Advantages of Composite Decking

Summer is here, which means we’ll all be spending far more time outdoors. Many homeowners will see the warmer weather as the perfect opportunity to start constructing a deck in their garden; a place where they can relax and enjoy the sunshine.

A wide variety of decking materials are available today, with timber decking being the most widely used. However, in recent years a challenger has appeared, growing massively in popularity up and down the country.

Composite decking is a relatively new decking material that offers a series of advantages and benefits over wooden decking. Made from an innovative mixture of plastic and wood, composite decking is not only more affordable, but it requires far less maintenance than its timber counterpart.

There are many more benefits to composite decking which help it stand out, and we’re going to explore some of the key advantages below. Read on to discover why composite decking might just be the ideal choice for you.

What is Composite Decking?

Composite decking boards

Composite decking combines wood fibres with a plastic bonding agent to offer homeowners unrivalled strength and durability. What’s more, composite decking is designed to be aesthetically pleasing, recreating the coveted appearance of classic wooden decking while eliminating many of the issues you can experience laying and maintaining timber decking. This makes composite decking a far more affordable, straightforward option when considering decking.

The mix of plastic and wood also makes composite decking far more cost-effective given the lower maintenance requirements and less hazards arising from gradual wear, while still allowing for high-quality, bespoke designs from a variety of brands.

What is the Lifespan of Composite Decking?

One of the many advantages of decking is its incredible lifespan when compared to traditional timber. What’s more, composite decking requires very little maintenance across its lifespan, lasting up to 50 years without any major repairs or rebuilds required. All you’ll need to do is clean off any dirt or debris a few times a year to keep your composite decking healthy and performing at its best.

The exact lifespan of composite decking can differ from brand to brand, or product to product – as these can all be made from entirely different mixtures and compositions. However, nearly all composite decking can last for several decades without needing continuous care and maintenance.

There are of course, many different factors that play into a composite deck's lifespan, however great or small. Levels of use and extremities of weather are important to bear in mind when estimating a deck lifespan, though the durability of composite when compared to other alternatives means that it tends to withstand such wear exceptionally well.

Is Composite Decking Expensive?

Another reason why homeowners are switching to composite decking is its competitive price. Not only is the initial cost of the materials far lower, but composite decking is far less of a hassle to install, saving on building costs too.

This isn’t taking the aforementioned lack of maintenance into account either. Compared to timber decking, you’ll be saving a fortune year-on-year in both time and money. This is because composite decks don’t need to be treated, sanded, or repainted regularly to stay looking their best.

Many homeowners fear that they’ll be missing out on the unique appearance of natural timber when opting for composite decking. However, this is no longer the case. Thanks to innovative manufacturing processes and technologies, composite decks are becoming greater value for money for their strength, reliability and aesthetics.

Installing Composite Decking

Composite decking sitting area with cushions

How to Fit Composite Decking

It couldn’t be easier to fit composite decking into your garden. Much of the hassle associated with laying down timber decking has been eliminated by the clever processes used to create composite deck boards. You just need the appropriate number of boards for your space, along with a few accessories such as joists and corner trims. Be sure to lift the decking off the ground so that air can circulate. You can do this with either joists or a base made of timber or concrete. Then fix the decking boards and flashings into place using screws and sealants as appropriate.

Is Composite Decking Easier to Install?

More often than not, composite decks come in the form of ‘kits’. These kits usually contain all of the components required to build a section of your new deck. This could be an end post, balustrade, joist or another element. Sometimes, every component needed to make an entire deck can be ordered.

This often considerably streamlines the construction process, making it easier to plan and carry out the work with far less time spent and fewer specialist tools required. This isn’t to say that composite decks have fewer accessories on offer - many brands offer plenty of different additions to your deck, from end caps to fixings.

On top of this, many manufacturers of composite decking offer incredibly helpful and easily accessible installation guides for their products. As composite deck creators usually offer all the required components to create a complete system, you can be sure you are getting the correct materials for your project.

Are Composite Decks Safe?

A composite deck is just as safe as a well looked after timber deck. However, it requires far less care, and therefore it’s much easier to ensure your composite deck is in a safe condition for your family, including pets and even young children. Composite decking will not splinter and is far less susceptible to warping or changing shape in extreme temperatures.

There are also special composite decks that emphasise slip-resistance and fire-resistance available to purchase, as well as a number of accessories which can help to keep your deck safe during extreme weather conditions like ice or snow.

All of these available safety options for composite decking make it the perfect option for households with children and pets, as there is a much lower risk of injury present than with alternatives.

Please note, however, that taking precautions is still important on any outdoor surface, as is cleaning, which will be necessary to keep your decking safe and secure.

Are Composite Decks Better for the Environment?

Composite decked balcony

While most decks are made from wood, which is a fully natural material, composite decking utilises a great deal of plastic. Plastic production and disposal is generally seen to have severe effects on the environment, which may well put many off the idea of composite decking. However, many manufacturers have put excellent measures in place to ensure minimal environmental impact.

For example, many manufacturers use a great deal of recycled plastic when creating their composite decking. Incorporating existing plastic into the process instead of creating more significantly reduces carbon emissions and the strain on waste streams.

What’s more, many composite decks are actually recyclable, making disposing of them at the end of their life a far more environmentally-friendly process. As long as you dispose of them correctly! Many of the creators of composite decking cleaning products have also taken similar measures to limit the environmental impact of their products.

How does Composite Decking Look?

The outstanding visual appeal of composite decking cannot be understated. While many will argue that the finished product does not have the unique quality of natural timber, it can’t be said that composite decking doesn’t look just as good. What’s more, thanks to the ever-improving manufacturing processes and technologies, composite decking is improving in all areas constantly, with decks available today looking much better than just a few years ago.

While timber decking is usually painted in your desired colour, composite decking is often coloured during manufacturing. Not only does this mean the colour will be far longer lasting, it will also need much less maintenance during its lifespan.

Is Composite Decking for Me?

We hope our blog has answered your questions and you now have a clearer picture of the many advantages of composite decking. If you’re looking for decking that boasts a competitive initial cost, straightforward installation, reliability and minimal ongoing maintenance – composite is for you.

If you’ve got any more questions about our range of composite decking or anything else, feel free to get in touch with our customer service team. They’re available via online live chat right here on our website, or via telephone on 01295 565565. With over 40 years’ experience in all things DIY and roofing, they’re sure to be able to help.