The installation of a deck in your backyard is a great way to not only improve the aesthetics of your property and make the most use of the space, but a deck installation may also boost your property value. There is a lot to consider when it comes to installing a deck, though. For instance, the types of decking materials have grown over the years, and with so many at your fingertips, which one is best?
Two of the most popular forms of decking are composite decking and wood decking. Is composite decking better? Let’s take a closer look at whether composite decking is worth it by examining its pros and cons.
What Is Composite Decking?
Before we get into the pros and cons of composite decking, what is composite decking? Generally, this type of decking material is made from various by-products of wood, including sawdust, wood chips, and even recycled plastic materials.
The combination of synthetic and organic materials gives you the best of both worlds. Although typically more expensive, composite decking is both durable (like wood) and easy to maintain (like synthetic materials).
Pros of Composite Decking
Composite decking has a lot of benefits, and there is no doubt that it is fast-becoming one of the top choices for decking throughout the UK.
Durability and Longevity
Unlike natural wood decking, composite decking can withstand some of the most extreme weather changes without the need for added protection or additional treatment.
When compared to wood, composite boards don’t expand and contract as much. In addition, composite decking is rot- and mould-resistant, which extends its lifespan and durability.
This is probably the most favoured advantage of composite decking among homeowners.
Composite decking requires very little maintenance. No sanding, painting, staining, or treating is necessary. Wood decks require regular upkeep to maintain their natural beauty, but even with regular maintenance, they are still vulnerable to warping, splintering, cracking, and rotting.
Composite decking, on the other hand, will never splinter, warp, or rot. Composite decking materials are UV-resistant to prevent fading. Occasional cleaning is necessary to keep the composite deck nice and clean, but additional servicing is hardly ever needed.
Wide Variety of Aesthetic Options
Composite decking materials are available in a wide assortment of colours and styles.
This provides flexibility in styling your outdoor area. Wood needs to be stained or painted in order to complement the exterior of your property. Composite boards can simply be purchased outright in the colour and style you need and desire.
If your impact on the environment is important, then choosing composite decking is a good option. Composite decking materials are made with 100% recycled materials.
These materials do not require routine varnishing/staining (which can release harmful toxins into the environment) and don’t contribute to the process of deforestation.
Cons of Composite Decking
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to composite decking, and there are some key negatives that you should be aware of.
Higher Upfront Investment
Composite decking is not the cheapest (or most expensive) material available on the market. Because of the labour necessary to produce and manufacture the composite product (higher overhead costs), it is more expensive than wood.
However, you must consider the various benefits that composite decking offers, as these benefits often outweigh the more expensive price tag. After all, wooden decking does not offer insect resistance, scratch resistance, fade resistance, and low maintenance.
Unlike with wood, you will be unable to change the colour of your composite decking later down the road. Therefore, it is imperative that you are 100% sure of the colour choice you go with in the beginning.
Composite decking boards are permanently coloured to reduce maintenance and prevent fading.
The darker the colour, the harder it will be to change the colour down the road. Certain chemicals and sun bleaching can slightly alter the colour of the decking boards, but it is not recommended to do so.
Lack of Natural Wood Appearance
While it is true that composite decking boards can be purchased in a design that mimics real wood, the truth of the matter is that it is not a 100% natural look. Since composite materials are man-made, there will be flaws here and there.
The recycled wood within composite boards does help give a more natural appearance of wood, but they don’t have the authentic feel and look that a real wood deck can offer.
Darker Shades of Composite May Fade
Although composite materials are generally made with UV-resistant properties that should prevent fading, there is still a chance that fading may occur. This is especially true with darker colours. If your deck gets sunlight all day and is never or hardly in the shade, then over time, fading is inevitable.
Other than UV rays, foot traffic, weathering, and chemicals play a role in the fading of the deck.
Keep in mind, though, that the higher the quality of composite decking material you invest in, the less likely the colour of the boards will fade in time.
So, Is Composite Decking Worth It?
In order to determine whether composite decking is worth it, you must consider what your goals are with your deck. What do you want from your deck? How will you use your deck? The answers to these questions will help you decide whether it is worth it to invest in composite decking.
Remember, composite decking won’t splinter, crack, warp, or rot, will resist fading and insects, is low-slip, and requires very little maintenance, which ensures your deck looks as good as new many years down the road.
With that being said, if you are looking for a decking material that can be installed and essentially left alone so you can relax and enjoy your new outdoor space, then composite decking will be worth it. You can get a free quote for composite decking from us here.