Are you planning to add a deck to your outdoor space? Or perhaps you want to replace an old one? Perhaps one of the first decisions you have to make is to choose the materials that you will use. For this purpose, you have a few choices. However, in recent years, more people are using wood alternatives, and one of the most popular is composite decking. But the question is, are composites as good as people say? Are there any disadvantages of composite decking?
What are the Down Sides of Composite Decking?
Composites, like any other material, have some disadvantages. Whether they make it less worth using depends on your needs and preference. But what are its drawbacks? Here are some that are the most worth noting.
- Composites are more expensive – One of the many reasons why many often doubt to use composite decking is due to their significantly higher price range. To compare the, a 15-square metre wooden decking will only cost around £1000 to £1500 depending on the quality, whereas composite will cost about £2000 for the same area. Compared to other synthetic decks, however, the price is in similar price ranges. Naturally, these are only rough estimates, and you may find cheaper composites. You will also want to check brand and quality before you commit to buying. But what’s sure is that you will need to set a bigger budget if you want a composite deck.
- Can’t Be Painted – If you are a person who loves redecorating and repainting decks, composites may not be the best for you. Unlike wood, painting a composite deck can do more harm than good. The truth is, many composite manufacturers advise against painting their products. One reason is that most paint won’t adhere to the surface of most composite boards. For paint to stick, you will need to sand the boards. Doing so, however, will damage the capping, which removes all its protection from moisture and moulds. Sanded and painted composite decks are also no different to wood decks, as you will have to paint and seal it to protect it. Overall, it is not worth painting WPC decks, unless you really have to due to excessive painting or old age.
- Composite Decking May Get Hot – Because composites have plastic fibres, they can get hotter faster than wooden decks. For this reason, you may want to prepare deck cooling methods if you do prefer to use composites. You can use rugs, carpets, shades, umbrellas, and fans to cool your deck. Compared to pure plastic decking, however, composites are much more heat-resistant. PVC decks tend to warp due to high temperatures, whereas composite decks retain its shape better.
- Composites May Become Slippery – As with other synthetic decks, composite decks can be slippery. However, there for a better and safer choice, you may opt to use textured boards for added friction. You can also install non-slip decking strips to make it safer. While resistant to moulds, fungi can grow on dirt and debris on your deck. These, too, can make any deck, whether it’s plastic, wood, or composites, more slippery. For this reason, composites also need regular maintenance.
Should You Use Composite Decking?
To decide whether you should use composite decking or not, you must consider both advantages and disadvantages. Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? What makes composite decks so popular? And is it really a good decking material?
There are many advantages of composite decking compared to traditional wood. Some of its pros are its long lifespan and how low-maintenance it is. A composite deck will last for at least 20 to 25 years. There are a few rare exceptions, but most wood decks only last anywhere between 5 to 20 years. Composites are also easier to maintain, requiring no paint, seal and stain, which reduces upkeep cost.
Another advantage of composite is its superior durability compared to wood. Unlike wood, it’s not prone to moisture, rotting, natural mould growth, and warping. It can also withstand hot and cold weather. Lastly, composite decks, unlike PVC ones, are more natural-looking. They often have wood grains and textured surfaces for a wood-like aesthetic. It’s like using real wood without any of the disadvantages.
Overall, composites have a few disadvantages. But its advantages, superior durability, low-maintenance, and beautiful aesthetics, makes up for it. It’s an excellent choice for decking.