Cedar vs Composite Decks – Pros & Cons for Tulsa, Oklahoma Homes

Cedar vs Composite Decks – Pros & Cons for Tulsa, Oklahoma Homes

Article-at-a-Glance: Cedar vs Composite Decks for Tulsa Homes

  • Discover the unique benefits and drawbacks of cedar and composite decks.

  • Understand how Tulsa’s climate can influence your deck material choice.

  • Learn about the natural appeal and durability of cedar decking.

  • Explore the low-maintenance and long-lasting qualities of composite decking.

  • Get practical advice to make an informed decision for your outdoor space.

Decking Decisions: Cedar or Composite?

When it comes to building the perfect deck for your Tulsa home, you’re faced with a choice that feels as big as the Oklahoma sky: cedar or composite? Each material has its champions and its critics, but the truth is, your ideal deck depends on your personal needs, style, and how you plan to use your outdoor space. Let’s break down the essentials, so you can pick the right material for your deck with confidence.

Key Considerations for Tulsa Homeowners

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of each material, let’s think about what really matters when choosing deck materials. Consider these points:

  • Long-term durability and maintenance requirements

  • Initial costs versus ongoing investment

  • Environmental impact and sustainability

  • Aesthetic preferences for your home’s exterior

  • How the material performs in Tulsa’s specific climate conditions

Keeping these considerations in mind will help guide you to a deck that not only looks great but also fits your lifestyle and values.

Climate Impact on Deck Material Choices

Tulsa’s climate can be as varied as the landscape of Oklahoma itself. From sweltering summers to icy winters, your deck needs to stand up to a lot. Cedar, being a natural wood, has a traditional charm but can require more upkeep in the face of these elements. Composite, on the other hand, is designed to resist weathering, but it may not have the same warm feel as wood. It’s all about finding that balance between practicality and the joy of your outdoor retreat.

The Allure of Cedar Decks

There’s something about a cedar deck that just feels right. The rich, warm tones of the wood bring a natural elegance to any outdoor space. But cedar’s beauty is more than skin deep. This wood has natural oils that repel insects and resist decay, making it a strong contender for your deck material, especially in a place like Tulsa where the outdoors is as much a part of the home as the living room.

Natural Beauty and Aesthetics

Imagine stepping out onto a deck that blends seamlessly with your backyard’s landscape. Cedar’s natural beauty is unmatched, offering a variety of hues, grains, and finishes that can complement any architectural style. Whether stained to a rich mahogany or left to age gracefully to a silvery gray, cedar decks have a timeless appeal that can make your outdoor space the envy of the neighborhood.

Strength and Durability Factors

While cedar is indeed beautiful, let’s talk strength and staying power. Cedar is naturally resistant to moisture, decay, and insect damage, which are all crucial in the ever-changing Tulsa weather. However, it’s not invincible. Regular maintenance, like staining and sealing, will be your best friend to keep your cedar deck in tip-top shape for years to come.

  • Resistant to rot and insect damage

  • Requires annual maintenance to maintain its beauty

  • Can last 15-20 years with proper care

  • Softer wood that can be prone to scratches and dents

  • Performs well in Tulsa’s fluctuating climate when maintained

Eco-Friendly Appeal: A Closer Look

For those of us who prioritize the planet, cedar is a solid choice. It’s a renewable resource, and when responsibly sourced, it supports sustainable forest management practices. Plus, at the end of its life, cedar is biodegradable, returning to the earth without a trace. This natural cycle appeals to homeowners who want to minimize their environmental footprint while enjoying the great outdoors right on their doorstep.

Upkeep and Longevity: What to Expect

Now, let’s talk about the commitment you’re making with a cedar deck. To keep its warm glow and protective properties, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves for some regular maintenance. Expect to clean and treat your cedar deck every couple of years to fend off the elements and keep it looking fresh. With this care, your cedar deck can be a long-standing feature of your home for 15 to 20 years or more.

  • Clean your deck periodically to prevent mold and mildew.

  • Stain and seal every two to three years to protect the wood.

  • Inspect annually for any signs of wear or damage.

  • Be prepared for the possibility of replacing boards due to weathering over time.

Cost Analysis for Cedar Decking in Tulsa

Let’s talk dollars and sense. Initially, cedar can be more affordable than composite decking. However, the long-term investment includes maintenance costs like stains and sealers. Here’s a breakdown to help you budget:

Average Cost per Square Foot: $5 – $7
Average Maintenance Costs Over 10 Years: $500 – $1,000
Total Estimated Cost Over 10 Years: $5,500 – $8,000

Remember, these are estimates. The actual cost can vary based on the size of your deck, the complexity of the design, and the price of materials at the time of purchase.


