All About Composite Decking – Construction, Pros and Cons, Maintenance, Clearance, FAQs

composite decking boards

Composite decking is among the best garden surfaces. It is a popular alternative to the traditional wood decking that homeowners go for. But if you want to preserve its look and keep it long-lasting, it will require a little bit of maintenance. As a result, you won’t end up with a slippery deck, as well as chipped or rotting boards. Apart from budget and sunlight exposure, there are a few factors you should consider when planning your project.

Table of Contents

What is composite decking?

Composite decking is usually made of wood fibres and plastic materials. Its high quality, no-finishing-work necessity and non-slipperiness make it a great alternative to the classical timber boards. Composite decking is eco-friendly as it is made of recycled wood and plastic.

What are the different types of composite decking?

It comes in various sizes, styles, as well as colour ranges and offers several types you can choose from. Below you will find some brief information about the composite decking types:

  • WPC (wood polymer composite) – A mixture of wood and plastic. It is the perfect solution for homeowners on a budget. WPC resembles natural wooden look. This type does not require frequent maintenance. There is no need to seal or stain the deck annually unlike pressure treated wood.
  • Capped Composite – An innovative low-maintenance option. It is similar to WPC but also has a polymer shell which is water-resistant. That means you can easily clean up any liquid on it without having it to soak into the wood.
  • PVC – A more expensive alternative, entirely made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is easy to clean and maintain as well and does not contain any wood.
  • Plastic-Lumber – Another eco-friendly option for buyers, entirely made of plastic. You can have it made to look like wood with wood grain or leave it smooth without it. It is a weather-resistant alternative and almost maintenance-free.

Cleaning and Maintenance

How to clean your deck

The proper cleaning depends on the condition of your deck. A simple weekly clean up will help you keep it look attractive for longer. Before you proceed to maintenance, you should clean it well. Here is what you should pay attention to:

  • Dirt and debris – Sweep off any dirt and fallen leaves over your deck with a stiff broom or use a leaf blower.
  • Stains, chalk lines and smears of dirt can be easily removed with soap, warm water and a scrubbing brush.
  • You can use deck brightener to clean rust stains and water spots. The product you use should contain oxalic acid to remove the spots well.
  • Use dishwashing detergent to remove oil stains off your deck. Make sure to rinse it off well with hot water. Remember to remove the stains as soon as possible. Note that the more the stain sits on the surface, the more likely it is to soak into the wood.
  • You can remove mould using a specialised deck cleaner. Remember it should not include bleach. This can lighten the surface of your deck.
  • Use a pressure washer to clean your deck. It extracts water under high pressure and removes all the dirt, mildew and mould.
A good tip for each homeowner is never to clean snow and ice off a deck with a shovel, blades or sand. There are other options on the market you can take advantage of instead of such sharp tools. Rock salt or calcium chloride-based “ice-melt” products can be used. Also, make sure the product you buy doesn’t contain any colourants. They can damage your deck by staining it.

How to maintain composite decking?

Composite decking is partially made of wood. This makes it susceptible to fading and discolouration. Weather conditions, direct sunlight and changing temperatures can cause damages to your deck.

Make sure your deck boards are perfectly clean before you proceed with the staining. Please, note that you don’t have to seal your deck. However, some professionals suggest you do so after cleaning. Use a deck stain that fights against UV lights to avoid fading and discolouring. Composite deck stains that contain mildewcides are preferable as they prevent mildew growth.

Maintaining a deck increases its longevity and protects it from harsh weather conditions. Use decking oil to preserve the colour of the boards for longer. It provides protection and durability for a long period of time. Note that decking gaps need to be cleared out at least once a year. This will allow the air to pass through the deck boards and keep them dry.

Protecting your deck against intrusion moisture after clean up is a must. Decking materials are susceptible to mould and mildew growth, especially in high-humidity areas. You should be careful when choosing the right deck cleaning product. Some of them tend to trap the moisture inside the decking boards and cause damage later on.

What tools do you need to maintain a composite decking?

It is a good idea to have several cleaning tools on hand for regular cleaning or emergency cases. Depending on how well your deck is taken care of, the cleanup process may not be difficult. Make sure you have a few things at hand such as:

  • a broom;
  • a sander;
  • a scrubbing brush
  • a pressure washer and attachments for it.

Buying a pressure washer is not necessary. You can book an appointment with our professionals who will bring their own equipment and do the job fast.

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How to build decking foundations

Building a deck on your own might seem like an easy job to do, but it might not be if you are not well prepared. Here is what you should consider before starting your project:

  • First of all, choose your design. Diverse designs and types of decking call for different techniques and construction methods.
  • Plan your project and prepare the location you have chosen to build on. Sunlight, drainage and privacy are factors you should consider.
  • Use professional tools to cut, drill and saw the decking boards in regard with your style.
  • Remember that staying safe is the most important thing to keep in mind. Firmly secure the boards to saw and drill carefully. Wear protective gloves and a dust mask while sanding and applying preserver.
  • Take care of your new garden addition and clean it regularly.

Advantages and Disadvantages

composite decking

The advantages of a composite decking

  • Low maintenance – Composite decking doesn’t need frequent maintenance, unlike traditional wood decking.
  • Weather-resistant – They can withstand harsh weather conditions for years.
  • Longevity.
  • It is made of both recycled wood and plastic.
  • Moisture-resistant.
  • It does not warp or crack.
  • Composite decking boards come in various colours.
  • Price – its low maintenance and long lifespan justify its primary value.

The disadvantages of composite decking

  • Direct sunlight exposure tends to heat up darker decks.
  • Severe scratches are difficult to repair without replacing the deck boards.
  • Harsh chemicals that are used for cleaning can also damage the surface by making it look chalky.
  • Changing the colour is not possible.

Composite decking can be expensive at first but it pays off with time. It requires less maintenance than regular wood. However, it is an excellent addition to any garden. Just like everything else in life, they have both good and bad sides. One thing is for sure – if you want to preserve its nice-looking appearance, it will take some time and effort. Choose the design that fits your needs best and maintains it well.


FAQ


Q: Does composite decking fade?

A: Yes. There are several factors that cause damages to a deck. Bad weather, sunlight exposure and heavy foot traffic play a major role in the fading process of a deck. Dark-coloured decks tend to fade over time due to the impact of UV-lights.

Q: Is composite decking slippery?

A: This question has been asked since the first generation of composite decking. The materials it was made of tended to absorb moisture quite easily. This is what made it slippery. New generations of composite decking have been brought to the next level due to the much-needed quality of being non-slippery.

Q: Solid vs. hollow composite decking – what is the difference?

A: Solid composite decking resembles authentic wood. Its core is covered with a protective wood-like shell. It doesn’t warp or stain and is mould-resistant.

Hollow composite decking is more a budget-friendly option. It gives a less-organic look but you can add some finishing strips and make it look authentic. Unfortunately, they tend to fade, stain and are susceptible to scratches and mould.

Posted in Garden Advice

Last update: October 10, 2018
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