Thirty years in the making, the composite decking trend is gaining momentum. And like any growing trend, it quickly swept up homeowners in the UK. But what’s driving this push away from conventional wood and towards alternative decking board? Let’s briefly look at the main reasons people choose to spend their hard-earned money on a composite deck, rather than settle for traditional wooden deck building.
1. Composite is Synonymous with Low-Maintenance
One major advantage of this popular type of decking board is that it doesn’t need much maintenance. In fact, once installed, it only requires occasional cleaning and touch-ups. Two to four hours spent caring for your composite deck boards each year should suffice.
The same can’t be said for traditional wood decking, which requires regular maintenance work. People should expect to put in 20 to 30 hours of work each year maintaining their hardwood decking tiles. Ideally, homeowners should put aside an hour of their time every other week to clean up the wood boards.
Not only is there less effort involved in maintaining a composite deck building, but it’s also likely to save you time and money over the years. Made of virgin or recycled plastic and wood chips, sawdust, or wood fiber pieces, composite boards don’t need sanding or staining, whereas hardwood boards do.
With composite deck tiles, the most common offenders are mildew and debris. These can easily be wiped off a composite board or sprayed away with leave-on cleaning and restoring solutions. Composite decking board cleaners are affordable and easy to come by, and applying them is a quick and easy DIY job.
With hardwood boards, on the other hand, stubborn dirt can only be addressed with power washing. The cost of applying paint, preservers, resins, polish, and oils must also be factored in with wood. So, the fuss-free alternative ends up paying for itself in a few years.
2. It Looks Just Like Hardwood
Most of the time, you can’t really tell composite decking board and hardwood decking apart. Composite planks look nearly identical to hardwood. In fact, for all intents and purposes, a composite board is wood – at least partly. Depending on the make and build quality, composite boards can have high wood fiber content.
Unlike the tacky and pliable plastic and aluminum decking boards of yesteryear, composite board materials look natural and maintain their structure and shape over decades. Due to recent design developments, they are now on a par with hardwood in terms of aesthetics and features.
Available in a variety of shapes, colors, and with cutting-edge specifications, these decking materials are easily customized to coordinate with the architecture and style of the house and garden. Hardwood planks simply can’t match this level of versatility.
With little to no effort, composite decks can be styled and fashioned in a way that fits the homeowner’s vision and compliments the décor scheme tastefully. No longer does traditional decking have the edge over composite, where looks are concerned.
3. It Has a Longer Life Span
Composite decking materials are designed to repel water and they fare well in humid conditions. So, British weather is the perfect environment for these hard-wearing and water-resistant planks.
Unlike conventional boards, they’re not prone to cracking, fading, or other types of damage from exposure to the elements. They also don’t warp, bend, or shift, so they don’t need replacing every decade as hardwood decking does.
Good quality decking boards can last upwards of 20 years, and improvements are constantly being made in their design. Care products continue to improve as well, with formulas that are milder on the environment while also increasing the life span of composite boards.
While high-quality composite boards may cost more to install than conventional ones, the longer life span means the return on your investment is greater than for wood decking installations. In real terms, composite plank installations are worth twice as much as a traditional project, simply because they last twice as long.
4. Repairs are the Exception
With any type of wooden flooring or decking, repairs are the norm, not the exception. The opposite is true for composite installations. Being hard-wearing and sturdy, they can be used in a variety of settings with little risk of damage.
They are ideal as an underlay for a hot tub or Jacuzzi. They work remarkably well with pools and ponds, easily handling weight and pressure variations. Even large-scale community and environmental projects use composite boards due to the way they can cope with high humidity levels. And they’re not as slippery as other boards, so there’s little risk of falls and cracks.
By all accounts, composite planks are very resistant to damage and easily repairable. Rotting, warping, splitting, fading, and staining are far less likely to occur. And they’re much cheaper, easier, and faster to correct.
5. It’s More Eco-Friendly
Being made of recycled wood and plastic, composite decks are very eco-friendly and sustainable. Manufacturing these boards over traditional wood planks helps to lower wood and plastic consumption and reduce pollution.
Many composite cladding and decking manufacturers claimed to use recycled HDPE plastic and reclaimed wood that comes from by-products. This wood is originally FSC certified, harvested from sustainably managed forests, and free from illegal logging practices.
Moreover, many composite board manufacturers operate solar and wind-powered facilities and use environment-friendly fuel, further reducing their carbon footprint. While not all manufacturers are able to offer this level of commitment to the environment, improvements are being made every day in the industry that conventional producers simply can’t match.
Improvements like closed-loop manufacturing systems, with off-cuts recycled back into the manufacturing process and cooling water recycled and re-used continuously make this type of product superior in terms of sustainability to wooden boards.
Having been engineered to last longer than standard timber products, composite products help reduce the use of wood, which does not last long and is wasteful. And since they don’t need treating and polishing, no harmful chemicals are used every season to maintain them. Some composite boards can even be recycled by manufacturers after they’ve gone out of fashion.