If you’ve ever had a wood deck outback, you know the feeling of dread that comes every couple years when the time has come to get out there and stain it again — unless you’re one of those people who love it!
Either way, regular maintenance is necessary for all decks constructed from natural wood — including the various types of pressure-treated (PT) lumber commonly used today. Wood used to be the only option for decks, but for those who desire a more carefree and long-lasting option for their decks, a different option exists — composite decking.
What is composite decking?
Composite decking uses additional materials, in addition to wood, to make the deck stronger and better able to withstand adverse weather. Basically, composite decking comes in every texture and color you can think of. It often has the appearance of sanded wood, but all composite decking contains plastic — hence the word ‘composite.’
The unique and varied composition of composite decking materials enables the deck itself to stand the test of time — without the need for staining or sealing. People go for composite decking because you don’t have to maintain it, and it can last for decades without any structural or aesthetic issues.
Types of composite decking
These decks fall into two general categories: hollow and solid. The hollow variety is resistant to expansion, but the solid kind is more common because it more closely resembles real wood.
Like natural wood, composite decking will eventually start to fade. It’s also not quite true that you don’t have to do anything to maintain a composite deck. Washing it down with soap and water at least twice a year is necessary to keep it clean and functional. The material can also get very hot in the sun, which is a problem if you (or someone else) is barefoot. Finally, composite decking can soften over time — and since the material isn’t conducive to stain, it will remain the same color its whole life.
Finding a good specialist
When you hire a deck resurfacing specialist who has experience and knowledge, the first thing you should count on is having all your questions answered. Since each manufacturer offers different options for composite decking, your outdoor deck specialist will be able to recommend which brands have the highest qualities and cheapest prices in your area. From there, you’ll be able to talk about your design ideas and come up with a plan that’s structurally sound and aesthetically right for your home. The planning phase of a decking project is truly important. Once the process begins, it can be very costly to reverse course.
Composite decking is usually guaranteed by the manufacturer, but you should also be clear about whether or not your contractor offers written or contractual guarantees on the decks they build and/or resurface. The truth is, when something goes wrong with a composite outdoor deck, the installation (and not the material) is usually to blame. In such cases, you want to be sure that your decking contractor will show up and make things right.