Nothing lasts forever, and so as your deck. Even using the best materials, they have a limited lifespan. When it comes to longevity, however, one of the longest-lasting is composite decking. But what is the life expectancy of composite decking?
Why is it important to know the life expectancy of composite decking? Knowing so will help you determine whether it’s worth building it or not. It can also help you anticipate when you’d need to replace it or not. So what is the life expectancy of composite decks?
Composite Decking Lifespan
Composite decks are among the longest-lasting types of decking. Composites are very durable materials. A composite deck can last for at least 25 years. Many companies also have warranties up to 30 years, making it sure that you can enjoy your deck for very long.
Composite decks have significantly longer lifespans than their wood counterparts. Softwood deckings, such as pine and oak cedar, can only last for 10 to 15 years. More expensive hardwoods can last for 15 to 25 years. The only types of wood that can outlive composites are exotic hardwoods. However, many people choose not to use them due to their higher price, more so than composites.
Why Do Composite Decking Last Long?
What makes composite decking long-lasting? It’s because composites are quite resistant to many types of damages.
Composite decking is resistant to moisture, which is the worst enemy of wood decks. When water is absorbed by wooden boards, it expands. As it drains or releases the moisture, it shrinks back to the original size. While it may seem fine, some parts of wooden boards expand or shrink faster than the others. Because of this, it tends to warp, bend, and crack.
On the other hand, while composites still shrink and expand due to the wood fibres, the rate of expansion and contraction is more uniformed throughout the board. The plastic fibre also helps keep the shape intact, making composites resistant to warping and bending.
Another reason that sets other deckings with composites apart is its ability to withstand mould growth and rotting. When mould and mildew grow on the surfaces of wooden decks, it’s only a matter of time before it rots. While fungi don’t necessarily cause decay, it will increase the ability of wood to absorb moisture, which leads to rotting. Because composite decking is impervious to these kinds of damage, it has a far superior lifespan.
Lastly, composites age differently compared to wood and plastic, especially when exposed to UV. Constant exposure to UV will cause wood to lose its colour, turning it into grey. On the other hand, composite decking still fades, but it will only slightly lighten in colour. Plastic, on the other hand, fades at a much faster rate than composites.
How To Maximize the Lifespan of Composite Decking
Despite being one of the best materials, there’s an end to a composite decking’s lifespan. However, there are many things that you can do to extend their lifespan. Here are some of them.
1. Regular Maintenance – To maintain the quality of your composite deck, you’ll need to have a regular cleaning schedule. The good news is, composite decking is low-maintenance. A simple sweep will keep the debris away. A thorough cleaning at least once in every three months will keep it at its best quality. Unlike wood, you don’t need to stain or seal it every other year.
2. Avoid Placing Heavy Furniture – Heavy furniture and fixtures on your patio can damage the decking boards. Once they are scratched, your deck will be more susceptible to damage. Avoid furniture that has metallic footings, as they not only graze the deck but can also be the source of rust stains. If you must, use a rug or carpet with soft backing. Make sure to clean and inspect them regularly.
3. Avoid Sharp Objects and Chemicals – When it snows, you may think of many ways to remove it from your patio. But to avoid any damage, stay away from using sharp-edged shovels. When you need to remove ice, go for calcium-chloride based ice salt. Depending on the manufacturer, they may advise you against using ordinary table salt and sand, as it can scratch the deck. When cleaning the deck, avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach. Consult your supplier or manufacturer for more information.