Composite decking has become a significant alternative to traditional timber decking and it is becoming ever increasingly popular. Using composite materials results in a decking board that is far harder wearing and which requires little maintenance, benefits which for many people far outweigh a slightly greater initial financial outlay.
What are composite deck boards?
The composite material used for non-timber decking is manufactured from a mixture of wood fibres and polymers. These materials can already have been re-cycled and when this is the case there is a significant eco-friendly element to the manufacturing process. The wood fibres and polymers are mixed to produce a substance that can be formed into what look like traditional deck boards.
This type of decking comes in two types: capped and uncapped. Capped boards have an additional coating bonded to the core of the material; uncapped does not. The former offers even more protection and harder wearing properties to the product. Whether capped or uncapped, composite boards come in a variety of finishes and colours which can range from a traditional timber appearance to a more contemporary one. UV filters are often added to aid resistance to colour deterioration due to exposure to light.
The benefits of using composite boards
The most immediately noticeable advantage of choosing composite over traditional timber boards is their durability and low-maintenance requirements. Some of these advantages are:
- greater resistance to mould, fungus and infestation
- no need for painting, varnishing or sealing
- greater resistance to staining and scratching
- greater resistance to damage caused by changes and extremes of weather
- easy to clean
- can be worked the same as timber boards with no need for special tools
What all of the above suggest is that composite boards will out-perform timber and give longer life with less care and maintenance requirements. Whereas timber boards must be protected with paint and varnish to aid resistance to the weather and other threats, composite boards require no such maintenance. Composite material possesses greater resistance to damage from mould, fungus and infestation than timber. Keeping composite boards clean requires no special chemicals and debris and spills can be swept and wiped away.
Getting the best deal
There are many composite decking suppliers around, so competition drives sales and discounts. There are bargains to be had so it pays to shop around and press for a good deal.
Composite decking offers a wide range of styles, finishes and colours to suit every project. Composite deck boards are more hard-wearing, require less maintenance and are easier to keep clean. They can be purchased with special features such as non-slip surfacing and can be worked in the same way as timber boards. Although the initial cost can be slightly higher than traditional timber boards, the longer life and lower levels of maintenance will more than compensate for any extra cost in the long run. Another positive about choosing composite boards is that they are often made from re-cycled materials, which makes them an eco-friendly alternative to traditional timber boards.