Untreated Composite Deck Duration


Do you want to build a deck? Or perhaps you have an old patio waiting for an upgrade. One of your options is using composite decking materials. It’s durable and stylish. And probably one of the best features of composite decking is it’s low-maintenance. 


But the question is, how long can a composite decking last without treatment? It’s an important question, especially for people who won’t be staying at home as often or for people who will build decks for their vacation homes. And what can affect a composite decking’s lifespan?


How Long Do Composite Decking Normally Last


Before talking about how long a composite deck lasts without maintenance, first, let’s look at how long it continues at the best condition. 


For composite decking, you can expect it to last for a minimum of 25 years, that is if you maintain it properly. Some companies market their products, saying that can last for 50 years. Some even offer warranties as much as 30 years. So when properly taken care of, expect a lot of years before needing to replace it. It’s considerably longer than traditional decking options, which will make the most of the money through long-term cost-efficiency.


But how about if you don’t care for your decking, will it last as much longer? As what can make a deck last shorter?


How Long Will it Last Without Maintenance


Composite decking is an excellent innovation in decking. It combines the properties of wood and plastic. It has the aesthetic and feels of wood while retaining the durability of plastic. It’s resistant to insect and weather damage. Since it’s often covered with a special outer coating, it’s not prone to mould and fungi growth. It’s also resistant to UV which slows down fading. 


However, no matter how strong composites are, they are not invincible. Despite being marketed as one of the strongest, most durable materials, they can still be damaged. Some people say that they can last only up to 10-15 years without proper maintenance. That’s a significant difference between their normal lifespan. The truth is, it’s no longer worth it with that short of a lifespan. But what can make this strong and durable material last shorter than usual?


What Can Damage Your Composite Decking


Despite what most people think, many things can damage even the most durable composite decking. These will be detrimental to your patio’s overall life. It’s important to note these to avoid potential damages.


  1. Moisture – Moisture is the worst enemy of all wooden decks. While composites are not as prone as wood, they can still be affected by moisture. Afterall, composites have wooden parts. Any exposed wooden portions of the board are prone to moisture, which causes warping, twisting and cracking. In turn, these damages can spread, exposing more wood. As time passes, more and more damage can be seen if you don’t treat your deck as soon as possible.
  2. Moulds and Mildews – Like moisture, composite decking is not prone to moulds and mildews. These can’t grow on the surface of composites. However, they can grow somewhere else on your patio. When you leave out a pile of leaves and debris, it can be the breeding ground of harmful moulds. Dirt stuck in-between the spaces in your deck can also be the source of moulds. These will slowly spread and do damage to your deck. 
  3. Rust – Rust is the same case as moulds and mildews. Although it won’t naturally build-up on your patio, it can spread from metal rugs, grills, and other metal furniture.


As you can see, these are only some of the common causes of composite deck damage. Neglecting to treat these can cause significant and irreversible damage to your deck. Without maintenance, it can only last for about ten years, or shorter. When left untreated, the only way to fix it is to replace the boards, or worse, the entire deck.


The good news is, composite decking doesn’t require as much time as other decking options. You don’t need to clean it as often as wood decking. Cleaning it is also easier. Just grab a brush, a mild soap and water solution, and a few muscles are only the things you’ll need. In some cases, you can also use a low-pressure power washer.