Cost and Value of Redwood vs. Plastic Decking
Building a deck is a significant investment in your home, and you’ll want to make sure your new deck looks great and lasts for years to come. The cost and long-term value of your deck can be significantly influenced by the building materials used, and there are specific differences to consider between redwood and plastic composite decking materials.
Material and Construction Costs
The cost of a redwood decking can be quite economical compared to plastic decking materials (as well as Cedar and tropical hardwood species like Ipe). The following are general cost ranges for various deck building materials for complete deck per square foot, supplied courtesy of Houzz.com.
- Pressure treated wood: $15-$25
- Redwood: $30
- Cedar: $24-$45
- Basic plastic composite: $32-$45
- High-end plastic composite: $48
- Ipe: $55
Construction and installation is one area where the cost of a plastic composite deck can be substantially more than a redwood deck. This is largely due to the fact that plastic decking has less structural strength. It can’t span more than 12 to 16 inches between joists, unlike redwood which can span up to 24 inches. Shorter spans require more substructure materials and labor, making plastic decks more expensive to install.
A common misconception is that plastic decking is more durable than wood. When it comes to strength, redwood has a shear strength of 1,100 PSI (pounds per square inch) and is very resistant to splitting. Plastic composite lumber has a shear strength of only 200 PSI.
Because plastic composite materials are intense conductors of heat, they can soften and become distorted, making them less stable at high temperatures. Plastic decking is less fire resistant than redwood, with a (FSI) Flame Spread Index score of 80, compared redwoods superior score of 70.
And redwood has natural resistance to insects and decay, in addition to its resistance to shrinking, warping, and checking, making it an extremely durable decking material with a long life span for great value.
Hear one family’s take on the value a redwood deck has added to their home.
Durability and Value
Need more information? Check out our side-by-side comparison of redwood and plastic composite decking:
Learn how the look and feel of redwood compares to plastic decking.
Ready to build your deck project with naturally strong and beautiful redwood? Find out where to buy Humboldt Redwood and start your project today!