Pros and Cons of Composite Decking Material

Peterborough Deck

Enter any home improvement store in Peterborough, and near the lumber section you will see planks that resemble wood but feature a label identifying the planks as “composite.” While they are manufactured to mimic the look and feel of real wood, composite decking materials are made mostly from synthetics. So the question that many people ask when building their Peterborough deck is what the benefits or advantages are to composite decking material. We asked some Peterborough Deck builders their thoughts and found some good advice.

Composite products have become extremely popular recently, in regards to decking. The major myth right now is that Composite means “no maintenance.”

Like any major home purchase, decking materials vary in looks, durability and cost. Also known as wood-polymer composites, wood alternatives or synthetic decking, composite has quickly become the fastest-growing decking material for residential use in the past dozen years. Composite decking is an environmentally friendly lumber alternative that combines plastic and wood fiber.

The Pros:

  • Composite is weather and strain resistant. ¬†Composites come in many different shades and they are already coated so you do not have to spend the time staining your deck.
  • Composite is light weight.
  • Composite does not rot. It has fewer issues with rotting and termites. Due to the plastic that is coupled in with the wood fibers you do not have to be as concerned with termites or eventual rot.
  • Many Composites have a hidden fastener system so there are no screws or nails to get snagged on. Also the surface is pristine.
  • It needs no or little maintenance.
  • Composites have a great and long lasting durability, no splintering or excessive scratching.

However, composites are not perfect, and there are a few things you need to keep in mind before spending the money on such an expensive product.

The Cons:

  • ¬†Composites seem to attract biological growth, so you have to make sure you clean them every few months.
  • If you do decide to paint your composite products you will have to do so annually because eventually due to the plastic within the boards it does not adhere as well.
  • Composite is not structural so you have to make sure you use treated lumber for all your structural pieces.
  • Composite will follow where the structure leads. With composite you have to be more aware of the substructure of your deck or dock. If it is a little off plumb, or settles uneven the boards will eventually warp into that pattern.

Composite decking presents a number of pros and cons to homeowners, covering everything from maintenance to budget, appearance and availability. Consider each composite manufacturer individually before making up your mind, and be sure to think about how the final deck design will appear in pressure treated wood, cedar wood or your preferred brand of composite decking.

With composites it is always smart to consult a contractor before applying the product yourself. Better yet, hire a Peterborough decks builder or specialist to take care of the entire project for you. Although usually easy to install, it is not the same installation as a traditional deck. You do have to pre-drill most of the boards if face fastening, you have to gap them properly and give proper ventilation. With a contractor you can advise of your design and they can help you reach a plan that will give you what you want while assuring that the composite product will perform beautifully.

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