Admittedly a bit of a tall order alone, but we all need to do our bit of collective responsibility. Ok, end of the save the planet speech but it is comforting to know that installing a composite deck system over the traditional wood boards can play its part. If you are considering adding an outdoor space to your home, understanding your available options will save a considerable sum of money in the long run.
There are several products on the market today that can help you create the outside space you’ve always wanted. Composite decking is one of the most popular decking products available due to its longevity and durability when compared to a traditional wood deck. For many customers, the biggest questions are, what materials are in a composite deck and why does it last so much longer?
Composite is made up of a mix of recycled wood and plastic. The wood particles can be anything from sawdust, wood chips, and wood fibre pieces. The plastic components can be either virgin or recycled plastic materials. Thus the use of recycled or recovered materials in the composite decks are considered a more environmentally friendly product for deck building.
There are two main processes for creating composite decking. One process is extrusion.
This is defined as a forming process in which the raw materials of recycled wood chip and plastic resin are mixed and extruded [forced] through a machine rather like the process of making steel to produce a product that maintains a consistent size and shape, this process solidifies the shape and desired dimensions.
The second process is called compression moulding.
This takes the raw materials and compresses them under extream heat and pressure to create a physical bond. You will notice that composite boards are much heavier than the equivalently sized wood boards due to this compression method, making the composite boards extremely strong and hard wearing. To compensate for this added weight most composite deck are hollow profile, which maintains the strength but drastically reduces the weight.
Extrusion usually produces the hollow lighter board and compression the solid heavier board, both are extremely strong and durable. We find the extruded boards are generally the preferred option, particularly when the price is taken into account.
Composite has a lot of the same characteristics of wood, but none of the disadvantages. The outer shell is a coloured resin finish which totally encloses the recycled wood inner, giving it a textured waterproof shell, this colour will never fade, never needs painting or oiling and is impervious, to stains, rot, fungi and the dreaded warping and splintering so often seen on traditional wood boards.
When you are looking to keep your outdoor space as low maintenance as possible nothing fits the bill more than composite decking alongside a suitable artificial grass lawn to create a beautiful place to relax and enjoy life without the hassle.
Pro`s – Environment friendly -Strong -Hardwearing – Water resistant – Anti rot / fungal – None slip – None scratch – None warp
Con`s – Price [approximately twice the cost of wood boards ]
Verdict – Higher initial cost of boards although installation and subframe construction will be about the same cost. Once the life of the boards is taken into account the composites comes into its own. The composite only requiring the minimal cleaning with soapy water over its life span in excess of 15 -20 years, while the wood boards will require constant annual maintenance to prevent rot and fungal build up. The application of a good quality oil or deck paint to seal the grain to prevent water absorption.