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5 comparisons of composite decking Vs bamboo decking materials

Ok, so how does bamboo decking stack up against composite decking? We wanted to provide a brief summary for you, and thought a fair comparison of the alternative decking materials is to consider the following:

• Resistance to moisture absorption

• Maintenance required

• Ease of installation

• Cost

• Environmentally friendliness


A good composite will absorb very little moisture. Bamboo absorbs similar amounts of moisture to timber.


A good quality composite will require periodic cleaning, like with anything sitting outside for long periods of time. However, Bamboo decking requires repetitive oiling or staining according to most manufacturers instructions. The smooth service on most bamboo decking makes it very slippery when there is any build up of mold and mildew.


A good quality composite will use a concealed fastener system, effectively reducing installation time to a fraction of what traditional decking takes. Bamboo on the other hand still requires traditional installation techniques. Some people have tried using concealed fasteners with bamboo that are either hammered into the side of the board or require pre-drilling. Neither of those options has proven to be effective in providing an installation method that stands the test of time.


A quality composite will cost approximately the same as a bamboo decking for materials. Well designed composite decking materials are installed in a fraction of the time bamboo takes and requires a fraction of the maintenance over its lifetime. For a more detailed cost comparison click here.


There is definitely greenwashing apparent in the composite decking industry, with some composites being made of PVC or virgin plastic but being marketed as green products. Therefore, you must choose your composite brand carefully.

An environmentally friendly composite will consist of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood fibre with very little processing required to get it into its useable form. Bamboo is frequently marketed as a green material, however there's a couple of points to consider. VOC content (formaldehyde and other chemicals) tends to vary among manufacturers and can be a major concern for those with allergies and respiratory problems. The elaborate processing required to manufacture bamboo decking uses unfriendly chemicals and a lot of power, making its sustainability claims questionable. It may be "greenish", but is not really green.


Bamboo decking is made of a strand of weaved bamboo materials which are cut, pulverized into strips, boiled in boric acid (to remove sugars and repel insects), bleached, carbonized, and dried for preservation. Then the strips are assembled, adhered together with formaldehyde glues/resins under 1,200 tons PSI of pressure. It depends on its bonding resin for much of its resistance to deterioration. It is then put in a mold and baked to make it a solid piece. The bamboo is then milled using a laser guided machine before its curing phase.

By gluing the Bamboo in laminates, depending on the orientation of the laminations, it can be more prone to peeling, cupping and curling. Prior to installation, it should be kept dry and avoid water to avoid swelling and twisting.

Unlike composite decking, bamboo decking hasn't been manufactured for that long, so it has very little standards. Below is an example of bamboo decking that has failed less than 18 months after installation. The photos are of one deck out of three.

There is obvious degradation in teh boards, delaminating, swelling (especially at the ends of the boards). The prefinished surface finish has deteriorated badly and moisture has made the boards implode. According to the owner, the deck is in very good condition compared to what it was like in winter. The white things in between the boards are actually dried up mushrooms that were growing during winter. This deck is being ripped up and replaced with ECO-DECKING.

The Popularity of a Bamboo Deck vs a Composite Deck

So you have read about the differences in bamboo deck boards and composite deck boards in a side by side comparison. But where does each material sit on a popularity scale? Bamboo decking is increasingly becoming more and more popular but not everyone is convinced of this as an alternative to artificial or composite decking.

The natural look and durability are key factors in the rise in popularity of bamboo decks. Used both indoors and outdoors, the interior to exterior flow is seamless. And with an indoor / outdoor living combination as trendy as ever, this is a huge advantage for bamboo flooring. Offering high stability, the boards can be installed in clean patterns and will remain in a good condition for years to come with the correct maintenance. With a warm appearance and natural aesthetic, the finish that bamboo decking provides is loved by both traditionalists and modernists, complementing any and all design schemes. If you are creating a tranquil space with a feeling of peace and ambiance, bamboo deck boards are the product to choose.

Wood plastic composite decking on the other hand has held its place on the popularity scale from the moment it was introduced to the industry. A versatile, attractive and affordable material, it can be hard to find any limitations at first glance. Combining the best qualities of both wood and plastic, composite decking promises a strong and durable decking that requires minimal maintenance and can withstand the test of time. In a similar manner to bamboo decking, it can be used in both the interior and exterior, creating a smooth flow between spaces. And with less weathering taking place than the bamboo alternative, composite boards can be used in even the wettest of areas. So understandably, the popularity of this type of decking will remain high for many years to come.

But What if You Could Combine the Best of Both Worlds for Your Bamboo Deck Boards?

With both bamboo decking and composite decking offering strong advantages to homeowners and professionals, it poses the question of whether these products could be combined to offer the end user the best of both worlds? The endurance and easy to maintain nature of the composite decking alongside the natural appearance of the bamboo.

Offering such versatility, composite decking has the appearance of natural wood with less of the limitations. This means that you could achieve the same beautiful finish as bamboo, the same interior / exterior flow and the same strength and durability. And the best part? You likely wouldn''t be able to tell that it isn't real outdoor bamboo flooring that has been laid. Sounds great doesn't it?

For a reliable supplier that puts your views and needs first, look no further than Outdure. Offering a free price and design service, you are sure to find the perfect bamboo decks for your budget. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today to speak with an expert and kick start your project.

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