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tdemonti

Resale Value: Composit vs PVC Deck

3 months ago

We have to fully replace a 20'x20' deck with ten steps that overlooks a large yard and creek.


Being that the footers, framing and labor are pretty much the same for all floor board types, hubby is thinking with dollar signs and would opt for all wood because we won't be here for another 25+ years. The house will comp at +/- $450K today.


A PVC deck is quoted just under $40k. The difference between PVC and composit floor boards is about $3000 which, to me, is worth less maintenance.


What would you do and why?



Comments (28)

  • 3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    That seems very high. The whole deck including the footers are being replaced?

    tdemonti thanked Paul F.
  • 3 months ago

    Paul, yes, a full replacement including footers.


  • 3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Don't know where you are but that does seem high. Not familiar with PVC pricing but I recently quotes for composite and wood deck, 26 x 12. First of all, in my area, central NC, composite decks are wood frames with composite decking, not all composite so that may have impacted my pricing. Even with that design, the composite was simply out of my budget. I went with all wood. As a contractor friend advised, go all wood and if/when the wood decking begins to deteriorate and you still want a deck, want to live there, etc., replace only the decking with composite. Unless something has gone terribly wrong, the wooden frame should be in good shape and not need to be replaced. The price for my 26 x 12 deck is $9600, all in including dumpster and tear down of current deck. I also need new footers since new codes. Here's the before. It's been there about 30 years. Definitely doesn't owe me a thing! tear down starts tomorrow. Regarding valuation of home, mine is around 700K. I don't think any deck should be 10% of total value of a house.


    tdemonti thanked tozmo1
  • 3 months ago

    Tozmo1, we are in south central PA, and you are right that the cost of a new build deck at 10% the value of a house is high. The retail cost difference between PVC and mid-grade composite is $60 per 20 ft board.


    My primary concern is resale value - I know we dont recover the full cost. As a buyer, how would you value a wood vs. composite vs. PVC deck?


  • 3 months ago

    Having just replaced a pressure treated wood deck with Trex with new black aluminum railings. I'd say if I happened to be buying this house pre-replacement I would have knocked off 20K from my offer price as the wood was ugly. And that's with us keeping up with staining and treating it every several years.

    Our deck is 16 X 28. Costs with decking, three steps off each end, and skirt board was 19K.

    I think 40K sounds very high. And why do the footers need replacing? If the concrete is solid and installed at the correct depth below grade, they should be fine.

    We did keep the pressure-treated joists as they were in great shape and the Trex went over them.


    tdemonti thanked Kate Cowers
  • 3 months ago

    Thank you, Kate. This deck is 35-40 years old. Because the support posts need replacing (some are rotted), I believe current building code places the ”new build” support posts differently for the size of the deck.

  • 3 months ago

    I agree, an old deck that needs replacing definitely impacts resale value but i think your question is new wood deck vs new composite/pvc deck. I guess you'd have to ask a realtor that question but here's some thoughts. Are you in the mountains or waterfront where being on the the deck and enjoying the view becomes a major part of the appeal of the house? If not, I'd say new is new and it doesn't impact sales price. Are there other places in the home where you would be better served for resale by utilizing the incremental cost of wood vs composite? A bathroom update? A kitchen floor, counter and backsplash refresh? New roof? New HVAC? Having recently bought a house for a rental property for a friend, I know we were always turned off by old roofs, old HVAC and yes, one that had a deck in worse shape than mine but if the deck had been new, I wouldn't have cared what materials it was made of. But that's just my opinion. A realtor might have insight into comps in your area and how buyers make decisions in your area.

    tdemonti thanked tozmo1
  • 3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Support posts are not footers. So yes, if the support posts are rotted those would need replacing, but the concrete footers should be fine as is (unless I'm missing something else).

    If you go with wood, I'd personally think about staining it and not leaving it just natural wood. Your picture seems a bit "blah" to me as it just blends in with the house color. Maybe that's what you want?

    Even composite decking comes in light shades.

