Composite decking received bad press some years ago. It’s fair to say that some early versions of decking did suffer from delamination, warping or splitting. Over the last few years this has been eradicated on all but the lowest quality decking. The same could be said for any product – buy cheap, buy twice or thrice.
Always check with your decking supplier on the quality of the product. Ask for some customer testimonials; this is usually a good pointer to the quality of the product. Ask when they first started supplying the decking and when were their first products installed. They shouldn’t be afraid to give you this information.
Reports on early composite decking included:
- Fading. No product is truly 100% UV resistant. The sun’s rays are pretty aggressive over the years. The majority of modern decking is resistant to UV although you would expect a tiny colour fade over a 10 year period. The same can be said for timber decking which will be bleached by the sun.
- Staining and mould. Keep your deck clean! Yes, composite decking is far less maintenance intensive than timber decking. However, a good sweep and a wash down will work wonders from season to season. Staining can occur with any outdoor product when it comes into prolonged contact with rotting vegetation. Read more about maintenance and cleaning here.
- Warping. This occurs in badly or incorrectly installed decking. Always follow the manufacturer’s or supplier’s instructions and don’t skimp on joist or substructure. We have a great section to help you here.
- Composite decking is hot. It depends what you mean here. Yes, it’s a hot product in terms of its amazing design options, value and longevity. If we’re taking about surface temperature then there is a rule of thumb – darker surfaces will be hotter, lighter surfaces won’t heat up as much. All decking, timber or composite will retain heat in the summertime. More here.
- Composite decking retains too much moisture. This was an issue with early decking and should no longer occur. The composite “blend” will be designed to avoid too much moisture being absorbed. That said, there does need to be some moisture in the product otherwise it would end up being totally brittle. Tip: always cap off your decking boards with either skirting trims or the correct end cap designed for your boards.
Generally, the majority of issues with composite decking are born out of bad installation or incorrectly spaced purlins or joist.
99.9% of the early issues with composite decking have now been dealt with and the products have matured into a definite replacement for timber decking. Always follow the supplier’s or manufacturer’s installation guidelines and ensure hollow decking boards are capped off with trims.
The market for composite decking is expanding daily which will benefit you with more colours, more textures, more trim options and better prices. Why not take a look at the following articles (if you haven’t already).