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Specialist in all aspects of Concrete Waterproofing,  Basement Tanking and Roofing Repairs. 

"Why Composite Decking is a Smart Choice for Your Outdoor Space"

Updated: Mar 26

Composite decking is a durable, low-maintenance alternative to traditional wood decking. It combines wood fibers and plastic to create planks with a lasting appeal.


Worker setting up a composite decking board on a patio.

Composite decking marks a significant milestone in outdoor living. It offers homeowners a mix of looks and usefulness. Its construction resists rot, decay, and insects, ensuring your deck looks great for years with little upkeep.

Unlike wood, composite materials don't need staining, sealing, or painting, which allows more time for fun on your deck. Composite decking comes in many colors and textures. It looks like natural wood but does not have the maintenance challenges of wood. It's made for those who value both beauty and practicality. Composite decking is a sound investment. It increases the value and enjoyment of your outdoor space.


What Is Composite Decking?

Composite decking is a modern decking material for outdoor living spaces. It blends durable synthetics with natural wood fibers. This creates a board that requires less maintenance than traditional wood decks. Homeowners choose composite decking for its longevity and resemblance to real wood.


Composition

The composite decking core consists of a mix of wood fibers and recycled plastics. Manufacturers then cover this core with a protective cap, which shields the board from moisture, UV rays, and daily wear.

Components of Composite Decking:

  • Wood Fibers: Provide a natural look and strength.

  • Recycled Plastics: Contribute to durability and resistance to elements.

  • Protective Cap: Offers extra protection and reduces maintenance needs.


Benefits

Feature

Benefit

Low Maintenance

Does not need regular painting, staining, or sealing.

Durability

Resists fading, staining, scratching, and mold growth.

Longevity

Lasts longer than traditional wood decks with minimal upkeep.

Eco-friendly

Made from recycled materials and preserves forests.

Beauty

Mimics the look of real wood and comes in various colors and textures.

Safety

Splinter-free and slip-resistant, making it safe for all ages.

By investing in composite decking, you gain a beautiful outdoor area that withstands the test of time. Families enjoy more outdoor activities without the hassle of constant deck maintenance.


A man installing a deck with a cordless drill on composite decking.

Different Types Of Composite Decking

Are you excited about giving your outdoor space a makeover? Composite decking provides a durable and attractive option for creating the perfect deck. But did you know it comes in different types? Today, we explore the two prime categories: capped and uncapped composite decking. Both guarantee longevity and beauty but have distinct features to suit diverse needs.

Capped Composite Decking

Capped composite decking boasts an extra layer of protection. A polymer sleeve encases the board, superiorly resisting moisture, stains, and scratches. Let's take a closer look:

  • Weather Resistance: The outer shell ensures the boards withstand harsh elements.

  • Maintenance: Simple cleaning routines are enough, no staining or sealing is required.

  • Longevity: This type tends to last longer, making it a wise investment.

  • Variety: Offers a wide array of colours and finishes, closely mimicking natural wood.

Uncapped Composite Decking

Let's shift our focus to uncapped composite decking. Without the protective outer shell, it presents a different set of characteristics:

  • Natural Look: Closer in appearance to traditional wood, beauty in its raw form.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Generally more affordable than its capped counterpart.

  • Breathability: The  Absence of the cap allows the material to breathe, preventing overheating.

  • Eco-Friendly: Often made from recycled materials, this choice is kind to the planet.

Boldly equip your outdoor area with the right composite decking choice. Consider your preference, budget, and the specific requirements of your space.


Man installing composite decking board on wooden deck.

Installation Process

Are you thinking about installing composite decking now? This guide breaks down the steps to transform your outdoor space! With the right tools and a bit of know-how, creating a stunning deck is within reach. Let's dive into the installation process.


Surface Preparation

  • Clear the area where the deck will go, removing any debris or plants.

  • Ensure the ground is level and stable to avoid future issues.

  • Add a weed barrier if needed to keep your deck clear from unwanted growth.

A man securely fastening a table to a wooden deck using a drill. The deck is made of composite decking material.

Framing

Structural integrity starts with robust framing. Here's how to set a solid foundation:

  1. Construct the outer frame using treated lumber for longevity.

  2. Install joists within the frame at 16-inch intervals, securing them with joist hangers.

  3. Double-check measurements to ensure everything is square and aligned.

A man constructing a deck with wooden boards, using composite decking material.

