Composite decking is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa, as it offers a durable and low-maintenance alternative to traditional wood decking. If you’re considering installing a new deck or replacing an old one, it’s important to understand the costs involved to make an informed decision. In this article, we’ll discuss the cost of composite decking in South Africa in 2023, including the prices per m² for different kinds of decking, comparing the cost of wood vs composite decking and the factors influencing the cost of your decking project.
The True Cost of Composite vs Real Wood Decking
When considering the cost of installing a new deck, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether to use wooden composite or real wood. There are advantages and disadvantages to both – so it’s important to consider the total cost of your choice.
The cost of installing real wood decking varies depending on the species of timber you choose. Cheaper timber will often lead to higher maintenance costs. For example, a cheap Pine timber deck can be installed for around R1,100 per m², but the maintenance costs will be high as the deck will have to be sanded and sealed every few months. Softwood will also have much greater issues with sagging, decaying and splintering.
Rhodesian Teak is another timber species often used for decking in South Africa, and this can be installed for around R1,600 per m². While it requires less maintenance than pine, it still costs a lot in upkeep.
Using proper hardwood such as Balau or Garapa will increase the initial price substantially, but the maintenance costs will be lower than using Pine or Rhodesian Teak. The going rate for a Garapa deck is around R1,800 per m².
In our experience, contractors can install composite decking in the region of R1,850 per m², which is a similar price to an installed Balau or Garapa deck. The maintenance costs, however, are negligible compared to real wood. You never need to sand or seal composite, all it requires is occasional cleaning with water and soap.
While composite products may initially appear to be more expensive than timber, once you take the maintenance of timber into account, as well as the ease of installation, you’ll find that it is more cost-effective to install composite decking than timber decking. From an installation point of view, it is much easier to install composite decking than a timber deck, as there is no need to drill or plug any holes in the decking. Unlike timber, composite also doesn’t rot and is highly resistant to pests like termites.
Composite Decking Prices Per m² in South Africa
The cost of composite decking can vary depending on a range of factors, such as the brand, quality, and location of the installation. In general, a high-quality composite deck in South Africa costs around R37 000 for a 20m² deck – around R 1850 per m².
This may seem high compared to a softwood deck – which can be had for as little as R1 200 per m² – but again, you must consider the high maintenance costs associated with it. Most softwoods are not suitable for outdoor decking due to their tendency to rot, warp and become infested with pests like termites when left exposed to the elements. They also need to be regularly sealed and sanded every few months – which adds up to considerable costs or labour over time.
With all this considered, composite decking often works out to be the cheaper alternative over time.
It’s worth noting that the cost of composite decking can vary depending on the brand and the collection. It’s important to consider the deck’s quality, durability, and warranty when comparing prices. Warranties range from 10 to 30 years – with a commiserate increase in upfront costs.
What Factors Into the Cost of Installing Composite Decking?
As mentioned, the cost of composite decking per m² in South Africa can vary depending on the brand and collection. In general, the cost of composite decking is higher than that of traditional wood decking. However, composite decking offers a range of benefits that make it a worthwhile investment, such as durability, low maintenance, and eco-friendliness.
When calculating the cost of composite decking, it’s important to consider the size of the deck, the installation method, and any additional features. The larger the deck, the more material is required, which naturally increases the cost. Additionally, if the installation is in a remote or hard-to-reach location, the cost may be higher due to transportation and labour costs. The shape and complexity of the design can also increase the cost.
Raised decks are also always more expensive to install – because they usually require foundations, steps and rails in addition to the deck itself.
Composite Decking Installation Cost
The installation cost of composite decking in South Africa can vary depending on a range of factors, such as the location, the size of the deck, and the installation method. Generally, the cost of installation is lower for composite decking than for traditional wood decking, as it is easier to install and requires less preparation than real wood.
When hiring a professional contractor to install your deck, it is advantageous to find someone with experience working with composite decking, however, some brands like 4Everdeck are designed for ease of installation so you can save on cost. They should be able to provide you with a detailed estimate that includes all the necessary materials, labour, and any additional features that you may want to include in your deck.
It’s also important to work with a contractor who is licensed, insured, and reputable, as they will be responsible for ensuring that your deck is installed safely and correctly. Make sure they choose reputable brands for their materials, to ensure your deck is properly guaranteed against factory defects and other issues.
Environmental Cost of Wooden vs Composite Decking
Lastly, it’s worth highlighting the environmental footprint of wooden vs composite decking. Wood composite decking is much easier on the environment than traditional wood decking. Real wood decking contributes to deforestation, further endangers at-risk species of hardwood trees and requires regular treatment with hazardous sealants and stains.
The transportation of the relatively rare species of hardwood suitable for outdoor decking is also a considerable environmental risk. Think of all the ships, trains and trucks that need to transport the timber from where it’s grown to your garden.
By comparison, composite decking can easily be made from recycled local wood and plastics, requires no chemical treatments past its manufacturing and lasts considerably longer than many kinds of wood. A kinder choice for the environment, as well as your wallet.
The True Cost of Composite Decking in 2023
Composite decking offers a range of benefits over traditional wood decking, such as durability, low maintenance, and eco-friendliness. While the initial cost may be higher, the long-term cost savings and durability make it a worthwhile investment for homeowners who are looking to create a beautiful and low-maintenance outdoor living space.
When determining the cost of outdoor decking, it’s important to consider factors such as the brand, quality, and location of the installation.
If you’re considering installing composite decking, it can be important to work with a professional contractor who uses only reputable suppliers. They should be able to provide you with a detailed estimate and ensure that your deck is installed safely and correctly.
4Everdeck composite decking is one of the leading brands in South Africa, offering an economical and great-looking alternative to traditional wooden decking. Calculate the cost of your 4Everdeck composite decking here for a detailed quote.