What is composite decking?

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All over Melbourne, people are opting for composite decking over conventional timber decks. It is fast becoming the preferred choice for consumers across this great country of ours. But what is composite decking, and why is it experiencing such a huge boost in popularity?

Unlike traditional timber planks, which are harvested from forests and shaped into lengths of wood to be distributed at a factory outlet and later installed in your homes, composite decking is a completely man made product – meaning it has much less impact on the environment.

Your typical composite plank is comprised of wood fibres, plastics, and bonding agents. The mixture is heated into a liquefied form, moulded into planks, and cooled. This process hardens the elements in the mixture into a single unit that serves in the place of a traditional wooden plank.

Composite boards require far less maintenance than wooden decking, while offering an authentic timber appearance with realistic wood-grain effects that effortlessly trick the eye into thinking they’re the real thing.

Benefits of composite decks

One huge advantage that composite decking has over conventional wooden decking is that it requires very little in the upkeep department.

The plastic component found in a composite board means that it isn’t susceptible to wood rot, dampness and pests. Unlike a wooden plank, they don’t need to be treated, sealed, stained or painted, and aren’t at risk of twisting and warping due to sun exposure or water absorption. Furthermore, they won’t fade like timber decking does should they experience exposure to these elements.

Composite decks will never crack and splinter, meaning they’re generally safer to walk on with bare feet, compared to wooden decks which might leave you with a nasty sliver of wood in your soles.

In addition to this, composite boards absorb very little water. They are slip resistant and have more traction than a wooden board underfoot when they’re wet, meaning they’re highly suitable for installation around pools and other wet areas.

Thanks to their composition, the composite decking will also serve the homeowner for a much longer period of time, typically outlasting a wooden deck by up to 5-10 years in the lifespan department, with some ranges even coming with a 15-25 year guarantee warranty insuring the investment of your money in this product.

It is true that the initial outlay for a composite deck is slightly more expensive than that of a wooden deck, but what you fork out in the short term will virtually pay for itself in the long term, because composite decks require nothing in terms of maintenance and never age in appearance, unlike timber decks which require regular upkeep and are always at risk of fading and losing their brilliant looks.

Types of composite decks

As of today, composite decking is available in two key varieties: capped and uncapped.

As the name implies, capped composite boards have an outer layer of plastic, serving as an extra shield against the elements, making them even more resistant to fading and staining than their uncapped counterparts. Additionally, thanks to this exterior coating, they are super easy to wipe clean and will retain their rich, deep colours long after they have been exposed to the sun.

Uncapped boards, on the other hand, do not enjoy the same level of protection. The materials from which these planks are fashioned means they are still hard-wearing and resistant to the elements, but they are more susceptible to fading and staining. In fact, over the first couple of months, you may notice that your planks have faded slightly as wood oils have seeped out of the unprotected product as a result of being exposed to the sun, making them look a little more drab and lifeless than their capped cousins.

Nevertheless, both varieties come in either solid or hollow formats. Solid boards are typically more rigid and, as a result of their mass, they’re heavier than hollow boards, whereas hollow boards have a chamber running through the length of the plank making them lighter and easier to manoeuvre about.

For composite decks, there are many ranges available today which feature hidden fastening systems. This is where the planks have grooves in the sides of the boards, meaning they can be clipped down onto the frame, hiding any fasteners such as screw heads from sight. This creates a sleek, ultramodern, uniform look that is becoming highly popular among decking enthusiasts.

Why are composite decks becoming so popular?

In addition to everything mentioned above, one final reason as to why composite boards have gained enormous amounts of popularity over the past few years is that these products are one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly products on the market today.

Unlike a lot of timber products, which start their lives in a forest and require harvesting before being made fit for use by consumers, composite boards aim to minimize their impact on the environment as they are created through a combination of FSC certified wood products and recycled plastic.

This means that composite boards do not contribute to deforestation, nor do they add to landfill, making them a highly sustainable and eco-friendly alternative, as well as being a high-quality product that delivers a fantastic performance.

Ultimately, the increasing popularity of a composite board lies in its robust features and characteristics, as well as aligning with the values of a modern, environmentally aware society.

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