    @tozmo1: many other posts in this forum would tell you that doing a lot of interior updates prior to sale is not recommended unless there are severe structural issues. What YOU like for an upgrade may in fact not at all be what the buyer wants and you've wasted your money. Safety is of course the primary concern. Everyone wants the best sale price they can get but there is a point of no return where you're spending more than you will ever recoup.

    All tha being said, I'd still go with compisite. Done and done. Pretty much maintenance free except for a good washing every spring.

  • 3 months ago

    I wish this was a concrete patio but the end of the deck is about 5.5ft high. I'm certain we will go with either composite or PVC and are comparing prices and seeing the work of two contractors at this point.

  • PRO
    3 months ago

    If you will be in the house for more than a couple years I would encourage you to do synthetic decking. We put in trex old hickory five years ago and it looks practically brand new with full southern exposure. I like this particular product because it doesn’t have the fake wood grain or streaks that some styles have. It’s also non slip due to the brushed texture.

  • 3 months ago

    Hallett & Co, what do you mean by "practically" brand new?

    From what I can tell, Trex is composite vs PVC and each wears differently. .

  • PRO
    3 months ago

    To the casual eye it looks pristine, I can see a few scratches from where we’ve dragged furniture or something. Way less than if we had a stained wood deck. We are also in the beginnings of pollen season so you can see where we’ve moved furniture. We will get them cleaned In a couple months once pollen is over and we clean all the windows

    tdemonti thanked HALLETT & Co.
  • 3 months ago

    From what I've read "on the line", PVC might be advantageous near water as the material is mold proof, bug resistant, etc. Again, just what I was reading.

    Sorry but I dislike plastic. Doesn't seem like it would be attractive to me if I were buying your house.

    I'd go for composite whatever brand you see in a color you like - Trex, Azek, etc. The only thing I will say about ours is.....it gets very hot in the sun so if you're a "barefoot on the deck" person you need to invest in a good pair of flip flops!

    tdemonti thanked Kate Cowers
  • 3 months ago

    We replaced a cedar deck that had rotting decking about 15 years ago with Timbertech PVC decking. It was the most expensive of the three options we considered- cedar, Trex, Timbertech. We ruled out Trex as it was hotter in the summer. We have never regretted the Timbertech. It looks like the cedar it replaced. If the cost is prohibitive, a hybrid consideration would be a wood deck with some low maintenance rail. Afterall, it is the rail that is difficult to maintain. If we were house shopping, we wouldn’t look negatively on a well maintained wood deck.

    tdemonti thanked jlouise54
  • 3 months ago

    Kate Cowers - you would be surprised how good a plastic deck can look. We have a multi level deck and replaced the cedar upper level with Timbertech PVC before we replaced the lower level. Standing at the door looking out, it was amazing that the two levels looked exactly alike. I think the Timbertech is far more “real” looking than the composite alternatives.

  • 3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Composite can warp in the heat. Depending on where you live, it may not be a good choice. Some composite decking develops mold in certain climates. Read the reviews.

    I had composite decks in a moderate dry climate and I loved it. The composite fascia warped a lot. The decking warped a little. It was still beautiful. The redwood color on one of the decks faded to pink. Still looked good. A neighbor had the same problem and changed the decking to gray. I also had dark brown and light beige decking which also faded but still looked good.

    Now my decking is pressure treated 2x6 pine boards, which are 1/2” thicker than the 5/4 inch pressure treated deck boards which are 1” thick. I like it. It needs to be stained unless you like yellow wood. Pressure treated wood needs to dry out before staining, so consider your timeline. The 2x wood can last a really long time if it is kept up. It is structural wood like the frame and makes the deck very strong.

    I was advised to avoid composite decking in the hotter climate because of warping. Even if you have composite decking, you may want to stain part of the wood frame and post structure to match it so that the natural color of the wood doesn’t attract too much attention.

    I have no experience with PVC decking.

    tdemonti thanked kelli_ga
  • 3 months ago

    I live in New England so "hotter" climate doesn't really apply here as a main concern. The Trex does get hot underfoot in the summer - our deck faces east so get sun until about 2 p.m. Once the sun swings around the house it's wonderful to sit out there and the hot decking isn't an issue. We've had no issues with warping on the decking or the fascia board.

    jlouise54: guess I didn't look far enough into other decking brands. The lumber place we went to was pretty heavy on Trex so that's what we went with.

