Ultimate Composite Decking Questions Answered
We’ve trolled the internet and found the most common FAQs that people ask about Composite Decking. Find below the answers to questions people regularly ask about.
1What is composite decking
Composite decking is the fastest-growing decking solution on the market today. It offers an authentic wood appearance and feel without the drawbacks of regular maintenance that comes with timber or wooden decking solution.
Composite decking is a man-made decking board made up of 60% wood fibres, 30% HPE (high-density polyethylene) & 10% additives (bonding agents). Wood fibres can be sawdust or wood chips. All HPE plastics used in the manufacturing process are made up of recycled plastic materials, wasteland plastic bags and much more. This helps to reduce waste and improve the environment.
The wood fibres, plastics and bonding agents are mixed and heated into board length shapes. The boards are further pressed with a wood grain onto the surface and then cooled.
After the bonding and shaping process, depending on the manufacturing quality required, each board is brushed and treated. The end result is the creation of a wood plastic composite decking board that looks and feels like authentic wood without the drawbacks (link product platinum) of regular maintenance, warping, splinters, cracking. 2nd generation wood plastic composite decking boards are better resistant to staining and fading.
2Is composite decking non-slip?
This is one of the most asked questions at the point of sale or during research. This is because timber decking becomes extremely slippery when wet or due to mould and mildew build-up.
Composite decking is slip-resistant and scores very high on friction tests as performed and reported by Intertek and SGS. Composite decking is significantly less slippery than its wood cousin. The reason for this is composite decking absorbs water at extremely low rates.
Second-Generation composite decking (link) – also known as capped/shielded or co-extrusion composite decking, offering minimal to no water absorption, making the board 85% more slip resistance than first-generation composite and traditional wood decking.
3How do I calculate how much decking I need?
This is a very common question that almost all customers ask. Don’t worry; experienced decking installers also ask this a lot, so you’re not alone.
There is no such thing as a stupid question; we are here to help you whatever the question.
If you want the fastest way to calculate how much your decking will cost, follow this link to our product pages if you already know your total square metres.
To calculate how much composite decking board you will require, you will first have to calculate your total square meterage. You can do this in other ways but below is the cleanest and simplest in our experience.
To work out the square meterage, simply break down the decking area into several rectangles. You will measure the length and width of each rectangle area to give you the total square metres required. If you are unsure, you can always call to discuss this with one of our experts.
Once you have your square metre area, you will need to divide the square metre of the composite decking board into the square metre area.
To do this, you will need to convert the metres into mm, simple x1000, so 2.9 metres = 2900 mm. Then the width is always in mm, again x the length and width example 2900 x 142 = 412,000 move the decimal point by 6 and you have your board’s square meterage of 0.412.
Divide into your square metre area. If you don’t get a whole number, always round it up to the nearest whole number, never round it down. For example, if you get 129.334, round to the highest round number, so in this case 130. Otherwise, you will be left short of decking.
4What is composite wood made from
Composite decking (link) is made from wood fibres, sawdust or wood chips, and HPE recycled plastics with added bonding agents.
5How long do composite decking boards last for?
Composite decking boards (link) can last for more than 30 years if the structural core is made from quality grade “A” plastics. This is because it helps to increase the board’s strength.
As a guide, a square hollow composite decking board (link) has a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.
A circle hollow composite decking board has a lifespan of between 15 and 25 years.
A solid core composite decking board has a lifespan of 25 to 30 years.
As with most manufacturing processes, the quality depends on the materials and the technology used to produce the composite decking board. As a guide, look at some homemade tests we recommend (link).
6Can composite decking be ripped?
Composite decking boards can be ripped. However, this is not advisable by all manufacturers and suppliers and will normally void any warranty. If you are going to rip a composite decking board, our advice is to reduce the width rather than thickness, but always try to use full board lengths when possible for your decking surface
7Is composite decking slippery in the winter?
Once ice, snow and algae build up on a wooden deck during winter, it becomes a serious slip hazard.
Composite decking will stand up to the harshest winter conditions. It will become less of a hazard than its wooden cousin, mainly due to its slip-resistant design and surface properties.
A deck becomes slippery mainly because of the build-up of algae, mould and mildew. These issues are almost completely resolved, especially in second generation composite decking, due to its shielding.
To ensure your deck stays safe in the winter, Ultra Decking advises you to brush off any leaves and dirt from your board regularly. Also, give your composite deck a soft brush with warm soapy water every autumn
8How much does it cost to build a composite deck
When planning your composite decking project, you will first need to decide the type of composite decking you prefer.
A key indicator to consider is how often and how many people (footfall) will be using the deck. For home or residential use, the Ultra Decking Value range is recommended. The Value range’s structural strength and core thickness are ideal for most domestic installations.
Ultra Decking Premier Range, which offers a circular core design with very high structural strength, is ideal for decks used in commercial areas with high footfall, such as beer gardens, public houses and hotels, or almost any area with public access.
Another consideration is the level of maintenance you wish to perform over the life of your composite decking. With 1st generation composite wood decking, no matter where you purchase it from, the board will only need a degree of light bi-annual maintenance in the form of brushing off loose dirt and hosing down. A pressure washer can be used in a very low setting that won’t damage or disturb the deck’s surface. Before use, you should first test the pressure washer setting in a non-conspicuous spot.
You may also need to maintain the colour of first-generation composite decking boards at some point during its life. This will most likely be a coat of clear sealant or lacquer on the top surface of the deck. Having said that, the Ultra Decking value range (link) will keep its colour for up to 8 years, at which point you may want a colour change anyway.
If you need a low to maintenance-free deck and want to keep your costs to a minimum with a long-lasting wood grain look, we recommend our new value (link) composite decking range. The Ultra Decking value range offers all benefits of composite decking UV resistant, deep embossed wood grain look, no splinting, warping or cracking and a strong structural strength to last you for decades for a similar wood decking price of £** per square metre.
9What are the problems with composite decking
During your research of composite decking, you will want to know all the pros and cons (link) of the different types of composite decking (link).
You could spend a long time researching this topic as composite decking has been around for many years, and it’s growing in popularity and choice. Why? Because it’s the best overall solution. However, since the introduction of Composite Decking, it has had its fair share of problems that have been stabilised and resolved over the last 15 years due to extensive investigations and research.
Whether you purchase from Ultra Decking or another supplier, do your research and ask questions. Ensure the supplier knows exactly what they are talking about and are knowledgeable. If they purchase from a third-party manufacturer that is of low quality, you will quickly experience issues and problems associated with the early 1st generation range of composite decking issues (link)
10Can you paint composite decking
The second-generation composite decking slightly lightens in 25 years, meaning the colour you lay today from our signature collection will be the same colour you will have in 25 years.
One key factor to keep in mind is the quality of the composite decking you are purchasing. This truly does make a huge difference. Although some fading will occur over the years, you must consider that all materials are grade A and tested. If they are, you will have no issues with colour for decades. For homemade tests, follow this link