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How Much Does it Cost to Install Composite Decking

When building a deck, from start to finish you’ll need to consider many options. One of the first things that you’ll have to decide is choosing what material to use. There are three main types of decking material to install; wood, PVC, and composites. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. Their strengths and weaknesses will be a crucial factor in deciding what to choose.

Composite decking may be one of your preferred decking options. But before finalising your decision, you may want to check out how much it costs to install first. Let’s break down all the prices and the process of building one.

Buying Materials – The first thing you will need to do is purchase materials for your project. There is a wide variety of composites in the market. For instance, will you be using hollow or solid composite materials? What kind of fastening system will you be using? Will you be sticking to the traditional screws? Or will you try hidden clips? What about the colour and pattern? Aside from the decking boards, you’ll also need materials for the frame and other necessary items. How much will these cost?

Cost to Install Composite Decking

When looking to invest in composite decking, it’s essential to factor in your budget. You must determine what you’re willing to spend and estimate all expenses that are associated with your landscaping project. In this article, we will discuss some of the cost factors surrounding composite decking such as labour costs, material costs, deck layout and size and geographical location

1 Choosing Composite Materials

Composite decking is a superior decking material with a similar appearance to that of wood but is more aesthetically pleasing and durable than timber. The decking board’s price will heavily depend on its quality. At the time of writing, you can buy composite decking boards from anywhere between £35 to well over £100 per square meter, depending on the quality. A good rule of thumb is always to stick to quality and buy the best you can afford. If you don’t need high-end quality or can buy in bulk, you can get a cheaper deal. You will also need to purchase materials for the frame or joists. Screws, nails, decking clips and landscaping fabric are some of the other things you will need, which do differ in price. You may also want to add some accessories, like balustrades, rails, and pergolas, which adds to the overall cost.

Although more expensive than wood, composite decking is worth the additional cost given its many features, advantages and benefits when compared to other decking materials such as wood.

2 Contractors Fees

Next, you will need to find contractors for the decking project. The price will depend on how big the project is and how long it will take to complete the project. Again, at the time of writing, the average cost of workers sits around £60-£90 per square metre depending on the complexity of the project and your geographical location. Certain decking designs such as curved projects will take more time to install which will be reflected in the labour costs. Typically, it would take up to a week to install an average deck, including the substructure and ground preparation. A larger project will take longer and cost more.

Of course, you can also take the DIY route, especially if you have experience in building a deck. By doing so, you can save £100’s for an average-sized garden decking. Aside from making the actual deck, you will also need to consider the price of preparing the land. The more preparation it requires (digging, weeding, etc.), the higher the cost will be.

3 Total Cost

So, what is the total cost of installing composite decking?

In order to help give you an estimate for the total cost of materials, let’s look at a case study. For an average-sized garden decking area (20 sq. metres), you’ll be faced with similar costs depending on numerous factors such as geographical location, job complexity and the quality of materials, but as a guide to estimate lets have a look at all materials needed (boards, clips and subframe), along with labour.

  • Timber frame (posts and joists) – £32.26 (per sqm2)
  • Labour (cost of installation) – £70 (per sqm2)
  • Clips and screws – £10.50 (per sqm2)
  • Decking Boards – £45 (per sqm2)
  • Total cost per square metre including VAT – £157.76

For a 20sqm2 project, you can therefore estimate your project to cost around £3155.20.

So is it Worth it?

Composite decking installation is significantly pricier than traditional timber decking. On average, you’ll spend upwards of £700-£1400 for composite decking boards based on 20sqm2, whilst you’ll only need £500-£700 for good quality timber. Despite the high initial cost, composites can last up to 30 years. Meanwhile, with regular maintenance and care, softwood can last up to 10-15 years. Hardwoods, on the other hand, last beyond 15 years when properly maintained. Deciding whether composite decking is worth it, is based on how much maintenance you’re willing to do and how long you’re looking to stay in the property.

Adds Value

Installing composite boards will add more value to a property, making it more appealing to homebuyers should you be considering selling your home.

So is it worth it? With its long life, durability and low maintenance, you’ll get the most out of your budget by using composite decking. The only reason you may want to reconsider is if you are planning to move house in a couple of years. In which case, it’s best to stick with the cheaper option of softwoods.

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