Which composite deck is best?
Many decking options are available on the market, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most relevant issues to consider when choosing composite deck boards for your next project.
When considering which composite deck board is best for you, it’s essential to consider factors such as:
- Material quality and durability: Look for deck boards with high-quality materials and a solid warranty to ensure they will last for years.
- Appearance: Consider the colour and texture options and additional design features, such as hidden fasteners or custom railings.
- Maintenance requirements: Some deck boards require more maintenance than others, so consider how much time and effort you will put into upkeep.
- Cost: Composite decking can be more expensive than traditional wood decking, so consider your budget and choose an option that fits within it.
- The nature of your space. The decking board’s colour and texture can significantly impact the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space, so it’s important to choose a product that complements your existing landscape and design. Some homeowners prefer a more natural and rustic appearance, while others prefer a more modern and streamlined look.
- The manufacturer’s reputation
Ultimately, the best composite deck for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences, so be sure to research and compare different brands and products before making a final decision.
Material quality and durability
The quality and durability of deck materials are important considerations when choosing a decking material. Here are some factors to consider:
Material type: There are several deck materials available, including wood, composite, and PVC. Each material has unique properties and characteristics that affect its durability and longevity.
Resistance to the elements: Decks are exposed to various weather conditions, including sun, rain, and snow. Look for materials resistant to UV rays, moisture, and temperature changes, as these factors can cause damage over time.
Maintenance requirements: Some deck materials require more maintenance than others. Wood decks require regular sealing or staining to prevent rot, decay, and insect damage, while composite and PVC decks require far less maintenance.
Warranty: The warranty offered by the manufacturer indicates the quality and durability of the material. Look for materials with an extended warranty period, meaning the manufacturer stands behind the product.
Installation quality: The installation’s quality can affect the deck’s durability. Ensure that the deck is installed by a professional and that the building is done correctly to ensure the deck lasts as long as possible.
Sustainability: The environmental impact of the deck material is also an important consideration for quality and durability. Look for materials made from sustainable and renewable sources, such as recycled plastic or sustainably harvested wood. This reduces the deck material’s environmental impact and ensures that the material is durable and long-lasting.
Resistance to scratches and fading: Deck materials resistant to scratches and fading will maintain their appearance over time and require less maintenance. Some composite and PVC deck materials have protective coatings that can help prevent scratches and fading.
Load capacity: The load capacity of the deck material is important to ensure the safety and durability of the deck. Ensure that the material supports the weight of furniture, people, and other items placed on the deck.
Fire resistance: Some deck materials are more fire-resistant than others. If you live in an area with a high risk of wildfires, choosing a fire-resistant deck material can help protect your home.
Overall, when considering the quality and durability of deck materials, it is important to look at a combination of factors, including material type, resistance to the elements, maintenance requirements, warranty, installation quality, sustainability, resistance to scratches and fading load capacity, and fire resistance. Considering these factors, you can choose a high-quality, durable deck material that meets your needs and preferences.
What does a composite deck look like?
This type of decking is known for its durability, low maintenance, and long lifespan, but it also offers a wide range of appearance options to suit any style or preference. Some popular composite decking brands offer a variety of colours, finishes, and textures, allowing you to create a deck that complements your home’s architecture and outdoor living space.
Colour: The material comes in various colours, from natural wood tones to bold and bright hues. Some brands offer variegated colours that mimic the look of natural wood grain, while others provide solid colours that can be coordinated with your home’s exterior. Here are some standard appearance options for composite decking:
Texture: The surface of the boards can be embossed with a wood grain texture to create the appearance of natural wood. Some brands even offer different textures for different applications, such as a smoother surface for walking areas and a more textured surface for high-traffic areas.
Finish: Depending on your preference, the boards can be finished with a matte or glossy surface. A matte finish offers a more natural wood-like appearance, while a glossy finish can add a sleek, modern touch.
Design Features: Some brands offer features such as hidden fasteners, custom railings, and even built-in lighting options, allowing you to create a unique and personalised outdoor living space.
Overall, composite deck boards offer a range of appearance options that can be customised to fit your style and preferences while providing low maintenance and durability benefits.
Deck board materials can come in various colours and textures, making them a popular choice for homeowners who want the look of wood without the maintenance requirements. Some brands offer a range of colours that mimic natural wood tones, such as cedar or redwood, while others provide more unique colours, like grey or black.
Textures can also vary, with some boards featuring a smooth surface, while others may have a more pronounced wood-grain texture. Some brands offer custom design features such as embossed patterns, and some may have hidden fasteners for a seamless look.
It’s essential to consider the appearance of composite decking when choosing a product, as it will impact the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space. It’s good to look at samples in person or view photos online to better understand the colour and texture options.
Composite deck maintenance requirements
Different brands may have slightly different maintenance requirements, so following the manufacturer’s specific recommendations is essential. Here are some general maintenance requirements for decking boards:
Regular cleaning: The boards should be cleaned regularly with soap and water or a specialised composite decking cleaner for tougher stains. The frequency of cleaning will depend on factors such as the location of your deck and the amount of foot traffic it receives.
Pressure cleaning: Use a fan tip nozzle on a pressure washer to avoid damaging the deck surface and have the tip at least 50 centimetres away from the deck boards. The wand should be held at an angle of 45 degrees or less to reduce the pressure on the deck board surface. Ensure you use a low-pressure washer, as high-pressure washers can cause severe damage to the deck boards.
