Composite decking is one of the best materials that you can use to build a deck. Composites are known for their many advantages, including low-maintenance, durability, and long-lasting. However, as a smart homeowner, you’ll want to look at every aspect of the material so you can decide whether you should use it or not. So the question is, what are the problems of composite decking? Despite the issues, is it still worth building?
Problems with Composite Decking
When it comes to advantages, it’s far ahead of traditional wooden decking. However, like any other types of decking, it has some issues. Here are some of them.
1. Higher Price – One of the top reasons why people hesitate to buy and use composites for their decks is due to their cost. A quality composite decking board will cost you as much as twice that of softwood decking boards. Even more expensive hardwoods cost cheaper than composites. The only exceptions are exotic hardwoods, which sits at the same price as composites, often even higher. However, these types of woods are more suitable for other purposes. On average, it will cost you around £1000 to £1600 to build a 15-metre wooden deck, whereas you’d need £2000 for composite decking.
2. Not Designed to Be Painted – Another limitation or issue with composite decking is that it is not suitable for painting. While it’s possible, many manufacturers don’t recommend doing it. For some, you’ll void the warranty as soon as you paint their boards. If you do want to stain or paint a composite deck, make sure that’s it way past its warranty. When buying the boards when building the patio, also make sure that you have the correct colour or design.
3. It Can Shrink and Expand – Because composite decks still have wooden fibres, it still is susceptible to shrinking and expansion. However, because the plastic components hold the boards’ shape, it will not bend or warp like wood. When installing them, make sure that you’re putting spaces in-between the boards. You’ll also want to make sure that you are getting high-quality materials, as the lower-quality ones are more susceptible to these issues.
4. Mould Growth – Composite decking, on its own, is resistant to mould growth. Meaning, moulds will not grow naturally on the surface of the board. However, when there are debris, plants, or pollen in your composite deck, it will give way to moulds and fungi. It’s not a big issue when managed early, but if they stay too long, it can stain your patio permanently.
5. It Can Get Hot – Depending on the quality of the composite decking boards used, your composite deck may get hot fast. Furthermore, it can be a problem, especially when you have kids or pets, as they might get burns. Dark-coloured boards are hotter, as they absorb more heat. If you think the patio will get a lot of sunlight, avoid getting darker-coloured boards.
6. Can Be Slippery – Some brands or types of composite decking boards can be slippery when wet. They may not be as slippery as PVC or plastic decking, but it can still cause some accidents. Composite boards with wood grain textures can reduce the smoothness, especially when wet.
How to Avoid Composite Decking Issues
To avoid most of the problems with composite decking, there are two things that you can do; proper maintenance and choosing the right boards.
When maintained properly, your composite decking won’t have any issue with moulds and mildew. Keeping the deck dry also minimizes any problem with warping, bending, or cracking. You’ll also avoid any unwanted accidents.
To clean a composite deck, all you will need are some soap, water, and a soft-bristled brush. It’s recommended to clean the patio thoroughly at least twice a year. Sweeping the deck now and then can also keep any debris from piling up.
Another way to avoid some issues is by choosing the right boards. If you’re living in a hot place, go for lighter-coloured boards. You may also want to make sure to think hard before picking a colour or design that you want. Lastly, composites vary in price and quality. Make sure to get the boards that will give you the most worth for your money.