Setting up a new patio can be pretty exciting, but one thing you need to make sure to get right is selecting the right decking. Nowadays, there are a lot of decking materials that you can choose from but one of the more popular choice is composite decking. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of using composite decking for your patio.
What Do I Need to Know About Composite Decking?
Composite decking is a popular decking choice because of its aesthetic similarity to wood and cheaper cost. Composites are usually made up of wood fibres and recycled plastic, which makes this decking option environmentally friendly. Economically, composites are cheaper than wood decking with an average cost of $4 to $13 per square foot. Although considered durable, composites don’t last as long as wood decking with an average lifespan of 10 to 25 years only.
Although composite decking sounds great on paper, many experts recommend that you still invest in wood decking. This leads us to the question, what are the problems with using composite decking? More importantly, are these problems actually avoidable if other decking options are used?
What are the Pros and Cons of Using Composite Decking?
Using composite decking is like wielding a double-edged sword. On one hand, composites are cheaper and lightweight decking options. If you’re looking for something that won’t break your bank accounts, then one of the first suggestions a contractor might give you would be composite decking. However, it does have its drawbacks as well. Here are things that you should look out for if you decide to invest in composite decking:
A common misconception when it comes to composites is that it won’t develop mould. This is partly because composite decking is usually marketed as moisture-resistant. However, even the most advanced of composites is not immune to moulds. Since composites are water-resistant, the water trapped in the grooves of the deck won’t be absorbed, causing mould to form.
This problem is prevalent among homeowners who opted to use composite decking. What is worse is that in some cases, the mould doesn’t just grow on the surface, but inside the uncapped texture of the material. If you will be setting up a deck in area that tends to get wet a lot or if you live in a humid or wet region, it might be best to find an alternative option for your deck. After all, no one wants to constantly worry about mould, algae, and fungal growth on their decks.
A common complaint among homeowners is that their composite boards swell, shift, shrink, and generally warp randomly. This might be attributed to the fact that composites are made up of different materials, thus making it more sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity as well as sun exposure. Despite having no clear reason as to why the warping happens, the changes in composite decking are more random and dramatic than other decking materials.
Colour Fading and Staining
One of the advantages of choosing composite decking is that you have a significant number of colour options to choose from. However, it might come as a disappointment to most homeowners when they notice these colours fade quickly. When constantly exposed to elements and the sun, the composite nature of these boards makes it especially prone to fading.
Another source of frustration that homeowners might face is how hard it is to remove stains from composite decking. For some reason, composite decking is highly sensitive to materials that could potentially stain them. Tannins from leaves, a spill of wine, and chalk line residue are just some of the elements that are hard to remove.
Because of the mix of plastic and wood components, composite decking isn’t quite as hard as wood boards. Most wood boards won’t easily get damaged or scratched by patio furniture, kid’s toys, BBQ grills, or your pet’s nails, but these things can easily scratch a soft-surfaced composite deck. If you’re lucky, your boards might be reversible composite boards. In which case, you can simply reverse the damaged board. However, for most cases, your only option is to replace the damaged board.
One of the biggest problems that homeowners might face if they have a composite deck is how fast it weakens. Even though high-quality composite boards can last for a long time, composite decking isn’t as durable as wooden boards. On average, composite boards last up to a decade, but at that point the deck itself becomes too springy to walk on properly.
Should I Use Composite Decking?
Composite decking is a cheap option for your patios, balconies, and other deck projects but on average, most decking contractors in Perth would still recommend that you stick to wood decking. However, with the economic price point of composite decking, it still remains to be a viable option for most homeowners. Just make sure to contact a reputable decking contractor who can provide you with high quality composites so that you encounter minimal problems with your new decks.
Green Oasis Landscaping can help you learn more about what you can do to get that perfect backyard! Contact us now and get your perfect patio.