Is Composite Decking Hot To Walk On?

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Does Composite Decking get too Hot to Walk on?

Here comes Summer, the perfect time to enjoy the sun outdoors.

Building composite decking can increase the value of your home and provide a wonderful area outdoors for entertaining friends and family.

As fun as it is, a few problems are associated with hot weather. One of which is decking heating up fast. Nobody likes to walk and relax on an extremely scorching deck on a hot day. So if you have Ultra Decking composite boards, you may ask: Does composite decking get hot?

The main concern about composites is that they are produced with plastic fibres, and plastic can get hot fast. All decking material, whether it is plastic, wood, or composite, will get hot when exposed to high temperatures.

Even though the summer season may not be long enough, you will want to enjoy the sun whilst it is out. Nonetheless, if you want to extend your time on your composite decking outdoors, there are options and solutions to keep your composite decking cool. If you want to walk barefoot on your composite decking, you can place outdoor rugs that can weather the elements. These rugs will also add colour and style to your composite decking and comfort beneath your feet. You can always roll them and store them indoors whenever they are not in use. You can also install a misting fan on your composite decking to help stay cool outdoors.

Another way is to plant trees that will create a shade over your composite decking —although the trees might take years to grow. Another alternative is to build a canopy over a portion of your composite decking. If you want a less costly solution, you can simply add a patio umbrella to minimise direct exposure to sunlight.

To properly answer this, we need to look into several factors that may affect the temperature of any deck. These considerations include the deck’s degree of exposure to sunlight, the type of material used, and the decking board’s colour.

does composite decking get hot

Degree of Exposure to Sunlight

All kinds of materials soak up the heat when exposed to direct sunlight. Even natural wood decking becomes too hot to walk on barefoot when it is exposed to the summer sun over a prolonged period. However, timber does not just get too hot to walk on; it may also splinter, crack, or expand. On the other hand, composite decking boards can withstand heat with minimal drawbacks.

Another consideration is the decking’s degree of exposure to sunlight, the type of material used and the decking board’s colour. The difference is that some materials get hot faster than others. For instance, PVC decking will usually get hot faster than wooden decking. If you are unsure, make sure to check with your supplier or the manufacturer about the material’s heat resistance.

Material of the Decking

A factor you need to consider is the material of the composite decking. Composite decking boards get hotter under the sun based on the amount of heat or solar energy they absorb and do not reflect. The heat retained by your composite decking partly depends on the material it is made of.

Natural wood decking typically pulls heat deep into the board, making the board’s surface cooler but also retaining the heat longer even when the sun is gone. When tested for several hours under direct sunlight averaging 30 degrees Celsius, pine and cedar retained heat between 48 to 69 degrees Celsius. Some tropical woods retained heat from 57 to 65 degrees Celsius.
Ipe decking boards are made of very dense wood, allowing the material to retain less heat compared to its counterparts. During the test, Ipe boards retained heat at 58 degrees Celsius and stayed coolest among the wood decking materials tested.

Composite decking boards, specifically the capped composite decking boards used in the test, retained heat at 57 to 65 degrees Celsius, showing a minimal difference in heat retention between wood and composites. However, composite decking boards cool off faster once under the shade, unlike wood that retains heat long after the sun disappears.

Colour is Important

Aside from the amount of exposure under direct sunlight and the material of the decking boards, other factors can impact how fast your decking can get hot. One such example is the colour of the material. Darker-coloured decking will more likely get hot faster than lighter-coloured ones, as dark colours absorb more light energy, turning into heat.

In contrast, light colours reflect light instead of absorbing it. Therefore, a dark-brown wooden decking can potentially get hot faster than light-grey composite decking. This effect is the same reason wearing dark clothes on a hot day can make you feel much warmer. If you want composite decking that does not get too hot, choose light-coloured composite decking boards with a hollow core.

The Advantages of Composite Decking

All types of decking material, regardless of its natural wood, pressure-treated lumber, ipe, PVC or composites, retain heat when exposed to direct sunlight. There may be a difference in heat retention depending on the material, but this difference is minimal.

To have the best time outdoors, choose light-coloured composite decking boards with a hollow core. These are more resistant to extreme temperature and moisture. They closely resemble wood when it comes to heat retention and dissipation. The benefits of using composite materials for your decking outweigh the concerns about heat retention.

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