FAQs about Composite Decking

USEFUL INFORMATION

Take some time to do your research and ask questions.

composite decking faqs and help

You’ve decided on composite decking. What and where next? Here you will find some useful FAQs that will help in your decision making process.

It’s worth reading through all these FAQs – there might be something here you hadn’t considered.

composite decking faqs and help

How do I find a good composite decking supplier?

Don’t just fall for sponsored advertising, take a look at organic google results, and check with the company, ask as many questions as you can, see how competent the staff are, and how many boards they have supplied. If the company won’t take the time to answer your questions then move on to the next, after all, you might need some ongoing support and a follow up if you need to solve problems.

Does the composite decking have a guarantee?

Some companies provide a warranty for their decking boards, if a decking product is of a high standard they will usually back that up with a warranty for your peace of mind. Get it in writing! A supplier with excellent customer support won’t be afraid of supplying a warranty.

How many decking boards will I need?

It’s advisable to first work out your square meterage, you can do this by simply measuring the area in metres and multiply the width by the depth. If the area you are decking is not a simple rectangle, then you will need to divide it into ‘rectangles’ and calculate each area individually (illustrated below – turn your phone on its side if you wish to see a larger image).

How much decking do I require

One you have your square meterage it is advisable to seek advice from the supplier of decking so they can work out exactly how much decking you require. This will vary whether you are looking to use offcuts, and dependent on the size of the boards.

For example, on a 150mm x 25mm board, if you multiplied your square meterage by 1.63, this would give you the number of boards to cover the area when using offcuts. If you did not wish to use offcuts, then you would need to purchase additional boards.

Some companies have online decking calculator tools to help you work out the amount of boards required and any additional fixings, joists and accessories required.

The best thing to do is work out the square meterage then contact your supplier.

How much does composite decking cost?

We can’t give you the cost of every single worldwide decking supplier here but composite decking is increasingly popular due to low and competitive pricing – the more we buy the less expensive it becomes. Most companies vary on price so it’s worth shopping around to ensure you receive the best quality board, for the best price. Companies also offer different ranges of boards such as hollow or solid composition. Different lengths, and different styles, all of which can affect the price.

The exact price depends on the type and length of boards that you are looking to order. Most companies have online websites which will allow you to shop around.

Always take delivery costs into account. Most suppliers do charge for this and it can range from a small cost for clips and screws to a much higher fee for delivery of decking boards and trims (they are big and heavy).

What colours do composite decking boards come in?

Composite decking has come a long way in the short time it has been available, colours can now range from the standard brown, light brown, green and grey. To multi-colour boards, which can have a textured finish. Please see our section about composite decking colour and texture here (opens in new tab or window).

  • A Deck of Many Colours

    Composite boards come in a variety of colours, most of which are “traditional” garden colours. However, manufacturers and retailers have come to realise that we don’t just want brown or teak – they now supply grey and charcoal colours – a choice that is much more contemporary.
  • Textured Surface?

    Composite decking is available in a variety of textures and finishes. Generally it will have some form of grain finish. As with decking colour, texture is always a matter of personal taste. Is a grooved finish better for you? It can often add more anti-slip qualities. Do you prefer a more traditional finish that is more like wood?

Boards also have a range of finishes on the top, the standard looking decking, to smooth finishes and some that look like wood.

All composite decking has an attractive finish and because of the composition maintains its “new” looking finish for far longer.

Several decking suppliers offer sample packs. This allows you to view the physical decking boards before purchasing and choose your colour.

Can composite decking boards be painted like Timber?

Reason to install composite decking and replace woodIt is not advisable to paint the composite decking boards, they come with a pre stained and treated colour. If you wish to paint your composite decking it’s advisable to contact the supplier for information on how to do this first.

What is important to note is that composite decking is designed to require very little maintenance so stripping, sanding, staining, painting and varnishing are things of the past with most types of decking.

How long will the texture last?

Foot traffic, dragging heavy objects across the surface, weather exposure, cleaning products, and the frequency of cleaning (especially with commercial pressure washers, which are not recommended) can all affect decking products’ finish. To ensure you maintain your decking, refer to the supplier’s aftercare manual. In general you should use their recommended cleaning products although universal composite decking cleaners are fine to use (always read the instructions first).

Is composite decking slippery?

Composite decking boards usually have an anti-slip, or grooved top layer which will cause minimal slippage even when wet. Check with the decking supplier that the boards you purchase are slip resistant even when wet. Tip: clean your deck from season to season and always remove rotting or decaying vegetation to maintain a slip free deck.

How will I know what the decking will look like once laid?

Only you can really imagine how your project will look once finished, however the internet is full of decking ideas, and finished designs. Take a look at our inspiration page and style section to find out more.

INSPIRATION

Why not browse our Inspiration section – you might get some great ideas.

Sites such as Pinterest and Facebook usually have a wide range of projects to look through. Its always worth checking out a company’s social media sites, to see what their customers have done with the decking.

Tip: One simple bit of advice is to “follow your heart”. Make sure you feel comfortable with your colour selection. You like green for example and choose grey instead. Always think carefully about this because once your decking is installed it could be with you for a long time (especially because composite decking lasts a lot longer than timber). Order sample packs from your chosen retailer and even consider paying to obtain some larger samples, say 70cm long so you can really get a feel for colour and texture. If your order is large then you might even be able to negotiate free samples if your supplier is close by.

How do I install the decking?

Please refer to our installation page here. We also have some recommendations for tools you will need for composite decking installation and building. Also, take a look at our planning section – worth a read if you are looking to build a big or raised deck. All links open in a new tab or window.

Which way should the boards run?

The boards should run opposite to the purlins or joists underneath. When walking out from the house it could be beneficial to have the boards running horizontally to encourage maximum grip. However, this is just personal choice.

Boards can run whichever way you choose, it’s worth discussing this with your fitter and taking into consideration the aesthetics of the build. If you’re installing yourself then it’s often best to keep things a little simpler – maybe use alternating board colours or contrasting trims. More inspiration here.

How far apart should I space my decking boards?

It is recommended that a gap of at least 7mm is maintained between the sides of adjacent boards to allow for drainage and expansion due to increases in temperature. The use of fixings can ensure these gaps are maintained.

It is advisable to have 8mm gaps at butt joints, where the ends of two boards meet, and a gap of 10mm to 15mm between the edges of boards and objects such as walls should also be observed for the same reasons.

The maximum recommended space between joist rows depends on the angle at which you intend to lay your boards in relation to the joists, but should never exceed 40cm.

Find out more in our installation section (opens in a new tab or window).

Which tools should I use to install the decking?

There are no specialist tools required. The decking can be installed using the same tools you would use to install timber decking. You can utilise power tools to make installation quicker and a little easier although experience with these tools is recommended. Safety equipment is also very important and the basic kit should be purchased before working on composite decking.

Please see our comprehensive tools section for further information.

Safety glasses for deck installation
Tape measure
Fine tooth saw for cutting composite decking
Pencil and Sharpie
  • We are very experienced and knowledgeable in the area of composite decking. However, certain manufacturers may offer alternative advice or information about their decking and services. We advise that you follow this information and adhere to the retailers or manufacturers guidelines – this may be part of your warranty.

  • Many thanks to Cladco Composite Decking for the deck spacing illustrations on this page.