When choosing between real wood and wood composite for your next deck project, remember to think about water resistance.
Why? Isn’t composite wood waterproof?
No. Only 100% synthetic materials can be entirely waterproof. However, composite wood is engineered to be highly water-resistant. This makes it an ideal material for a poolside deck, a dock, or a boathouse by the lake. It is a perfect product for coastal environments, too. Tests have shown that our engineered wood withstands the humidity and salty air of the British Columbia coastline.
Wondering how real wood holds up to water? Real wood is neither waterproof nor water resistant, and for it to become water resistant it needs to be painted or varnished. Without regular maintenance, wood is susceptible to mould, rot, graying and splinters.
It’s important to think carefully about how you will manage water when choosing a material for your deck project.
Why is it important to have a water-resistant deck?
The rain, freeze, thaw, and hot sun of Canada’s climate extremes can wreak havoc on a wood deck. Exposure to water expands and contracts wood until it changes shape, which is why it needs protection to maintain its warm colour and to keep it from warping.
Each plank of wood reacts differently. Some twist, some bow, and others cup. You may notice a deck or dock that greys and starts with a few wobbly planks. Eventually, moisture levels break down the wood fibres by causing them to expand and contract, which in turn loosens nails, screws, and brackets.
A water-resistant composite wood deck is less likely to swell or shrink — it is virtually maintenance-free and has the potential to last longer than natural wood.
Water-resistant considerations: wood vs wood composite
Natural, organic wood tends to get slippery when wet. Composite wood is available in a variety of textures which make it slip and skid resistant. A little grip goes a long way when getting out of the pool or boat, or during a water fight in the backyard.
A wood deck generally needs to be sanded, stained, or painted every two years to maintain its water resistance. Composite wood doesn’t need maintenance to remain water resistant, as it contains a special engineering-grade polymer and additives.
This is achieved in NewTechWood products with a technology called Ultrashield capping. Low maintenance means you’ll spend less time weatherproofing your deck and more time enjoying it.
Initially, the cost of natural wood is generally lower than composite wood, depending on current market prices and availability. Long-term, however, the cost of maintaining wood and keeping it water resistant add up, especially if you don’t have the time to do it yourself.
Consider short and long-term costs.
Look and feel
The organic quality of real wood gives it a warm and authentic feel. What’s more, it can be sanded and refinished to any colour or look as desired.
NTW products are known for recreating a texture and appearance that’s deceivingly like real wood. Our products simulate the look and feel of wood without the fading, warping, rotting, and moulding that it’s susceptible to. Real wood deteriorates when exposed to water, whereas engineered wood does not fade or discolour. It continues to look good with a simple cleaning.
Plus, unlike synthetic wood (which is made from plastic), composite wood can be cut just like real wood. You can use a hand saw or circular saw to cut NewTechWood products to size. This makes it a highly versatile choice for deck projects.
If you’ve ever had to pull a wood splinter out of your child’s little toe — or your own big toe! — you know why this is important. Splinters put a big damper on barefoot fun. Water and sun dry out natural wood, causing the wood fibres to separate and increasing the possibility of splinters.
Composite wood eliminates this risk, ensuring you build a deck that can be enjoyed barefoot.
Wood is a natural resource and is renewable, but it takes decades for a tree to grow. Composite wood is eco-friendly, reusing wood fibers that would otherwise become landfill.
We mix recycled plastic and recycled wood to make our products water resistant. Every 10 square feet of NewTechWood composite wood contains the equivalent of 3,000 recycled bags and over 1,000 one-gallon jugs. Materials are sourced from mills and by breaking down old wood furniture. Using recycled products, we create new water-resistant composite wood that eliminates the need to harvest the forest. It’s a win-win for us and the planet.
Composite wood decking offers more free time and happy feet
Composite wood decking is a good option for anyone that has limited time to maintain a deck and wants to keep it safe. You, your friends, your family, and your feet will thank you. In fact, all NewTechWood products are water-resistant, so whether you need siding, fencing, partition beams or a dock, consider using wood composite for a wide range of different water-resistant projects.
Find retaillers and builders already working with the NewTechWood products near you.