Cedar vs Composite Decks - Pros Cons for Tulsa Oklahoma Homes

The Modern Twist: Composite Decking Explored

Composite decking is the new kid on the block, offering a modern solution to decking woes. Made from a blend of wood fibers and plastics, it’s designed to look like wood but act like something better. It resists weathering, stains, and fading, making it a strong candidate for your low-maintenance outdoor sanctuary.

Long-Lasting and Low Maintenance Appeal

Composite decking’s claim to fame is its longevity and ease of care. Say goodbye to staining, sealing, and sanding. A simple wash-down with soap and water is typically all that’s needed to keep your composite deck looking new. And because it’s built to last, many manufacturers offer warranties of 25 years or more, giving you peace of mind along with your peace of the great outdoors.

Versatility in Design and Colors

With composite decking, your creativity doesn’t have to stop at your back door. These decks come in a wide range of colors and finishes, mimicking the look of various woods without the hassle. Want a deck that matches your home’s trim? No problem. Looking for a weathered, seaside aesthetic? You got it. The possibilities are as wide as the Oklahoma horizon.

Environmental Considerations for Composite Materials

Composite decking isn’t without its green credentials. Many options on the market are made from recycled materials, helping to reduce waste. However, it’s worth noting that composites are not biodegradable and can be more difficult to dispose of at the end of their life. It’s a trade-off: the longevity and low maintenance of composites versus the natural cycle of cedar.

Upfront Costs vs. Long-term Savings

When you’re budgeting for a new deck, it’s important to weigh the initial investment against the ongoing costs. Cedar decks might have a lower entry price, but they require regular maintenance which adds up over time. On the flip side, composite decks have a higher upfront cost but minimal maintenance expenses. Think of it this way: pay more now and save time and money later, or pay less upfront and invest in upkeep as you go. It’s not just about the money; it’s about the time and effort you’re willing to commit to your deck in the long run.

Comparative Insights

Let’s put these two decking contenders head-to-head. Cedar brings the beauty and warmth of natural wood but asks for your care in return. Composite offers a carefree lifestyle with a higher initial price tag. When choosing, consider not only the cost and maintenance but also the longevity and aesthetic you’re aiming for. Your deck is not just an addition to your home; it’s a future chapter of your family’s story.

Cedar Decks vs Composite Decks: A Side-by-Side Review


Cedar Deck

Composite Deck

Initial Cost




High (annual)



15-20 years with care

25+ years


Natural wood beauty

Variety of colors and textures

Environmental Impact

Biodegradable, sustainable when sourced responsibly

Often made from recycled materials, not biodegradable

Adapting to Tulsa’s Weather: Which Holds Up Best?

In Tulsa, where the weather can swing from scorching summers to freezing winters, your deck needs to be a survivor. Cedar, with its natural resistance to rot, can be a solid choice if you’re willing to put in the work to maintain it. Composite decking, engineered for durability, stands up to the elements with ease, requiring little more than a seasonal cleaning. If you prefer to spend more time relaxing on your deck than working on it, composite might be your match.

Resale Value: Deck Material Impacts on Home Value

A deck can be more than just a place to enjoy a sunset; it can also boost your home’s value. A well-maintained cedar deck adds a classic touch that can charm potential buyers. However, the promise of a low-maintenance composite deck can be just as enticing, especially for those looking for a move-in-ready home. Your choice could sway the future sale of your home, so consider what might appeal to the next owner of your Tulsa haven.

Improving Your Tulsa Home: Practical Deck Building Tips

Whether you’re leaning towards cedar or composite, the success of your deck project hinges on solid planning and execution. Here’s how to ensure your deck becomes a beloved part of your Tulsa home:

Selecting Qualified Deck Contractors in Tulsa

Choosing the right contractor is crucial. Look for a team with a strong track record of building decks in the Tulsa area. They should be willing to share references and photos of past projects. Make sure they’re licensed, insured, and familiar with local building codes. A good contractor will not only build your deck but also guide you through the process, helping you make the best decisions for your home and lifestyle.

Timing Your Deck Project: Best Seasons to Build

In Tulsa, timing is everything when it comes to building your deck. Spring and early summer offer ideal weather conditions for construction – not too hot, not too cold. It’s the Goldilocks zone for outdoor projects. Plus, completing your deck in this timeframe means you’ll be ready to enjoy it for the full summer season. Just remember, contractors’ schedules fill up fast during these peak periods, so plan ahead!

