Many of us wish to enjoy the exterior of our home. Depending on our tastes and needs, we will need one or another type of outdoor floor. Two of the most popular options are the solid wood floor and the composite floor, also known as the external deck.

Here you can find a comparison between the two materials for use as an outdoor floor, where we will highlight the main advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Composite floor or external deck

The composite is made of synthetic resins in combination with other materials, including wood. These have evolved a lot in the last decades, so much so that we can speak of a product with characteristics far superior to those offered years ago.

We can find them in the solid or honeycomb interior. Textures can be smooth or with different types of grooves. The installation is usually carried out on slats with hidden steel clips, although on some occasions it can also be found drilled directly into the lath. In both cases, it is a ventilated installation, an indispensable requirement.

In comparisons, this deck or composite wood has always lost. However, every day it is more common to find owners who prefer this type of floor for exteriors due to its price, aesthetics, durability and, above all, little need for maintenance.

The reasons for choosing decking or composite flooring for exteriors are:

  • Wide variety of designs, not only imitating wood, also imitating stone or even in striking colors. This is one of the advantages of resins, which can be combined with any dye.
  • Necessary maintenance is minimal, little more than a hose. This is a big difference from wood that requires periodic sanding and varnishing.
  • Great resistance to blows, moisture and insects and fungi.
  • Installation is quite simple, especially for composite decks with a clip-on system. further can be machined practically the same as wood, and even cut, which multiplies the possibilities.
  • It doesn’t fragment.
  • May have non-slip properties. This is a field in which the composite deck has evolved a lot in recent years.
  • It is 100% recyclable, although this is no different than wood.

Between the disadvantages of the compound He points out that when a part breaks, repair options are limited. There is no possibility of sanding and varnishing again and, in the worst cases, it will have to be replaced, which can be a big problem if the manufacturer interrupts the product, changes the measurements, etc.

If the composite floor is installed in areas where may be stained with hot oils or products, for example in a restaurant or terrace, it is advisable to apply products that prevent the stain from penetrating. They are usually offered by the manufacturer itself. Those that already come with the treatment that closes the applied pore are known as encapsulated synthetic pallets.

Another problem, less and less frequent, is the high temperatures that these composite floors can achieve. This is a major disadvantage when walking barefoot. Aware of this problem, the manufacturers of this type of wood for external decking have been improving the product. However, if we buy low quality composite decks, the problem will persist.

Solid wood flooring

outdoor wooden flooring


In the face of advancing alternatives to wood, many people see this a nature, a touch and a feeling that no other material has. And to a certain extent, wood is more natural than any other material.

It is worth mentioning that with due care the durability of the external wooden floors has nothing to envy in composing. However, on the other hand, if this maintenance is not carried out and the humidity and insects appear, the soil will soon deteriorate.

So the first question to ask yourself if you are hesitating between these options is whether you have the time or resources needed to perform maintenance, usually every 1 or 2 years depending on the wood used.

Main reasons for choosing wood:

  • Wood has a natural look that even composite floors try to imitate and, although they do it very well, they can’t.
  • There are woods, for example IpĂ© or cedar, with a very good resistance to humidity, so this should not be a serious problem. In the case of tropical woods, this resistance multiplies, but so does the price.
  • If we live in places where humidity is low, we can opt for cheaper and softer woods, such as fir or pine treated in autoclave or couperized. This would be a much cheaper option than composite flooring for exteriors.

Disadvantages of wood for use as an external deck

  • They can be attacked by insects. There are treatments and some woods also have natural resistance. Nowadays, if prevention is correct, the problem should not exist, although the result of neglect and neglect can happen.
  • Tonal change. This is not a disadvantage in itself, the wood changes color naturally and many of us appreciate it. The problem arises when parts need to be replaced, as the color difference can be very significant. Much more than on synthetic floors, which also change color. It must be said that over time the tones equalize.