    The OPs concern, to me, comes down to: if you're not going to be in the house for a long time, install brand new whatever that looks good to you and keep it in good condition until you sell.

    tdemonti thanked Kate Cowers
  • 3 months ago

    My 2 cents... I like wood decks. I would consider composite or PVC a detriment. I would prefer a wood deck in acceptable condition to either of those. I just like being barefoot on a wood deck and always have.


    From a resale perspective, wood is your best option a well maintained wood deck will not hurt resale and neither of the your other options will even approach a positive payback. However, 25 years is a long time. I wouldn't worry about resale on anything you are not actively planning on selling in the next five to ten years. Do whatever will make you happiest in the time you are going to live there and don't worry too much about resale that is more than ten years away.


    Having said that, a wood deck and a nice vacation would still be my choice for happiest...

    tdemonti thanked bry911
  • 3 months ago

    I appreciate all of this information. The deck being replaced is 40yo stained wood and is too hot to walk on barefoot on hot, sunny days. I imagine the aluminum railing gets hot, too. I wish today’s wood were much better quality.

  • 3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    The deck being replaced is 40yo stained wood and is too hot to walk on barefoot on hot, sunny days. I imagine the aluminum railing gets hot, too. I wish today’s wood were much better quality.

    Because I have dogs, I actually tested this with half a dozen products... wood was the coolest. I literally just got samples and let them sit out on a sunny day and treated/unstained wood was the coolest by far. None of the cool-tech type decking was actually cooler than wood after several hours in direct sunlight at my home.

    tdemonti thanked bry911
  • 3 months ago

    @bry911 - We did the same thing! In order of coolest to hottest - Wood, Timbertech PVC, Trex Composite. We ruled out Trex because of this. Really wanted wood, but also wanted low maintenance. So chose the PVC.

  • 3 months ago

    The previous owner (my dad) put on a Trex deck. My husband and I are screened porch people. Wood or Trex - we still don’t use it. BUT - I totally appreciate Trex since there is no upkeep requirement. When we bought the house, I took into account I wouldn’t use the deck at all and it was no value to me. What I am saying is - unless you are looking at an amazing view from your deck, you won’t really be able to tell its value without comps. @Kate Cowers is right - put in what looks good to you.

    tdemonti thanked Meredith Otto
  • 3 months ago

    We are having to replace a deck and know we’ll go with composite. PVC is more expensive and a bit “plasticy” looking, and I think you’re paying for the name of TREX - lots of composite and PVC brands out there to choose from and TONS of colors. It looks so nice doing a border with a contrasting color

    tdemonti thanked Candace
  • PRO
    3 months ago

    Have you ever looked at duradeck I only mention because one of my clients did one and looks great 8 yrs later totally water proof so even did the deck above her carport with it. I was not cheap cjheap but decently priced and other than a god wash it is easy to carefor looks great .

    tdemonti thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • 3 months ago

    Patricia C., we considered material similar to Duradek (not available in so central PA), really like the look though think this isn't the right environment as we are blessed with many trees and pollen

    Newer composites are coated with PVC but deep scratches will allow water to seep into the wood fibers. I’m leaning toward PVC because the deck will need a thorough cleaning at least 2x’s/yr no matter what, but am torn between a medium or light color (tad cooler).

  • 3 months ago

    I will share the only negative we have with the PVC. Looks wise and maintenance wise it is awesome. But we can get a static electricity buzz when we touch the patio door to open it. Not a huge deal, but something we didn’t know before we purchased.

  • 3 months ago

    We have a PVC front porch. LOVE the 'no' maintenance. The back we ripped off the deck, brought in fill, created an elevated paver patio. One step down from the door, five steps up from the grass. Decks, wood, TREX, PVC are maintenance we didn't want but we live in the woods and a cold climate so we have a ton of shade/moisture issues where wood is concerned. Even man made materials require shoring up over time--as you are experiencing. Your base will be wood, treated but still it will have a life span 1/4 of what brick will.