Nothing says “all-Swedish” like a deck on a house. This is where the kids hang out, the grill gets fired up, and summer always seems to last a bit longer. In the 1950s, a wooden deck connected to a house became a prestige symbol and rapidly became a feature of suburban life. Then, in the 1990s, composite decking hit the market, offering a more durable and low-maintenance alternative.
So, what exactly is composite decking? Simply said, composite decking are often made by combining wood fibres with new and/or recycled polymers. Some composite decking is constructed entirely of polyvinyl. When colouring components and protective chemicals are added, the outcome is a manufactured product in the shape of a board that is somewhat heavier than genuine wood of the same size. It will not rot or splinter, is very resistant to warping, and is more weather resistant in general than typical timber decking.
Facts about Composite Decking
Let’s go through what everyone should know about composite decking.
- Decking is classified into two types: solid and hollow. Solid decking is heavier and more natural looking, but it is more prone to temperature fluctuations. Hollow decking is less expensive but requires more attention before installation to avoid damage.
- The initial expenses of composite decking will almost certainly be greater, both in terms of materials and labour. However, composite decking is likely to be less expensive throughout the life of the deck. This is mostly due to lower maintenance and a longer lifespan.
- Because there is no risk of warpage, most composite deck boards will be significantly longer than hardwood boards. Boards may be up to 20 feet long!
- It is available in a wide range of hues. Painting or staining composite decking is unnecessary since the colour pigmentation is added during the manufacturing process. Do you want a pink deck or boards that alternate between purple and yellow? You are free to have whatever you want. Remember that you can’t easily change your mind and paint over your choice of colour.
- Although your composite deck will not warp, it will droop and buckle. The majority of drooping is caused by poor joist spacing when it is installed. Furthermore, thermal expansion, or temperature fluctuations, can have a greater impact on composite decking than on genuine wood decking. The distance between composite boards and boards and walls is frequently bigger than the distance between hardwood boards. It is critical to install with care and professionalism.
- Although composite decking is fade resistant, it may fade over time under direct sunlight. As the colour of the composite decking fades, it will become lighter in tone. When left alone, natural wood turns to grey.
- Under those conditions, it will also get heated, but not hot enough to melt. It is always a good idea to shade the deck on the warmest, sunniest days.
- Under composite decks, drainage must be provided. Any moisture trapped beneath composite decking on top of wood joists causes the joists to rot and disintegrate.
- These products are stain resistant as well, although, as with fading, resistance does not imply never. Clean up spills as soon as possible, and keep the deck cleaned. It will need to be properly hosed at least twice a year.
- Mould development is the most prevalent complaint regarding composite decking. While mould, algae, and mildew may form on any deck material, wood must be cleaned and refinished. Composite decking is not resurfaceable, and discoloration is difficult to remove. To avoid mould growth, it is best to apply and maintain a mould barrier from the outset. If mould is already present, owners must use specific cleansers that will eliminate the mould while not causing damage to the surface.
Do your research before making a long-term investment like a deck. Price out contractors, ask friends who have decks who they’ve worked with, and compile a list of the pros and drawbacks of wood vs. composite. Above all, make sure you have extra mustard and ketchup for the first picnic!