Hardwood has always been the best material used in decking construction. Not until the late 1990’s when composite decking has been introduced.
Many were skeptical about composite decking at first because they weren’t sure of the material’s durability. But after homeowners’ proved its durability and enjoyed its low maintenance features, composite decking slowly become the best alternative to wood decking.
When you start shopping for your composite decking project, it’s recommended to read all the important specifications. This is to ensure you will get the best composite decking material and price deal.
How it’s made?
The conventional type is composed of plastic and wood materials. But as technology evolved, new materials are being mixed to make it more efficient and durable. The common materials that have been added are the following:
Wood-plastic composite is composed of wood particles and thermosoftening plastic. There are several types of thermosoftening plastic materials, but the two types that are normally used in Australia are polyvinyl chloride and high-density polyethylene. The polyvinyl chlorides are UV and fire resistant. While, high-density polyethylene is fire, moisture, and chemical resistant.
Wood-plastic composite is made by grounding the wood particles and heating the thermoplastic resin. Extrusion or moulding will be the next step alongside with the addition of binders and preservatives. This is to ensure that the material will be intact.
The main advantages of the wood-plastic composite are it does not corrode and is resistant to decay and rot.
Another material added is the Capped Wood Composite. The interior of this is composed of wood and plastic; while the exterior is purely plastic. This is being made by the same process as the wood-plastic composite. The only difference it has over wood-plastic composite is there is an additional process – the addition of polymer protective cap applied on all its’ sides and groove. The ‘cap’ includes mold inhibitors, anti-oxidants, and UV inhibitors that help the capped wood composite last longer.
There are some manufacturers that even use a new technology called coextrusion.
Extremely durable is how manufacturers describe the composite decking. This is because composite decking was equipped with resistance against mold, mildew, abrasion, stains, and damage from termites and rot.
Composite Decking Colours
Colours have a huge impact on the overall outcome of any decking project as this will ensure you will get the decking design you want. This is one good advantage of composite decking versus other decking materials as it has a good selection of colours.
Every manufacturer has their own version of composite decking materials. Some offer light to mid-tone browns, beige and red, dark browns and grey. But there are also some who offer chocolate, walnut, saltbush, and mahogany colour.
One of the good reasons why homeowners fall in love with composite decking is because it is low-maintenance. Since this is resistant to natural elements and wear and tear there’s no need for regular application of protective treatment. The only thing you need to do is clean it by wiping or spraying the dust with water from the surface.
When it’s showing signs of fading or ageing, that’s the only time you need to apply treatments.
The installation methods will depend on the composite decking boards that you purchased. Though the process is almost the same with conventional decking, composite decking is still best to be performed by a professional deck contractor. This is because there is proper handling of the composite decking boards.
One good example of this is, some of the boards have the tendency to expand or shrink down when exposed to different temperatures. Also, composite decking installation involves lots of special crews, beam construction, and fixing systems. This makes the installation process a bit complex.
For composite decking, most manufacturers offer 25 to 30-year warranty for each board items. This is to ensure that if the composite decking board doesn’t commit to the manufacturer’s guarantee, they will cover any repairs or replacement.
But this is not always the case, so, it’s ideal to read the terms and conditions for you to be aware of the coverage.
Composite decking are not all good, it also has some disadvantages:
- Slippery When Wet
Most composite decking boards have a smooth and fine texture. This can be a problem during rainy or cold weather as it can be slippery to walk on. The best thing to solve this is by applying anti-slip protection on the surface to avoid having accidents.
- Decking Gets Hot
Since composite decking board is not a natural heat absorber, its surface can get very hot during summer or with direct sunlight. To solve this, you can either build a shade on it or choose a light-coloured composite decking board. This is because a light-coloured composite decking board can absorb more heat, unlike the darker shade.
- Learn about Building Codes
If you are renting or learning about the building code is a must! This is because not all local buildings allows a composite material for deck construction. To avoid fines or other possible punishment, it’s best to always consult your local inspection office.
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