Composite decking is a popular alternative to traditional wooden decks. Made from a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastic, composite decking is praised for its durability, low maintenance, and resistance to rot, cracks, and insect damage.
But when it comes to weight, how does composite decking compare to real wood? If you’re trying to decide between composite and wood for your new deck, the weight is an important consideration.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer all your questions about the weight of composite decking. You’ll learn:
- How the weight of composite decking compares to natural wood
- The weights of different brands and styles of composite decking
- What factors affect the weight of composite boards
- How to calculate the weight of your planned composite deck
- Whether composite or wood is heavier when wet
- The pros and cons of composite decking’s weight
- And much more!
If you’re looking for detailed, expert advice on the weight of composite decking, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive in!
How Much Does Composite Decking Weigh Compared to Wood?
The first question many homeowners have is “how does the weight of composite decking compare to real wood?”
In general, composite decking is heavier than wood decking. Here are some typical weight comparisons:
- Trex composite: Around 60 lbs per cubic foot
- Pressure treated pine: 35-45 lbs per cubic foot
- Cedar: 23 lbs per cubic foot
However, these numbers can be a bit misleading. While composite is heavier than wood, the wood will absorb a lot more water which significantly increases its weight.
Freshly treated pine can weigh as much as 2.79 lbs per linear foot when wet, compared to around 2 lbs per linear foot when dry.
Meanwhile, composite decking does not absorb water. Its weight when wet or dry is about the same.
So while composite decking starts out heavier than wood, wet wood can end up weighing more in real world conditions.
The Weight of Different Brands of Composite Decking
Not all composite decking weighs the same. Different brands and styles have different weights. Here are some examples:
- Trex: 60 lbs per cubic foot. A 12-foot length of 5/4-by-6 Trex board weighs 27.5 lbs.
- NewTechWood: 1.75 – 2.5 lbs per linear foot, depending on the profile.
- NeoTimber: Hollow boards weigh around 25 lbs per 12-foot length. Solid boards weigh around 35 lbs per 12-foot length.
- Techwoodn: 9 – 10 lbs per board, depending on the profile.
As you can see, there is significant variation between composite decking brands. Trex and NeoTimber are at the heavier end of the spectrum, while NewTechWood and Techwoodn are much lighter.
What Factors Affect the Weight of Composite Decking?
Several factors influence how much composite decking weighs:
More wood fibers make decking heavier. Some composites have up to 70% wood content, while others use more plastic.
Denser materials weigh more. Composite density varies between brands.
3. Hollow vs. Solid
Hollow composite boards weigh significantly less than solid boards. Hollow boards can weigh around 1/3 less.
Thicker, wider boards weigh more than thinner, narrower boards. Complex profiles are heavier.
Longer boards mean more material and increased weight. A 20-foot board weighs more than a 12-foot board.
Extra ingredients like UV blockers, fungicides, and fire retardants can increase weight slightly.
Calculating the Weight of a Composite Deck
If you want to figure out approximately how much your new composite deck will weigh, there is a simple formula:
Total deck weight (lbs) = (Board weight per LF x Length in feet) x Number of boards
Here is an example calculation:
- Trex decking weighs 2 lbs per linear foot
- Your planned deck is 16 feet x 20 feet
- It will have 15 boards that are each 20 feet long
Total deck weight = (2 lbs per LF x 20 feet) x 15 boards = 600 lbs
This will give you a reasonable estimate. The actual weight may vary slightly depending on other factors.
Is Composite Decking Heavier When Wet?
One advantage of composite over wood is that its weight stays relatively constant whether it’s wet or dry.
Wood decking soaks up a lot of water, becoming significantly heavier when wet. As mentioned previously, wet pine can weigh over 2.79 lbs per linear foot, a 40% weight increase from when dry.
Meanwhile, composite decking has very minimal water absorption. The weight change when wet is negligible, unlike wood.
This consistent weight regardless of moisture levels is a major benefit of composite. You don’t have to account for wood’s drastic weight fluctuations.
The Pros and Cons of Composite Decking’s Weight
Composite decking’s weight has both advantages and disadvantages:
- Stays consistent when wet vs. wood swelling
- Doesn’t require heavy-duty support like wet wood
- Adds stability and reduces bouncing/vibrations
- Harder to transport and work with
- Not suitable for elevated/upper decks
- Can be more expensive to ship
The moderate weight of quality composite decking provides the best of both worlds. It’s heavy enough for stability, but light enough to handle reasonably.
For most deck projects, the weight of composite decking is just right while avoiding the huge swings of wet wood weight.
Composite Decking Weight vs. PVC Decking
PVC decking is another synthetic alternative to wood. So how does its weight compare to composite?
In general, PVC decking is slightly lighter than composite. For example, TimberTech PVC boards weigh approximately 50 lbs per cubic foot.
However, weight should not be the only consideration. Composite decking provides a more natural, wood-like appearance compared to the plastic aesthetic of PVC.
Composite is also more resistant to stains, mold, and mildew than PVC. It holds up better in cold climates.
While PVC is a bit lighter, composite has other advantages that make it a superior choice for most homeowners.
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