How Long Does Decking Last?

Curious how long your decking will last? In this article, we will delve into the durability and lifespan of the three most common decking materials that we at Cascade Fence and Deck use: composite, hardwood, and cedar. 

Composite Decking: Engineered for Endurance

Composite decking is a popular choice for homeowners seeking a low-maintenance, long-lasting decking solution. Composed of a blend of wood fibers and plastic, it offers a variety of benefits, including resistance to moisture, insects, and fading from UV exposure. NOT ALL COMPOSITE IS CREATED EQUAL, and we highly recommend you do the proper research on what brand to go with. There are many copycat brands on the market that are made in low quality factories or overseas. Stay away.

1. Longevity: Composite decking can last for several decades when properly maintained. Many manufacturers offer warranties ranging from 25 to 30 years, and some even provide a limited lifetime warranty. The decking we use is Deckorators decking, which comes with a 50-year structural warranty.

2. Maintenance: One of the main advantages of composite decking is its low maintenance requirements. Periodic cleaning and occasional inspections for loose fasteners are usually sufficient to keep your deck looking great.

3. Durability: Composite materials are resistant to rot, splintering, and warping. They are less susceptible to damage from moisture, which makes them ideal for regions with harsh weather conditions.

Hardwood Decking: Time-Tested Elegance

Hardwood decking such as Ipe offers a timeless and luxurious appearance. It is known for its natural beauty and rich color variations.

1. Longevity: Hardwood decking is renowned for its longevity. When well-maintained, it can endure for 25 to 50 years or even longer. Proper staining and sealing are crucial to maximize its lifespan.

2. Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including sealing and staining, is essential to preserve the wood’s natural beauty and extend its life. Hardwood decks are the trickiest to maintain as the wood is so dense, you can’t stain it easily like other woods.

3. Durability: Hardwood decks are naturally resistant to pests and rot. Their density and hardness make them less prone to damage from heavy foot traffic and harsh weather conditions.

Cedar Decking: A Natural Aesthetic

Cedar is a softwood decking material most used here in the Pacific Northwest. This will last the least number of years out of the products we carry. Cedar that is used today is NOT like it used to be 30 years ago. The products being used now are all younger trees or second growth, compared to the lovely old growth trees we used to be able to use.

1. Longevity: Cedar decking typically has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. We have seen rot or replacement needed after just 10 years in certain areas.

2. Maintenance: Cedar decks require regular maintenance, including staining and sealing, to protect against moisture, UV damage, and insect infestations. With proper care every 1-2 years you can get the most out of your deck.

3. Durability: Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects, making it a suitable choice for decks. However, it is softer than hardwood, and its surface can be more prone to dents and scratches.


The longevity of your decking material depends on various factors, including the material itself, maintenance, climate, and local conditions. Each of the three materials – composite, hardwood, and cedar – offers its own set of advantages and considerations.

· Composite decking stands out for its low maintenance and extended lifespan, making it a wise choice for those seeking a hassle-free solution.

· Hardwood decking provides a luxurious and enduring option for homeowners who are willing to put in the extra effort to maintain its beauty.

· Cedar decking offers a natural, aesthetically pleasing choice with a moderate lifespan and a warmer, inviting appearance.

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