Board Installation

With the frame ready, it's time to lay down the decking boards:

  • Begin with the outermost boards, which will border the frame. Make sure they are straight.

  • Secure boards using specific composite decking fasteners for a clean finish.

  • Spacing is critical; leaving a small gap between boards allows for expansion and drainage.


Maintenance And Cleaning

Composite decking offers a balance of beauty and resilience. Like any valued outdoor feature, it requires care. Proper maintenance ensures it remains stunning and lasts longer. This section outlines straightforward methods for preserving your composite deck.


Regular Cleaning

A bird perched on a composite wooden deck, showcasing the beauty of composite decking.
  • Begin with sweeping to remove dirt and debris. Focus on gaps where matter accumulates.

  • Mix mild soap with warm water. Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the surface gently.

  • For rinsing, a garden hose proves sufficient. Avoid power washers that can damage your deck.

Stain And Mold Removal

Type of Stain

Cleaning Solution

Grease or Oil

Commercial degreaser & cloth

Mold & Mildew

1 part vinegar with 3 parts water

Wine or Berries

Baking soda paste & soft scrub

Apply the solution. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Gently scrub and rinse.


Protection And Longevity

  1. Place mats under the grill and furniture to prevent scratches and scuffs.

  2. Ensure proper ventilation and drainage to avoid mold growth.

  3. Trim nearby bushes and trees to reduce shade, keeping the deck dry and mold-free.

  4. Use a sealant designed for composite decking every few years to enhance protection.

Remember, consistent care retains your deck's charm and prevents costly repairs.


Comparing Composite Decking To Wood

Homeowners often face a choice between composite decking and wood. Both have pros and cons. Let's explore how composite decking is stacked against traditional wood in key areas. We'll look at durability, color retention, and resistance to rot and insects.

Durability

Composite decking wins in durability. It's made to last. Wooden decks may crack and splinter over time. Composite materials hold up better under the sun and rain. The weather breaks them down slower than it does wood.

Feature

Composite Decking

Wood

Lifespan

25-30 years

10-15 years

Maintenance

Low maintenance

High maintenance

Colour Retention

  • Composite decks maintain their colour. Sunlight and weather may fade wood, but composite decks stay vibrant.

  • There is no need for staining or painting with composites.

Resistance To Rot And Insects

  1. Composite decking is resistant to rot. Moist environments won't break it down as they can with wood.

  2. Insects don't eat composite materials. Wood can fall prey to termites and other pests.


Cost Analysis

Understanding the cost of composite decking is vital when planning your outdoor living space. It involves examining both initial investment and ongoing expenses. This 'Cost Analysis' aims to provide clear insights into what you can expect to spend.

Upfront Costs

Composite decking has various price points upfront. Materials, design, and installation influence these costs.


Cost Impact

Material Quality

Higher-quality composites cost more.

Deck Size

Larger decks require more materials.

Extra Features

Railings, stairs, and patterns add to the cost.

Do-it-yourself projects can save on labuor. Yet, professionals ensure durability and safety, which is essential.

Long-term Costs

The long-term value of composite decking shines over time. It requires less maintenance than traditional wood.

  • No need for yearly staining or sealing

  • Resistant to rot, insects, and weather damage

  • Long lifespan, often with warranties of up to 25 years

Over the years, these factors translate into savings. They offset the initial higher cost of composites.


Environmental Impact

Thinking about the planet guides us in our choices, even when choosing deck materials.

Sustainable Materials

Composite decking has a big plus: it's kind to our earth.

It blends recycled wood with plastic, so trees get to keep growing.

  • Fewer trees cut down: This means more forests stay standing.

  • Uses waste: It turns wood leftovers and plastic into something great.

  • Saves water: Unlike wood, it doesn't need stains or sealants.

Recyclability

The story doesn't end when your deck does. Composite decks can be recycled again.

This creates less waste for landfills.

Feature

Environmental Benefit

Made from recycled materials

Reduces waste in the environment

Can be recycled after use

Keeps materials in use and out of landfills

Companies now innovate for better recyclability. This makes composite decking a smart environmental pick.


