Remodeling Cost vs. Value in Decking: Wood, Composite or PVC


Remodeling Magazine has recently published its Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report 2013 and it indicates that outdoor living space is among the most cost-effective improvements a homeowner can make.

The National Data for this report comes from 81 U.S. cities and compares the average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale. This year’s report is a positive sign for the remodeling industry as the 2013 National average cost-value ratio rose to 60.6%, ending a 6-year decline.

The South Atlantic region ranked as the 3rd highest for cost recouped on home improvement projects, mostly attributed to low construction costs, along with the West South Central region who ranked 2nd. Ranking 1st was the Pacific region where despite having the highest construction costs, high resale values kept the cost-value ratio as the best in the country.

Outdoor living space was highlighted in the top value projects with decking ranked 3rd.  Stemming from this report, the Florida-Times-Union’s website featured an article ‘Expanded outdoor spaces make area homes more marketable’ comparing wood decks made with pressure treated wood and decks made from composite decking in that region.  However, a third alternative, decking with Duradek vinyl membranes makes a cost-effective option for the most efficient use of your deck remodeling dollars.

General Estimate Comparison for a 16 x 20 Foot Deck

* Estimates based on Jacksonville, FL market. Wood and Composite estimate from Pratt Custom Services; Vinyl deck estimate from Rowe Roofing.

16 x 20 ft. Wood Deck
(with pressure treated wood): $7,900

Wood Rot on Pressure Treated Wood Deck
Wood Rot on Pressure Treated Wood Deck

While a wood deck has the lowest initial construction investment, wood decks require regular maintenance to maintain structural integrity. Pressure treated or not, all wood rots if not properly waterproofed. If not regularly maintained, these decks can often become water damaged and need to be replaced which means all that pressure treated wood ends up in the landfills leeching harmful chemicals into the environment. (See Case History #134 for an example).

16 x 20 ft. Composite Deck: $13,900

Composite boards flaking
Composite Boards showing signs of flaking

A higher initial investment, composite decks do not require regular maintenance for waterproofing. However composite decking is still a relatively young product and can yield unpredictable results. For a more detailed look some of the concerns about composite decking, refer to Composite Decking Vs. Vinyl Decking articles on:


16 x 20 ft. Duradek Vinyl Deck
(with non-treated wood): $11,700

Roof Deck waterproofed with Duradek
Whether it a ground level patio or a roof deck over living space, Duradek membranes provide waterproof protection with a 15-year warranty.

Duradek vinyl decking is a low-maintenance decking product requiring only seasonal cleaning to stay looking great. Duradek is also an economical and environmentally responsible choice. Duradek is applied to non-treated wood and has a very long life expectancy if properly cared for. While the waterproofing warranty is for 10 years (increased to a 15-year warranty in June 2019), Duradek’s longevity often exceeds double that, being replaced more for updating the look of your outdoor living space than for waterproofing integrity.

Check for Yourself

When investigating costs for any home renovation project, it is always a good idea to get a few different estimates. In addition to a quality product, you also need a qualified contractor for the job. Duradek vinyl membranes are only available through a network of trained and authorized dealers who are skilled in the specialty of deck waterproofing. If you’d like to consider Duradek for your outdoor living space, you can locate an authorized Duradek installer in your area on our find a dealer page for a free estimate.

Duradek vinyl membranes have been protecting decks for nearly 50 years. Its performance is proven with over 175 million square feet of decking in all North American climates.


Additional Resource

For another perspective on the value of outdoor living space, see Creating Value in Real Estate and Quality of Life.

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