Composite wood decking is a fairly new technology that combines recycled wood and plastic to form a durable, more resilient decking surface.
This recycling makes it a good environmental choice, as the wood that goes into its construction is the waste from other wood products. One
concern with it is that it varies greatly in quality so it is very important you take the time to check with suppliers and contractors to find
those brands with the best reputation
A great advantage of composite decking is its resistance to insects or rotting. It never needs to be sanded, stained, or
waterproofed, and most composite wood decking companies offer long term warranties.
Composite wood decking offers the aesthetically pleasing benefit of decking without the necessity of costly and timely maintenance.
The biggest issue for composite wood decking seems to be that it is susceptible to staining. For this reason, most composite
wood decks come with detailed cleaning instructions; and in addition, it is common for decks to fade over a long period of time. That is
why most composite wood decking manufacturers don’t offer their decking in deep colors.
Composite wood is not as strong as traditional wood which is why composite wood decks are still dependent on using a wood base to keep it
structurally sound. Composite wood can sag or droop without the use of wood to hold it up.
Wood decking can need a lot of maintenance. Constantly having to paint and waterproof a wooden deck can become very tedious,
not to mention the fact that wood can become warped over time and need to be replaced. The makers of composite wood decking say that you no
longer have to go through all this work to keep your deck looking nice.
Advantages of Composite Decking
- composite decking products are gaining market share (due to good marketing)
- a wide range of products
- looks like wood
- comes in an assortment of colors - products are color fast
- the fasteners are hidden
- you will never have to paint or stain your deck again
- decks can now last forever
Disadvantages of Composite Decking
- lacks structural strength - without reinforcement it is not a structural product
- adverse effect of UV radiation on composite products - they become brittle and when stressed tend to break
- the colors fade in the sunshine
- composite decking tends to be soft and scratches under normal wear e.g. dogs claws and womens high heels
- after 5 years composite decking will be worn but it cannot be re-sanded or stained again - it can only be replaced
How to Use Composite Decking
Composite decking responds to similar procedures as wood itself. It is designed to be cut with a saw, nailed, or screwed in place like
wood as well. Yet for all its similarities it can surprise you with its subtle differences.
The primary difference is in planning to use it; composite decking uses preformed molding that completely formed trims, so that you don’t have
to miter the joints to build the base trims for the posts and so forth. This means that when you are planning on it, it is important to
consider all these joints and just how you want to use them. Then you can purchase the right pieces up front.
No Paint, Little Maintenance
The other differences come on the other end of the construction process. Composite decking doesn’t have to be painted as it will assume
a pleasant grey tone as it weathers. If you don’t care for that, then it takes to paint as well, although some priming may help create a
smoother texture. It is important to remember that if it is painted, the paint will still have to be maintained.
It can also take much less maintenance than wood. Wood should really be treated at least once a season, but composite decking can rely
on the strength of its base to resist weather better. This can help offset the costs of the decking and help make the choice an easier
Composite wood decks are a great alternative to traditional wooden decks. If you want a deck that you don’t have to spend a lot of time
and energy maintaining then composite wood decking is for you. Environmentally, it can be more responsible than wood and yet remain easier to
work with than some of the other decking options out there.
It boils down to whether the environmental concerns and lower maintenance are more important than strength and long-term appearance.
Check out Elk composite decking and the top-selling Trex decking.