In the past, decks were predominantly made from woods such as cedar, tropical hardwoods, and redwood. There are a variety of decking materials available in the market, and making a choice is dependent on several factors. Wood can be pretty expensive and composite decking is a more cost-effective way to add value to your home. There are several things you need to consider before choosing composite decking.
Not All Materials are Composite
Plastic high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and PVS are some of the older types of synthetic materials. They are no longer popular and are seen to be out of fashion. The best composite decking material is a mix of natural products from wood, such as vinyl or plastic resins and sawdust. The newest variation includes resins bonded with recycled bamboo.
High-Quality Materials Mimic Wood
Higher quality composites mimic wood remarkably and may cost more. Some composites actually have different tones and patterns, which mean that no two boards look alike. This feature is very attractive to deck builders and is a quality alternative to redwood or cedar.
Textured composite decking materials have the ability to collect dirt, which is hard to clean, even when with the aid of a power washer. The composites can also allow algae and mildew to accumulate, especially in very damp prone areas.
High-Quality Composite Decking Materials Tend to Cost More
The highest quality composite decking materials can be costly. Composite lumbar can be twice or thrice more expensive in comparison to cedar decking. The difference between the expensive and fairer priced composites is not the quality, but the texture, style, and color. Make sure you look at the fairer priced options first. If the planks are suitable for your proposed deck design and style, then you can definitely buy those ones instead.
Composites are Slippery Underfoot when Wet
The disadvantage of composite planks is that when they are wet, they get very slippery. The smooth planks often lack grip. If you are planning to use composite planks for the stairway or a pool deck, you might want to reconsider. Smooth composite decks can be very dangerous when wet, especially for young children. In many cases, local codes may have rules against the use of smooth planks for decks. In such situations, consider using pronounced textured planks.
Composite Decking Heats Up Easily
Don’t wait until you have invested in an expensive deck, only to discover that it can’t withstand direct sunlight. Some types of composite decking get so hot that it’s almost impossible to sit on or even walk barefoot. A swimming pool deck that you can’t walk on or bask in during the summer months is not worth the investment.
Before you choose a composite decking material, you need to carry some samples in different colors. Place the samples in direct sunlight to gauge how hot they can get. Dark colors always absorb a lot of heat than their lighter counterparts. In climates where the sun is very hot, you may consider other options other than composite, or else construct a shade to protect you and your loved ones from direct sunlight. The problem with darker colors is that they tend to fade with time, while lighter colors develop chalk-like coating.