Everything you need to know about composite decking
Composite decking has become very popular in recent years, largely due to its durability and low cost. It’s also an eco-friendly product because it’s made from recycled materials that are easier on the environment than other building materials, and it doesn’t require you to use as many harmful chemicals to make it adhere properly or maintain it over time.
Despite its popularity, there are many people who don’t know much about composite decking, which makes them nervous about using it in their own homes. To answer some of the most frequently asked questions about composite decking, keep reading!
Composite Decking General Questions
Composite decking is a decking material that’s made from recycled materials, such as plastic, wood and other additives. It has become a popular alternative to traditional wooden decking in recent years because it is not only environmentally friendly but also very durable and aesthetically pleasing.
When you’re choosing composite decking, you have a number of different options. What decking colour is available and which style of deck do you want?
The colours of composite decks range from grey, walnut, black to brown, charcoal, mocha and many more options. There’s no perfect answer to the colour choice. One of the best methods is to get a few samples of the composite deck from the suppliers and put them in your outdoor settings. Given the composite decking boards will be there for many years to come, you would want to make sure they blend in nicely with the whole outdoor settings and details.
One of wood plastic composite’s biggest advantages is that it doesn’t need too much maintenance. You do not need to oil or paint the composite decking boards regularly like you do with the wooden decking boards. This saves a lot of time and effort for busy families who don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining decks, but still enjoy their decks area as much as possible.
Because wood plastic composite is made from recycled materials, it has a relatively low environmental impact compared to natural wood materials. It’s weather resistant and can withstand intense sun, rain, and extreme temperatures without splintering or cracking.
And because it doesn’t splinter or crack like natural woods do, you don’t have to worry about little kids getting splinters in their feet when they run around barefoot on your deck.
While it’s true that composite materials are more weather-resistant than wood, there is still a degree of damage they can sustain if they are exposed to extreme weather all the time.
The answer depends on where you live, but some regions experience much harsher weather conditions than others. If you live in an area with extreme weather, consider investing in high-quality composite decking as it may be more durable than cheaper options.
You’ll also want to use high-quality fasteners when constructing your deck to ensure nothing snaps off or comes loose after years of exposure to cold temperatures and windy conditions.
Hollow boards are made of a few separate pieces that are compressed together. They’re generally cheaper than solid core products, but less durable, too.
Solid core boards are made from a single piece of recycled plastic composite material. They tend to be higher quality and more aesthetically pleasing.
Another common question homeowners have is whether they should choose grooved or ungrooved composite deck boards.
As it turns out, there are a few reasons why one might opt for one over another. The biggest difference between grooved and ungrooved boards has to do with price. Ungrooved boards can be cheaper than their grooved counterparts, depending on where you buy them from. That’s because you don’t have to spend time cutting all of those grooves into your board—which means less money spent on installation costs.
The composite decking boards are designed to withstand weather conditions. That said, it’s still good practice to avoid leaving your deck boards out in direct sunlight for long periods of time if possible.
Though it won’t affect their performance, sun can cause warping in wood fibers over time. A good way to make sure your boards don’t get dried out is by spraying them lightly with water once a week or so when it’s sunny outside.
Composite decking boards are most often used to build outdoor decking areas at homes and commercial spaces.
We also see composite decking boards being used to build planter boxes, garden beds, outdoor furniture such as shelves, bench, and even chairs. In essence, composite decking boards carry the same function as the traditional wooden boards that are used to build almost everything around the house.
No, composite decking is generally not slippery when wet.
However there are also times when your composite decks could be slippery. For example when your decks are covered with molds, debris, leaves or pollen, the deck surface could become slippery.
Also in low temperature condition, the mixture of ice and water could make the deck surface slippery, therefore removing ice and water on the decking area is important in winter.
Composite Decking Installation FAQ
Composite decking, unlike pressure-treated wood, doesn’t require you to wear protective gear while working with it. You will still need some basic tools such as hammers and screwdrivers. Usually speaking, the tools you would need include: chalk line, tape measure, levelling tool, power drill, and hand saw.
The composite material is incredibly durable and, depending on your local weather conditions, won’t rot or warp. This means you can install a deck over time rather than all at once.
One of the important steps for installing composite decking boards property is to leave a gap between the boards. The gap could be around 4mm – 6mm generally speaking.
The space is left there because it allows drainage and let the water dry out of the boards as quick as possible, so you have less moisture problems with the deck.
Also the gap between the boards will leave some space in case the decking boards expand in very hot weather. That way the stress from the expansion won’t be placed on the fasteners as much.
It depends on the condition of the concrete slab and a few other conditions. If the concreate slab is levelled, it can probably be used to lay composite decks on. But you should also consider the potentially of water pool if the concreate slab is low.
A common installation method would be to lay down a wooden base for your deck on top of your concrete patio first and then install your composite boards over that wooden platform. It is common to us pressure-treated lumber for increased durability, especially if you plan on letting water sit underneath your deck in any way.
Most composite deck boards have a long lifespan. But if one decking board breaks or is damaged, you may be able to purchase and install a replacement board if it’s still available in stores. But, we’d recommend that you follow an expert advice.
The deck builders will be able to suggest excellent alternatives for repairing and even replacing damaged parts of your deck. And since they deal with high-quality composite materials on a regular basis, they can advise you on when to replace various parts of your deck so that it can last as long as possible before any replacements are necessary.
A good tip is to keep a few extra decking boards when you are building the decking area, in case you need them to replace a damaged board a few years later. The manufacturers may or may not keep stock of all the composite decking models for years.
If you’re installing your deck in cold weather, don’t worry; composite decks can be installed year-round. Even when it’s bitterly cold outside, as long as your deck materials can still be drilled, cut and fastened with a cordless drill and screws, you can install them.
When it comes to quality composite deck materials, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort for beauty. If you want to keep going in even sub-zero temperatures, stay dry and warm while working.
Yes, but it’s generally not recommended. However, they can be painted with a special composite decking-friendly paint that is labeled as suitable for use on composite decking.
Additionally, remember that painting a wood-plastic composite deck may void its warranty if you have one.
Composite Decking Maintenance
One of our most frequently asked questions is: How long does a composite deck last. We cannot make the same promises on our products because everyone cares for their home and decks differently.
However if you follow our recommendations then you’ll have a beautiful deck with an extended lifetime to enjoy with your family for 20 – 30 years to come.
Composite decking is a relatively low maintenance decking material. You will want to take some precautionary measures, however, if you live in an area that sees extremes of heat or cold. In these situations, you may want to use a sealant on your composite decking to protect it from cracking and warping. But only apply the sealant under expert’s instructions.
If a composite decking area is used quite regularly, cleaning then is required to remove fool spills, dirt and debris. A lot of the dirts can be washed off with a garden hose. If not, using some warm soapy water and a soft brush to remove the dirt will do the job.
If the food spills and debris from animals are left untreated on the composite decks, they will dry out over time. And some of those debris contain acid which could harm the deck or affect the decking colour. In other cases, they may form mold where could be harmful to the decking boards as well. Regular cleaning on the decking boards would be ideal or clean up as soon as incidents happen.
Pressure washing composite decking boards may not be a very good idea. Pressure washing too close on the composite decks could damage the boards or leave cracks on the boards that could lead to other problems over the long run. Generally, a garden hose with warm soapy water will do the job. If you really want to use a high pressure hose, adjust it to the lower pressure level is a good idea.
When applying cleaning products on composite decks, do not use any product with chlorine bleach in it. Chlorine bleach could discolor the composite boards or even damage the decking surface.