So, are you remodeling and have just started getting into your research on composite decking for the first time? Or, perhaps – you already know a thing or two about decking, but want to learn more? No matter what’s the case, you have clicked on the right article for composite decking info. There are plenty of things to know when it comes to this topic, and here, you will find everything that you need to know about composite decking. Let’s start from the basics!
What is Composite Decking?
Many people aren’t all that well-versed into what decking even is exactly, especially when it comes to composite ones. In order for you to understand what you should opt for when looking into composite decking, we need to cover the basics first. This product is used for plenty of different building purposes, from simple decks and patios all the way to decoration and more. It is made out of a mix of wood fibers, hence the woody look – but that isn’t all that there is to it.
In the mix of wood fibers, various plastics are entailed, as well as bonding agents to keep the material together long term. This mix, when heated, shaped, and cooled, results in boards that are far superior to traditional wood – but also to plastic alternatives. More on that later though!
What are the Different Types of Composite Decking
There are various types of composite decking, and there is no one way to categorize it. From a consumer’s perspective, you will probably find the best differentiation to be into two following categories: capped and uncapped. Their price points differ, and so does their quality, so, it is important to know what those differences are. In addition, composite boards can be categorized into hollow and solid ones.
Uncapped Composite Decking
This type of composite decking is oftentimes the cheaper alternative. When it comes to resistivity and longevity, it is indeed resistant and will last for a good period of time. The main issue is though, it is prone to color fading over time. Basically, after being exposed to rain, sun, and pretty much just outside environment, the boards will fade a bit. The reason for this lies in the fact that residual tannins will find their way out of the boards without the protection that capped decking offers.
In addition, uncapped boards don’t offer good protection against staining. So, have that in mind if you plan to house parties and dinners on your deck in abundance.
Capped Composite Decking
Capped composite decking comes with a higher price range due to the benefits that it offers when compared to uncapped composite decking. All of their benefits come from the fact that capped boards have their exterior coated with plastic. This results in high resistance against both fading and staining. In addition, this plastic coat makes these boards incredibly simple to clean. So, you don’t have to worry about all the pesky issues mentioned in the paragraph regarding uncapped decking.
Hollow vs Solid Boards
While scouting out different composite boards, you will run into both hollow and solid varieties. As expected, hollow ones are, well, hollow. They have hollow chambers throughout the length of the boards, which makes them less durable than their solid counterparts. Solid boards don’t come with these chambers, and hence they are stronger, but also heavier. This is definitely something that you should have in mind, as your choice depends on the weight that the deck has to endure.
How to Choose Composite Decking
When it comes to choosing composite decking, the choice ultimately depends on what you need specifically. As you’ve seen in the previous section, there are different price points for different options. So, the first aspect you should assess is how much you’re willing to spend on your new deck. Once you get that figured out, it’s time to decide on capped vs uncapped, as well as hollow vs solid boards. This choice depends on where you live, as well as the intended purposes for the decking.
Rough weather (both hot and cold) calls for capped decking, as it is more resistant to color fading. When it comes to hollow vs solid, you must consider the weight that will be inflicted upon the deck. In addition, solid boards are way more durable than hollow ones, so, keep that in mind as well. When it comes to color, that is entirely up to you – and most companies offer the same colors no matter the type of boards that you opt for.
Wood vs Composite Decking
There are plenty of reasons why people opt for composite decking instead of traditional wood. If you’re still on the fence though, let’s go through the most prominent composite decking pros.
The most common reason for people opting for composite decking is the fact that it requires far less maintenance. Wood has plenty of downsides, and maintenance truly isn’t its strongest asset. When it comes to composite decking, especially capped variety, keeping your deck clean and fresh is incredibly simple. It isn’t going to stain, change due to weather, rot, and similar. When you spill something, you just have to clean it with a mop and that’s it.
Resistance to Rotting and Pests
If you’ve previously wondered why there is plastic in composite decking, here, you will find the answers. Basically, wood is susceptible to rotting, damping, as well as different pests – most notably insects. On the other hand, composite decks aren’t – and this is due to plastics present in them.
So, you don’t need to seal, coat, stain, or paint your composite deck. In addition, no matter the weather, they aren’t going to crack as wood tends to crack. Add to that the fact that capped composite decking doesn’t fade and stain, and you can easily see how they are superior to wood.
Due to their high durability, composite decking lasts much longer than traditional wooden decking does. In general, you can be sure that it will last anywhere between 15 and 25 years. In fact, most decking companies will offer a guarantee for this period of time.
The installation process is quite similar to wooden decking, but it offers a novel shortcut. Most of the companies offer boards that come with grooves on the side of the decking. What this does is that it offers the possibility of slipping the hidden fasteners in between the boards with ease. So, the installation is going to take less time than it would with wood. In addition – you don’t have to worry about any visible screws protruding.
Composite Decking Brands
There are a lot of different composite decking brands out there, so, how can you find the best one? The most well-known brands out there are Trex, TimberTech, Dura-Life, Fiberon, and similar. For more information on what they provide, it would be best for you to continue your research further.
The options are mostly similar, with slight variations in the plastics and wood used, as well as colors and similar. Larger brands also oftentimes come with higher prices of their composite boards, so, keep that in mind while doing your research. There are alternatives to these brands such as Futurewood and Lumberock, offering sustainable, eco-friendly options of the same level of quality as the larger players.
How Much Does Composite Decking Cost
The price of your deck is going to heavily depend on the type and brand that you end up opting for. In general, the average price of a composite deck is somewhere between $30 and $60 per square foot. This price range includes the installation of your composite deck as well. So, in most cases, your composite deck is going to end up costing somewhere between $12,000 and $24,000. Upfront, this does look like a large expense, but the truth is, it will last a long time, and you won’t have to pay a dime for maintenance.
So, there you have it – all that you need to know about choosing composite decking for your home. After reading this article, you are fully equipped with knowledge that will help you choose the right option for your needs.