Maintenance Routines to Enhance Deck Life

To keep your deck in prime condition, establish a maintenance routine. For cedar, this means cleaning, sanding, and resealing every other year to protect against the elements. For composite, a semi-annual wash with soap and water should do the trick. No matter the material, regular inspections for loose boards or structural issues will help catch problems early and extend the life of your deck.

Sealing the Deal: Deciding on Your Deck Material

It’s decision time. You’ve weighed the pros and cons, considered your budget, and envisioned your ideal outdoor space. Whether you go with the natural charm of cedar or the hassle-free longevity of composite, the choice should align with your lifestyle, maintenance willingness, and aesthetic preference. Remember, this deck will be a part of your home and life for years to come.

Final Verdict: Cedar or Composite for Your Outdoor Retreat?

The final verdict hinges on your personal priorities. If you’re drawn to the authenticity of natural wood and don’t mind the upkeep, cedar may be your soulmate. But if you prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach with more design options, composite could be your happily ever after. Consider how you want to spend your time: relaxing on your deck, or working on it?

Getting Started: Next Steps After Choosing Your Material

Once you’ve chosen your material, it’s time to get into the details. Start by designing your dream deck, keeping in mind the layout of your yard and how you’ll use the space. Then, secure a reputable contractor who can bring your vision to life. Don’t forget to check on permits and HOA rules, if applicable. With a solid plan in place, you’re ready to transform your backyard into the ultimate Tulsa oasis.

FAQ: Common Questions Tulsa Homeowners Ask About Decks

  • How long does it take to build a deck? – Typically, a few weeks, depending on size and complexity.

  • Do I need a permit to build a deck in Tulsa? – Yes, most deck projects require permits. Check with local authorities.

  • Can I build a deck on uneven ground? – Yes, but it may require additional structural support.

  • How often should I replace my deck? – With proper maintenance, cedar decks can last 15-20 years, while composite decks can last 25+ years.

  • What’s the ROI on a deck? – On average, homeowners recoup about 70% of the cost of building a deck when they sell their home.

Is Cedar Really the Best Natural Decking Option?

Cedar is a top contender for natural decking due to its beauty and resistance to decay. However, it’s not the only option. Other woods like redwood or pressure-treated woods can also be good choices, depending on your needs and budget. Cedar stands out for its balance of durability and aesthetics, making it a favorite among Tulsa homeowners who prefer natural materials.

How Do Composite Decks React to Extreme Weather?

Composite decks are built tough. They’re designed to withstand the kind of weather that sends most of us Oklahomans running for cover. Hot summers? Composite doesn’t warp or fade like it used to. Freezing winters? It doesn’t crack or splinter. And when those notorious storms roll through Tulsa, your composite deck stays put, without the fear of water damage that can haunt natural wood decks. It’s a resilient choice for a state that sees its fair share of Mother Nature’s moods.

Can I Build a Deck Myself, or Should I Hire a Pro?

Building a deck is a big project, no doubt about it. If you’re handy with tools and familiar with construction principles, you might be tempted to DIY. But here’s the thing: a deck isn’t just a weekend project. It requires planning, permits, and a whole lot of know-how. For most Tulsa homeowners, hiring a professional is the way to go. They can navigate the red tape, ensure your deck is up to code, and deliver a quality space you can enjoy for years. Plus, they’ll get it done a whole lot faster than going it alone.

How Often Will I Need to Replace My Deck?

With proper care, a cedar deck can be your backyard companion for 15 to 20 years. Composite decks, boasting their durability, can last even longer – some up to 25 years or more. But remember, longevity isn’t just about the material; it’s about maintenance. Keep your deck clean, inspect it regularly, and fix small issues before they become big problems. Do this, and you’ll extend the life of your deck, no matter what it’s made of.

What Are the Hidden Costs of Deck Installation?

When budgeting for your deck, it’s easy to focus on the big numbers: materials and labor. But don’t forget the extras. Permits, deck furniture, grills, and even the plants you’ll want to decorate with – they all add up. And if your yard needs extra work, like leveling or the removal of an old deck, those costs can sneak up on you. Be sure to factor in these hidden expenses to get a true picture of what your new deck will cost.

As we wrap up our deep dive into the world of decking, remember that your deck is more than just a structure; it’s an extension of your home. It’s where memories are made, from family barbecues to quiet mornings with a cup of coffee. Whether you choose the rustic charm of cedar or the modern convenience of composite, your deck is a place for you to connect with the great outdoors and make the most of your Tulsa home.

Happy decking, Tulsa!