Decks are a great place to entertain and to spend some time outdoors at. But, over time, they can deteriorate, especially if they’re made of wood. Because of this, it might be worth checking out composite decking. But, while this option offers plenty of perks, many still have questions about it.
Check out this article if you’re interested in learning more about composite decks. You’ll discover some helpful information, like what it’s made of and how to care for it.
8 Frequent Composite Decking Questions
What is a Composite Deck?
A composite deck features recycled materials. This option comes in either wood or non-wood forms. A wood composite deck contains tight wood fibers that are covered in plastic. It tends to be much heavier than regular wooden planks but doesn’t splinter.
Non-wood options don’t use wood but rather plastic or minerals. This selection can be manufactured in longer pieces than wood composite ones. In addition, because it’s waterproof, these composite materials prevent excessive mildew, fading, insect damage, and other issues that frequently plague regular decks.
Is it Expensive?
Because it uses higher quality materials than a traditional wood deck, composite decking can be a bit pricey. However, it will last you much longer than a wood one which tends to have a lifespan of about ten years.
Contact your local installer if you’d like a composite deck but aren’t sure whether you can afford it. Many deck builders in Hockessin, DE are happy to work around your needs and might even provide a customized payment plan.
Does it Come in Different Styles?
Yes! You’ll find countless design options to choose from. Two of the most obvious are its color and grain. The planks can be made to have a flat finish or etched with grain marks to look like wood beams. They also come in a variety of hues, like gray, terra cotta, black, and white.
You can discuss your design ideas with a contractor who will direct you to the best options based on your home’s needs and design preferences.
How is it Installed?
The installation process for a composite deck is pretty simple. To begin, the layout is measured and marked off. The main joists will then be installed.
After the joists are in place, the builder will begin adding a base, especially if it’s to be flat on the ground. This creates a strong frame to support the deck and contributes to its longevity. In most cases, concrete slabs will be placed beneath it, so the heavy planks stay in place.
The composite pieces will be placed over the joists when the base is complete. These will either be grooved or ungrooved. While it might not seem that one would make much of a difference, there is. Grooved pieces have notches that allow the pieces to stay in place via fasteners. Ungrooved ones require nails to be hammered into their tops to keep them steady. While both are secure, it’s mainly an aesthetic issue, so you’ll want to consider which is best for you.
Once this is done, the builder will add other details, like railings and nail caps. They might also suggest wrapping the bottom of the ground posts in composite pieces, so they blend in.
Are the Planks Hollow or Solid?
Composite boards come in hollow or solid options. The latter is heavier but makes the deck look as if it was made of wooden planks. Hollow planks are lighter and don’t experience thermal expansion as much but are sometimes a bit hard to come by.
Will it Warp?
This option won’t warp, but if not installed correctly, could buckle due to excessive space between its joints.
Because of its materials, you might also notice the deck slightly expanding during hot weather and contracting during the winter. But, again, this is normal, and professionals will leave a few millimeters of space between each plank, so they don’t press against each other.
How Long Does it Last?
Composite decks can last for up to 30 years if correctly maintained. In addition, many companies will provide a warranty which can be anywhere from one to five years. If you have questions about its durability, be sure to contact your desired professional for more information.
How Do I Care For It?
Composite decks don’t require much care except for the occasional wash every few months. While doing so can prevent mold, it mainly enhances the deck’s looks. You can do this simply by spraying a hose over it.
About once a year, though, you’ll want to scrub it down with warm, soapy water. This will remove any mildew and another natural build-up that might make the deck look dirty or discolored. Don’t forget to also get into crevices where other issues can hide.