Choosing The Right Composite Decking

Embracing the composite decking revolution means making informed choices. A deck adds value to a home and provides a space to relax. But the right composite decking makes all the difference. With a range of options available, select one that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Budget

Cost is crucial in any home improvement project. Composite decking is a smart investment, and prices vary based on quality, size, and features.

  • Entry-level options offer affordability but might need more features.

  • High-end composites come with advanced properties like enhanced colour and superior durability.

Decking Type

Average Cost

Basic Composite

£25-35 per sq. ft.

Premium Composite

£35-45 per sq. ft.

Aesthetics

Composite decking comes in many colours and finishes. It can mimic natural wood or offer bold, modern hues.

Textures vary from smooth to deep wood grain. To ensure cohesion, consider the home's exterior and landscaping when selecting. Samples help envision the final look.

Different brands provide unique shades and patterns. Some popular options include:

  • Walnut

  • Driftwood

  • Grey Birch


Warranty

Warranties showcase manufacturer confidence in a product. They vary significantly across composite decking brands.

Some warranties cover:

  1. Fading and staining for several years

  2. Material defects, ensuring replacement if needed

  3. Durability against certain environmental factors

Check the warranty details before purchasing. Extended warranties often signal higher quality but may impact the overall cost.


Tips For Maintaining A Composite Deck

Composite decking combines the best of both worlds in outdoor living — the natural beauty of wood and the low maintenance of synthetic materials. Here are a few essential care steps to keep it looking fresh and ensure it lasts for years.

Regular Inspection

A periodic check can prevent minor issues from turning into big repairs. Look for any signs of damage. Simple steps can keep the deck in excellent shape. Check for loose boards and railings. Ensure the structure's integrity.

Preventing Stains

Spills can happen, but quick action prevents stains. Use a gentle cleaner to tackle messes. Avoid using harsh chemicals. They can damage the deck's surface.

  • Act fast: clean spills right away.

  • Soft brush: for scrubbing away marks.

  • Regular cleaning: makes upkeep easier.


Avoiding Damages

Keeping your deck damage-free requires smart practices. Use furniture pads to prevent scratches. Limit the use of metal shovels for snow removal. They can gouge the decking.

Do

Don't

Use protective mats under BBQs

Drag furniture across the deck

Trim pet's nails to prevent scratches

Use sharp tools that may puncture decking

Most Common Questions About Composite Decking 

What Is Composite Decking Made Of?

Manufacturers make composite decking. They use wood fibers, plastic, and binding agents. The wood fibers often come from recycled materials, like sawdust or wood chips. The plastic can come from recycled plastics, like milk jugs or grocery bags. Mix the materials together. They then mold them into boards. The boards mimic the look of traditional wood decking. But, they are more durable and need less maintenance.

How Long Does Composite Decking Last?

Composite decking lasts 25-30 years. The quality of the material and how well it is maintained determine this. The decking is high-quality. It can endure harsh weather, UV exposure, and heavy foot traffic. It won't fade or deteriorate . Regular cleaning and maintenance can also help extend the lifespan of composite decking.

Can Composite Decking Rot Or Warp?

Designers created composite decking to resist rot and warping. It is better at this than traditional wood decking. This is because composite decking is made from a mix of wood fibers and plastic. This makes it more durable and resistant to moisture. But, composite decking can still rot or warp. This can happen over time, especially if it is not well maintained or installed.

Is Composite Decking Eco-friendly?

One can consider composite decking as eco-friendly. Several reasons compare it to wood decking. One key factor is that composite decking is often made from a mix of recycled materials. These include plastic and wood fibers, cutting the need for new raw materials. This helps to reduce deforestation. It limits the impact of harvesting resources. Additionally, composite decking needs little maintenance. This need is lower than for wood decking. This lowers the need for harmful chemicals and prolongs its lifespan.


IN SUMMARY

Composite decking is a great choice. It is for long-lasting, low-maintenance outdoor spaces. It balances durability, aesthetics, and eco-friendliness, making it a smart investment for homeowners. Embrace composite decking. It will improve your outdoor living with style and substance.

Contact Bell Property Services at bell.asphalt.co@gmail.com or 07921 517860. . Today for Composite decking and the best solutions.


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