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What a Custom Deck Builder Wants You to Know about Composite Decking

What a Custom Deck Builder Wants You to Know about Composite Decking

A custom deck can make your home more functional and fun, whether it's entertaining guests, having a barbeque, or playing with kids. While wooden decks have been a status symbol over the last couple of decades, composite decking has gained popularity since the 90s, providing a longer-lasting, more maintenance-free alternative. In this guide, our custom deck builder shares everything you need to know about composite decking. Contact us today for an estimate!

What Is Composite Decking?

Composite decking is constructed from artificial deck boards made of waste wood fiber, recycled plastics, and bonding agents. Custom deck builders love them because they require minimal maintenance and offer more design flexibility compared to traditional wood decking. Some types of composite decking are actually made up of 100 percent polyvinyl. 

The various agents used to give the decking beautiful colours and additional elements to help protect composite decking make it slightly heavier than real wood of the same size. However, composite decking won't splinter or rot. It's highly resistant to weather, cracking, warping, or other issues commonly associated with regular wood decking materials.

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How Composite Decking Materials Are Made

Composite decking is made from waste wood and recycled and reclaimed plastic. These raw materials include recovered plastic film, plastic grocery bags, and waste wood fiber. Trex is one of the leading manufacturers of composite decking products and buys approximately 300 million pounds of waste polyethylene and hardwood sawdust each year.

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Winchester, Virginia, Trex has manufacturing facilities in Nevada, Fernley, Winchester, and Virginia. The brand is also available in more than 42 countries. Besides decking and railing products, Trex also manufactures outdoor lighting, trim, fencing, pergolas, collections, outdoor storage, accessory hardware, and other products from recycled plastic and waste wood.

What You Need to Know About Composite Decking

Here are the key things custom deck builders want you to know about composite decking:

Composite Decking Is Available in Two Forms

Composite decking can either be solid or hollow. The solid composite is heavier than the hollow, but it tends to look more natural. However, it's more susceptible to temperature fluctuations. The hollow composite decking is less expensive but requires more care during installation to prevent damage.

Composite Decking Comes in a Broad Range of Colours

Composite decking comes with factory-applied colours, so you won't need to stain or paint it. You can choose from a broad range of impressive colours to suit your home's décor. Custom deck builders can even alternate the boards in whatever way you like to suit your style. However, you can't paint over them later on if you change your mind.

Composite Decking Won't Warp

While composite decking won't warp, it can sag or buckle, mostly due to incorrectly spaced floor joists during the installation. Thermal expansion can also cause the composite decking to buckle or sag, which is less noticeable with natural wood decking. That's why you need a professional deck builder to install your composite decking.

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The Initial Cost of Composite Decking May Be High

The initial cost of installing composite decking is generally higher than wood, but it offers a lifetime warranty. In the long run, composite decking is more cost-effective than regular wood decking because of the lower maintenance requirements and longer lifespan.

Composite Boards Are Longer than Wooden Boards

Composite boards are typically longer than wooden boards. It's because there is no worry about longer boards warping. You can find composite boards as long as 20 feet.

Composite vs. Wood Decking

When deciding between composite and wooden decking, take note of the following:

  • Composite decking is more resistant to fading than wood but might still fade over time when installed under direct sunlight. Natural wood will fade to grey over time when left unstained or unpainted.
  • Unlike wood decking, composite decking may become hot under direct sunlight. Although it won't melt, it's best to install it in mostly shaded areas.
  • While composite doesn't rot like wood, moisture trapped underneath composite decking and around wood joists will make the joists susceptible to rot or decay.
  • Composite decking is more stain-resistant than wood, but cleaning up spills promptly is important to avoid staining. 

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Cons of Composite Decking

The most common complaint custom deck builders hear about composite decking is the susceptibility to mold growth. However, this is an issue with all decking materials. It's important to clean and resurface anything that has mold on it.

Unfortunately, you can't resurface composite decking, and removing stains can be challenging. Custom deck builders recommend applying a mold barrier at the onset to prevent mold issues. You can also use special cleaners that remove mold without harming the decking.

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Working with a Custom Deck Builder!

When considering composite decking for your home, you need to understand it's a long-term investment. Make sure you do your homework and choose the right custom deck builder to ensure everything is done right the first time. We have extensive experience installing composite decking and can guide you through the process from start to finish. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!