, the trend for wide width wood and vinyl plank flooring has made its way into the outdoor decking. Now, having wide decking boards is a very popular design choice that many homeowners love.
Additionally you can select standard size boards or narrow boards, for a more minimalist, modern look. Its also possible to mix and match boards of various widths. Keep in mind that creating this type of layout will significantly increase your cost of labor.
You can also enhance the curb appeal and comfort of your deck with various railing styles, stairs or a charming focal point such as a pergola.
Remember, your deck does not have to a simple square or a rectangle. You can customize the size and shape of your deck to fit your personal aesthetic and needs. Just be ready to spend more on any custom design upgrades.
Resale Value of Composite Decking
A new deck is a sure way to add value to your home. The resale value of a composite deck is 70%, meaning if you sell your home you will receive back 70% of what you paid for the composite decking in the price of the home.
Wood decking tends to have a slightly higher resale value at about 75%, so if you are only looking to install a new deck for the sake of selling your home a wooden deck might be the better choice as you will receive more of the money back.
Here is a detailed guide on how much ROI you can expect from different decking materials.
What Are the Benefits of Composite Decking?
The primary positive of composite decking is its low maintenance nature. While real wood decking requires sealing and regular upkeep, composite decking requires none of that.
Because of its plastic composition, the decking is not susceptible to rot or insect infestations. Additionally, composite decking does not require any sealing, unlike real wood, and does not warp or crack under sunlight. While wood decking, especially when poorly maintained, can lead to splinters, composite decking has no such issue.
Composite decking is also fire-resistant.
Another benefit to composite decking is that they are slip-resistant. Composite decking absorbs very little water, making it a good decking choice for anyone prone to slips and falls, particularly if the decking is beside a pool or other wet areas.
Unlike wood decking that can heat up under the sun and become painful to walk on, composite decking is generally engineered to prevent this, making it easy to walk on all year round.
A composite deck also has a longer lifespan than a wood deck. With minimal care and maintenance, composite decking can last well over twenty years. In comparison, wood decking will last as much as fifteen years but only with extensive care, otherwise the lifespan is much shorter.
Furthermore, composite decking is good for the environment, as it is often made from recycled materials.
Another benefit of composite decking is the ease of installation. Compared to wood decking, composite decking is a much easier material choice for a DIY project because it is designed with an easy to install interlocking system.
What Are the Drawbacks of Composite Decking?
The higher upfront cost is one of the main drawbacks of composite decking. IT costs more to purchase and install a composite deck than alternatives such as wood decking.
In the long run, however, composite decking may cost the same as wood decking or even less. This is because composite decking does not require regular or intensive maintenance like wood decking requires.
While regular maintenance is not burdensome or costly, if your composite deck is damaged you may incur high repair costs. Scratches and scrapes cannot be fixed by sanding, rather the entire board panel must be replaced, which costs more.
Another downside of composite decking is that the color is permanent. Unlike wood, which can be stained different colors as desired, the color of composite decking cannot be altered. Luckily, the color will remain vibrant and resist fading throughout its lifetime.
Lastly, while composite decking does resemble fully wooden decking, it lacks the full authenticity and does not look exactly like wood. This aesthetic difference may matter to some homeowners more than others.
Can I Install Composite Decking DIY?
Installing composite decking DIY is easier than installing wood decking DIY, and is a mid-level project. Oftentimes composite decking is made in easily aligned boards with slotting mechanisms to aid the installation process.
Additionally, many companies will over DIY packages at reduced costs that include plans, materials, and support for anyone installing composite decking DIY. For instance, Trex offers online tools and how-to’s to aid in your DIY composite deck installation.
Where Can I Buy Composite Decking?
Composite decking can be bought through professional deck builders, who can also install the decking for you. Home improvement contractors will also be able to supply and install composite decking.
Additionally, you can buy many popular composite decking brands such as Trex at common home goods stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, which is particularly beneficial if you want to install a composite deck DIY.
Is Composite Decking Worth It?
Composite decking is somewhat more pricey than wood decking, but it has several advantages, including its durability, long lifespan, and low maintenance.
While the initial price tag of composite decking will be higher than for wood decking, over time it may equal out since wood decking requires continuous and expensive maintenance.
Composite decking may well be worth it for people who want a low-effort, hassle free deck.
If yearly maintenance sounds too burdensome, then composite decking may be a much better choice for you than wood decking, as wood decking requires regular maintenance to keep it looking fresh and to prevent rot and other damage.