composite deck on a lake

When choosing the best material for your dock, it can be challenging to make a decision. You’re likely looking for something durable and affordable without compromising on style and comfort. Among several sensible decking material choices, composite docks – sometimes called ‘fake wood docks’ – are a notable contender. 

What are the benefits of composite decking? How do composite docks compare to other materials, like cedar or plastic? 

Let’s zoom in on the pros and cons and help you decide if composite decking is the right dock material for you. 

Are Fake Wood Docks More Durable?

Durability is a top priority for most water-loving folks in the market for a dock. Since docks are exposed to the elements all year round, it’s especially important that your decking material of choice can stand up to potentially extreme seasonal changes. 

Plus, since your dock will likely become a platform for all types of waterfront fun, you need a material that can handle high-traffic recreation for years to come. So, are fake wood docks made from composite material durable enough to stand the test of time?

“Composite is a mix of wood fibers, bonding agents, and plastics and makes a high-quality building product,” says the Homes Network. “It guarantees high strength, low density, and excellent resistance to wear and tear or fatigue compared to wood decking.”

Tommy Docks’ engineered composite decking is made without any foam or wood fillers and will not absorb moisture, making it a durable choice for aquatic environments. It can handle sustained, direct contact with the ground and water. Additionally, our composite decking delivers the industry's best strength-to-weight ratio, giving you the best bang for your buck.

In fact, we stand behind our composite decking so much that we offer the industry’s best warranty. It’s a 25-year warranty covering structural defects, stains and fades, and removal and replacement. 

Now, we’ll take a closer look at the overall value of composite decking and how it compares to other types of dock materials.

Composite Decking Pros & Cons

As with any decision, composite decking comes with its benefits and drawbacks. In this case, composite docks have far more positives than negatives.

“Composite decking's greatest advantage is also its greatest weakness, in the minds of some: it's not a natural material,” explains HGTV. “Composed primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic, composite decking…won't warp, split or crack. In trade for a long-lasting deck that will be relatively low-maintenance, you may have to sacrifice the look and feel of natural hardwood.”

Here are just a handful of pros and cons to help your decision-making process:

Pros of composite docks

Cons of Composite Docks

Virtually no maintenance required 

Slightly more spendy than some other materials, like cedar

Comfortable under foot, slip resistant

Limited style options

Won't splinter, sag, chalk, or crack

Less natural 

Won’t stain or fade

Excellent warranty


Attractive and easy to incorporate with any style

Considered eco-friendly

Yes, the pros of composite decking outweigh the cons. Now, let’s contrast it with cedar and plastic decking.

Composite Decking vs. Other Dock Materials

The durability, look and feel of composite decking make it a fantastic choice for your freshwater dock. Here’s how our composite decking compares to our other decking material options of cedar and Titan: 

Composite Docks vs. Cedar Docks

From the name, ‘fake wood decking’ may sound inferior to real wood decks. However, composite decking has a definite edge over cedar decking in many areas. 

For example, cedar decks require regular maintenance and are susceptible to decay. The initial price of cedar decking is lower, requiring a smaller initial investment. However, the cost of refinishing the decking every summer can add up. Composite decking costs a little more upfront but requires virtually no maintenance.

“All wood needs to be refinished every year or so, or it will change color and crack, raising the risk of splinters. Even with diligent maintenance, the lifespan of a wood deck usually maxes out around 15 years,” says Good Housekeeping.

That being said, some homeowners prefer the look of natural wood. They like the option of staining the deck whatever color they choose, and they don’t mind the maintenance if it means having a natural decking material. 

Tommy Docks’ composite decking comes in two colors – Ridgway Gray and Woodland Brown – and features a beautiful wood grain finish. This elegant finish gives the appearance of wood without the maintenance and splinter potential of cedar. 

Composite Docks vs. Titan Docks

Another decking option is Tommy Docks’ Titan decking, made from sturdy 100% polypropylene. Like composite decking, our Titan decking is entirely maintenance-free and can stand up to the elements, including built-in UV protection. This material offers a similar comfort level when compared to composite decking. 

However, composite decking is more affordable than Titan decking, making composite a good choice for homeowners interested in a no-maintenance dock with a mid-range price point.

Additionally, composite decking and Titan decking vary in look. Composite decking has a colored, wood-grain finish, while the plastic Titan decking has a slotted pattern, making it look more like an aluminum dock. 

What’s the Best Dock Material?

Ultimately, choosing the best material for your dock comes down to your needs and preference. That’s why Tommy Docks offers high-quality dock packages using high-quality materials of varying types, including composite, cedar, and Titan decking. Tommy Docks make building a durable, attractive deck easier and more affordable than ever. 

Our composite dock packages come with aluminum frames, offering the durability of aluminum and the beauty of natural wood without the maintenance. With several styles and configurations to choose from, you can find a DIY composite dock package that fits your property, recreational needs, and price range. Additionally, our modular designs allow the option for adding on to your dock in the future. 

Browse our full selection of decks in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Additionally, you’re welcome to request a free sample of our composite decking to see the look and feel in person before you commit. 

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