How Long Will an Untreated Composite Deck Last?

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decking lifespan

Untreated Composite Decking Service Life

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 exploring how long a composite deck lasts without maintenance, let’s look at how long it continues in the best condition. 

For composite decking, you can expect it to last for a minimum of 25 years if you maintain it properly. Some companies market their products, saying that they can last for 50 years. Some even offer warranties of 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 much longer? What can make a deck life shorter? 

how long will composite decking last

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 aesthetics and feels of natural 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

Many things can damage even the most durable composite decking despite what most people think. These will be detrimental to your decking’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. After all, 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 deck. When you leave out a pile of leaves and debris, it can be the breeding ground for 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 decking, 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 that 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 what you’ll need. In some cases, you can also use a low-power pressure washer.

Also, find out if composite decking is reversible.


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