Composite has taken the outdoor decking industry by storm, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. If you haven’t considered this modern option for your next outdoor deck project, check out this list of five things you might not have known about composite decks.
1. They last a seriously long time
The best composite decking on the market is extremely durable. We actually don’t know how long it lasts, because it hasn’t been around long enough to know with any statistical certainty. What we can say for certain is that composite decking can easily last twenty or thirty years, and there will certainly be cases of composite decking lasting a lot longer than that. This assumes, however, that a quality decking material was installed by a knowledgeable professional.
2. They do require maintenance
One of the great selling points out composite decks is that they require “virtually” no maintenance. But you’ll never hear a professional say that composite decks require absolutely no maintenance. Periodic cleaning, using the methods suggested by the manufacturer of the material, is necessary in order to prevent dirt, grime and chemicals from building up on the surface of the material. If you neglect this task, it frankly isn’t going to be as costly as, say, neglecting to apply fresh sealant to a natural wood deck. But it will preserve the appearance (and maximize the lifespan) of a composite deck over time.
3. They cost more than natural wood
You may have already surmised this, given the superior lifespan of composite decking, and the extremely low maintenance requirements it entails. But these modern materials do cost more than natural hardwood (except the rarest and most exotic kinds of hardwood). The price difference varies, since there are so many different brands and blends of composite decking. There are also a lot of different hardwoods. However, composite decking will consistently come in at a higher cost.
Is this cost difference prohibitive? Not really. Consult a reputable deck dealer, or your local building supply deal, for specifics. You’ll pay more for a composite deck, but it will last a lot longer.
4. They do have disadvantages
Composite decking doesn’t have a long list of strikes against it, but some people do report that the surface can heat up in the sun. Natural wood obviously heats up too, but the plastic elements mixed with wood fiber in composite decking may be quite warm when the summer sun has been beating down on it.
5. They’re best left in the hands of professionals
In today’s age of DIY and homeowner projects, it might be tempting to install your own composite deck. How hard can it be? Well, the short answer is that a lot of homeowners find out the hard way. Unless you have experience and knowledge in measuring and building, installing a deck of any material can turn into an enormous pain. The final result might also fall short of what you wanted. At the very least, it’s worthwhile to consult reputable deck builder to find out what a professional job will cost.