Testing the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous area of the deck is also recommended before using it on the entire deck.
To help prevent stains, cleaning up any spills or messes on your deck as soon as possible is a good idea.
Dragging furniture and other sharp objects across any deck is not a good idea. Take care when moving furniture and other materials around your deck, as sharp objects can cause severe damage to the deck boards. You can also use furniture pads or coasters to prevent scratches or scuffs from furniture.
If you have dogs that are frequent visitors to the deck area, it’s an excellent idea to road-test your deck board selection before making a final commitment.
Composite deck cost
The cost of a composite deck can vary widely depending on several factors, including the deck size, the type of material used (PVC, capped etc.), and the complexity of the design. On average, deck board costs range from $120 to $350 per square metre.’
Here are some factors that can affect the cost of a deck:
Size: The larger the deck, the more materials will be required, and the higher the price will be.
Material type: Different types of composite materials have different costs. Some more expensive materials may be more durable, require less maintenance, and have a longer lifespan, but they may come with a higher upfront cost.
The complexity of the design: If the deck design is more complex with multiple levels, stairs, and other features, this will require more materials and labour and increase the cost.
Labour costs: Labour costs for installing a deck can vary depending on the complexity of the design, the amount of preparation required, and the installer’s experience.
Location: The cost of materials and labour can vary depending on your location and local market conditions.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, here are some other things to consider when estimating the cost of a deck:
Accessories: You may want to include additional features such as built-in seating, lighting, or a pergola, which can increase the project’s cost.
Permits: Depending on where you live, you may need a permit for your deck construction, which can add to the overall cost.
Maintenance: While these materials require less maintenance than traditional wood decking, you will still need to factor in ongoing maintenance costs such as cleaning, sealing, and repairs.
Warranty: Some composite decking materials come with a more extended warranty than others, which may increase the cost of the material but can also provide peace of mind and protection against defects.
It’s important to remember that while the upfront cost may be higher than traditional wood decking, the longer lifespan and lower maintenance requirements can make it a cost-effective choice in the long run. It is important to carefully consider your budget and the factors that affect cost when selecting a composite decking material.
Getting several quotes from different contractors to compare prices and ensure you’re getting a fair price for the work is always a good idea.
Environmental factors to consider
Deck boards can have a significant impact on the environment, both during their production and over their lifespan. Here are some environmental considerations to keep in mind when choosing a decking material:
Material sourcing: Wood decking can be sourced from forests that are managed sustainably or from clear-cut forests, which can hurt the environment. This type of board is typically made from recycled materials, which can reduce the demand for virgin materials and divert waste from landfills.
Energy and emissions: The production of decking materials requires energy and can release greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the air and water. Look for decking materials produced using renewable energy sources or with a lower carbon footprint.
Longevity: The longer a deck board lasts, the less environmental impact it will have over time. Look for durable deck boards that require minimal maintenance, as this can reduce the need for replacement and minimise waste.
End-of-life disposal: When a deck board reaches the end of its life, it must be disposed of somehow. Look for deck boards that can be recycled or repurposed rather than in a landfill.
Chemicals: Some decking materials, particularly pressure-treated ones, can contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment over time. Look for decking materials that are free from toxic chemicals or that have been treated using environmentally friendly methods.
Overall, it’s essential to consider the environmental impact of deck boards when choosing a material. By selecting a sustainably sourced material with a low carbon footprint, is durable and requires minimal maintenance, can be recycled or repurposed at the end of its life, and is free from harmful chemicals, you can reduce your environmental impact create a more sustainable outdoor space.
The nature of your space
Ultimately, your project’s best decking board will depend on your specific needs and preferences. By carefully evaluating each factor and comparing different products, you can choose a deck board that provides the durability, aesthetics, and performance you need for your outdoor space.
It’s important to consider the overall design and layout of your outdoor space when choosing the appearance of your deck board. Some homeowners prefer a more natural and rustic appearance, while others prefer a more modern and streamlined look. The decking board’s colour and texture can significantly impact the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space, so it’s important to choose a product that complements your existing landscape and design.
If your deck is in an open sunny position and has no shade, ask about the heat index ratings for the different boards you are looking at to get a good idea of the deck’s useability all year round.
If you are installing a deck around your pool, consider these factors:
Slip Resistance: Look for decking boards with a slip-resistant surface, which can help prevent slips and falls, especially when the surface is wet.
Fade Resistance: The harsh pool chemicals and sunlight can cause some deck boards to fade over time. Therefore, choose UV-resistant deck boards that can withstand exposure to chlorine and other pool chemicals.
Durability: Pool decks require sturdy, long-lasting materials that resist moisture and constant foot traffic. Composite decking materials with a strong outer layer, such as a polymer or PVC shell, are typically more durable than those without.
Heat Resistance: In hot areas, composite deck boards can get hot and uncomfortable to walk on. Some brands offer decking materials with heat-reflective technology to keep the surface cooler.
Aesthetics: Decking boards come in various colours and styles, so choose a design that complements the look and feel of your pool area.
When comparing deck boards, it’s also important to consider the manufacturer’s reputation, experience, and customer service. Look for a manufacturer with a track record of producing high-quality decking products and providing excellent customer support.
To sum up:
Overall, there are many different factors to consider when choosing the appearance of a composite decking board, including colour, texture, finish, slip resistance, durability, maintenance requirements, and cost. By carefully evaluating these factors and doing your research, you can choose a deck board that meets your needs and enhances the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space.