Composite decking has grown in popularity thanks to its durability, low-maintenance requirements, and natural wood-like appearance. Made from a blend of recycled wood fibers and plastic resins, composite deck boards provide an attractive, splinter-free alternative to traditional wooden decks. In this blog, we’ll look at how composite decking is made, its advantages over wood, drawbacks to consider, cost breakdown, best practices for installation and care, and how to choose the right product for your decking project.
What is Composite Decking?
Composite decking consists of wood fibers (usually reclaimed wood and sawdust) combined with recycled plastic polymers. The wood fibers give the decking rigidity and the look of natural grain patterns while the plastic resins provide protection from moisture, fading, and staining. Advanced manufacturing techniques mold the mixture into interlocking deck boards.
Benefits of Composite Decking
There are many benefits that make composite decking an appealing deck material:
- Requires no staining, sealing, or frequent refinishing like wood
- Resists cracking, splintering, insect damage and rotting
- Lasts decades with proper installation and care
- Low-maintenance and easy soap and water cleaning
- Cooler feel underfoot than full plastic or wood
- Manufactured in a wide variety of colors and styles
- No risk of warping or deformation like natural wood
- Qualifies for green building certification standards
- Covered by long warranties, up to 25 years
Composite brings together the pros of wood and plastic for superior performance.
Potential Drawbacks to Consider
Composite does have some downsides:
- Generally costs more upfront than pressure-treated pine
- Limited number of size, thickness, and length options
- Prone to some fading and discoloration over time
- Acrylic capped composites can scratch more easily than wood
- Not suitable for structural framing members
- Higher expansion and contraction than wood
Proper product selection and installation minimizes most of these drawbacks for a long-lasting deck.
Expect to pay:
- $2-$4 per linear foot for basic composite boards
- $4-$9 per linear foot for premium composite
- $2-$5 per square foot for installation
Composite initially costs more than pine but requires far less lifetime maintenance.
Installation and Maintenance Best Practices
Follow these guidelines to maximize your composite deck’s lifespan:
- Allow boards to acclimate to the installation environment before construction.
- Use hidden or color-matched composite decking screws.
- Follow gapping guidelines based on expected expansion/contraction.
- Routinely clean with composite deck cleaners instead of bleach or abrasives.
- Periodically restore the surface with composite sealing products.
- Reapply sealant every 1-2 years depending on traffic and sun exposure.
Proper installation and care lead to decades of low-maintenance enjoyment.
How to Choose the Right Composite Product
When selecting composite boards:
- Decide on a style that fits your budget – good, better, best.
- Consider the amount of variation in graining and color tones preferred.
- Choose a width, length, and thickness suited for the deck design.
- Look for capped composites if scratches are a big concern.
- Verify the boards meet all required building codes.
- Review the manufacturer’s performance ratings and warranties.
- Request free samples to see products firsthand during decision process.
Do your homework to find the ideal composite for your specific project.
Thanks to innovations in manufacturing, composite decking marries the coveted look and feel of natural wood with the durability and stain-resistance of plastic. When chosen and installed properly, a composite deck requires very little upkeep while providing decades of enjoyment with no splintering, cracking, or discoloration. Although composite costs a bit more initially than pressure-treated lumber, its long life with minimal maintenance provides great return on investment in terms of beauty and reliability. Your outdoor living space will look better than ever with fiberon decking.
Additionally, composite decking is an environmentally conscious choice, as it reduces the need for harvesting natural wood, minimizing deforestation. Its sustainable, eco-friendly features align with the growing trend of responsible and green living. Enjoy the peace of mind that your beautiful outdoor space also contributes to a healthier planet.
Furthermore, the extensive range of styles, colors, and finishes available with composite decking allows you to personalize your outdoor oasis, ensuring it complements your unique aesthetic preferences and seamlessly integrates into your home’s architecture.