Is Composite Decking Really Worth It?
Building a decking can be quite an expensive home improvement, more so when using high-quality materials such as composites. Naturally, most homeowners want to spend as little as possible. So the question is, how much more expensive is plastic decking? And is it worth it?
Cost of Composite Decking
Composites are materials made through the extrusion of wood and plastic fibres. Since it’s more complex to produce, it’s more expensive than common wood materials. But by how much? It depends.
Wooden deckings in the UK have an average cost of £1000 to £1600 for a 15-square metre decking. Meanwhile, composite deckings can range anywhere from £1600 to £2000. These are all estimates, but composites will be more expensive than most wooden deckings. The only exception is high-quality hardwoods such as IPE, which can be, if not more, expensive than composites.
So if composite decking is so much more expensive, why would you even choose to use it? What are its advantages?
Why Composite Decking is Worth It
There are many reasons why choosing composites is worth it, despite its higher initial cost. Here are the top reasons that you may want to consider.
- Low-maintenance – Wooden deckings, although cheap, are often high-maintenance. They require staining, painting, and sealing every few years, which adds to the upkeep costs. You will also need to inspect and clean wooden deckings regularly. On the other hand, composites require very little maintenance. Composite deckings don’t need stains, paint, or seals. Cleaning it is also simple, usually only requiring some soap and a soft-bristled brush.
- Long Lifespan – Composite deckings can last very long due to their resistance to various outdoor elements. To compare, most wooden deckings can last anywhere between 5 and 20 years, depending on the quality. Composite deckings, however, will last at least 20 years. And many companies offer extended warranty coverages, ranging anywhere between 10 and 30 years.
- Resistance to Moisture – Moisture can be damaging to most deckings, especially wooden ones. Prolonged exposure to water and humid climates can cause mould and mildew growth, rotting, and warping. But as for composites, you don’t have to worry as much about these issues. You do need to maintain it regularly to avoid any potential problems, such as staining.
- Can Withstand High Temperatures – Plastic deckings are also long-lasting and durable. However, they are susceptible to thermal expansion, which can cause warping. For this reason, PVC and vinyl decking is often not recommended in places with hot climates. Composites, on the other hand, while similar to PVC, are resistant to hot weather. Composite decking boards hold their shape better than PVC, even when exposed to high temperatures, reducing the chance of warping. For this reason, composite deckings are a better option for places with hot weather.
- Aesthetically Pleasing – Another advantage of composites over plastic deckings is their appearance. PVC and vinyl deckings, despite being beautiful, will often seem synthetic. As for composite deckings, it looks as natural and as authentic as real wood. Many high-quality composites also have textured surfaces and unique wood grain patterns.
Disadvantages of Composite Decking
When deciding whether a material is worth it or not, you will also need to consider the disadvantages. But what are the disadvantages of composite decking? Aside from the high initial price, composites have very few drawbacks.
One disadvantage of composite deckings is that many manufacturers don’t recommend painting them. For most people, it wouldn’t be a problem. But if you like to redesign your home once every few years, it can be an issue. While you can technically paint a composite decking, there are drawbacks to doing so.
When you paint a composite decking, you will need to sand it, because the paint won’t adhere to the decking boards’ surfaces. Doing so, you will lose all protection the capping has to offer. You will also need to treat the composite decking as wooden decking, including repainting and sealing it once every few years. For this reason, painting a composite decking should be your last option.
Composite Deckings Are Worth It
Overall, composite deckings are worth it, despite how much more expensive they can be. Not only do composite decking is more durable, longer-lasting, and is easier to maintain, but it can also be as beautiful as wood. The only issue is that painting a composite decking is not recommended. But if you don’t mind, choosing composites is worth it.