best composite decking

Best Composite Decking

Composite decking is all the rage these days in the realm of outdoor living, and rightly so. It delivers an array of advantages that traditional timber decking just can’t compete with. Thanks to its hybrid make-up of wood fibres and plastics, the best composite decking is a robust, low-upkeep option that braves the elements while keeping pests and decay at bay. 

With its combination of longevity, low maintenance, and sheer aesthetic charm, it’s no wonder composite decking has become the first choice for many people aiming to upgrade their alfresco living spaces. 

However, let’s not rush into things. While opting for best composite decking may seem like a no-brainer, zeroing in on the perfect brand can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. 

What Should You Be Eyeing When Choosing Composite Decking? 

Wondering where to kick off your quest? Bear in mind that your the best composite decking will be the linchpin of your outdoor haven. Naturally, you’ll want it to be the epitome of both style and substance. Color and texture are the first things to ponder, but remember, good looks aren’t everything. You’ll also want to consider how well your chosen decking will stand up to the elements over time. 

And speaking of time, what does the warranty say about the years to come? If being eco-conscious is on your to-do list, then look for brands that sport green certifications or follow sustainable manufacturing practices. 

And let’s not overlook the financial aspect. Unless you’ve got a money tree hidden in that soon-to-be decked backyard of yours, value for money should be a prime concern. With some brands charging up to a jaw-dropping $60 per square foot, checking out consumer

reviews becomes essential to ensure you’re not compromising on quality. After all, a deck is an investment, not just a purchase. 

The Material for the Best Composite Decking 

Choosing the best material for composite decking is crucial because it influences not only the appearance of your deck but also its durability and maintenance requirements. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular materials to consider when looking for the best composite decking: 

  1. Polyethylene-Based Decking

This is the most commonly used material in composite decking. It offers a good balance between cost and performance, making it a popular choice among homeowners. The material is resistant to rot, but it’s not as strong as some other options. 

Pros: 

  • Affordable 
  • Resistant to rot and pests 

Cons: 

  • Less strong than other materials 
  • Can get quite hot in the sun 
  1. Polypropylene-Based Decking 

This is a stronger and more heat-resistant version of polyethylene-based decking. It can be a bit pricier but offers better overall performance.

Pros: 

  • Stronger than polyethylene 
  • Better heat resistance 

Cons: 

  • Slightly more expensive 
  • Less variety of color options 
  1. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) 

PVC decking is among the best in terms of durability and maintenance. It doesn’t contain any wood fibres, making it extremely resistant to rot and pests. It also usually comes with an excellent warranty but tends to look less like natural wood. 

Pros: 

  • Extremely durable 
  • Virtually maintenance-free 

Cons: 

  • Looks less natural 
  • Higher cost 
  1. Hybrid Composite Decking 

This is a new category of th best composite decking material that utilizes both wood fibre and plastics. The wood provides a natural appearance, while the plastic offers durability. 

Pros: 

  • Natural appearance 
  • Durable 

Cons:

  • Newer to the market, so less proven 
  • Can be expensive 
  1. Capped Composite Decking 

This type of decking is made with a wood-plastic composite core but is wrapped (or “capped”) with a layer of higher-performing material that provides better stain, fade, and scratch resistance. 

Pros: 

  • Excellent durability 
  • Good resistance to the elements 

Cons: 

  • Higher price point 
  • Less environmentally friendly due to the plastic cap 
  1. Aluminum Composite Decking 

Aluminum is a less common but highly effective material for composite decking. It’s extremely durable, lightweight, and resistant to rust and decay. 

Pros: 

  • Highly durable 
  • Lightweight 
  • Rust and decay-resistant 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
  • Can be slippery when wet 
  • Limited design options
  1. Bamboo-Based Composite Decking 

This eco-friendly option uses bamboo fibers instead of traditional wood fibres, often mixed with recycled plastics. 

Pros: 

  • Sustainable 
  • Strong and durable 
  • Unique appearance 

Cons: 

  • Can be costly 
  • Limited availability 
  1. Co-Extruded Composite Decking 

Co-extrusion involves covering a core material with a layer of another material for enhanced performance, often coupling recycled wood fibres with a durable polymer shell. 

Pros: 

  • High performance 
  • Durable and long-lasting 
  • Good weather resistance 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
  • Limited color options 
  1. Mineral-Based Composite Decking

A newer addition to the market, this type uses minerals instead of wood as the composite material. It’s exceptionally resistant to fire and pests. 

Pros: 

  • Fire-resistant 
  • Unaffected by water or pests 
  • Durable 

Cons: 

  • Higher cost 
  • Limited design and color options 
  1. Recycled Plastic Lumber (RPL) 

Completely devoid of any wood fibres, RPL is made entirely from recycled plastics. It’s an eco-friendly option that is growing in popularity. 

Pros: 

  • Eco-friendly 
  • Extremely low maintenance 
  • Resistant to rot, decay, and pests 

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t look like natural wood 
  • Can be expensive 
  1. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) 

Made from denser plastic, HDPE decking is highly resistant to moisture and UV rays but can be more expensive than other types of plastic-based decking.

Pros: 

  • Highly moisture resistant 
  • Durable 
  • UV resistant 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
  • Limited color options 
  1. Rice Husk Composite 

Using rice husks in combination with polymer resins, this type offers excellent water resistance and durability, and it’s also eco-friendly. 

Pros: 

  • Eco-friendly 
  • Good water resistance 
  • Durable 

Cons: 

  • Less common, so may be harder to find 
  • Can be expensive 
  1. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Decking 

PVC is another plastic-based composite decking option. It is lighter than wood-plastic composites but also tends to expand and contract during temperature changes. 

Pros: 

  • Lightweight 
  • Water-resistant
  • Available in a variety of colors 

Cons: 

  • Expands and contracts with temperature changes 
  • Not as eco-friendly as other options 
  • May look less natural than wood composites 
  1. Polypropylene-Based Composites 

Made from thermoplastic resins, this type of decking is often reinforced with glass fibers for increased durability. 

Pros: 

  • Heat-resistant 
  • Durable and tough 
  • Low maintenance 

Cons: 

  • Less natural appearance 
  • May be slippery when wet 
  • Costly 
  1. Mixed Plastic Lumber 

This type is made from a variety of recycled plastics, making it more eco-friendly and sustainable. 

Pros: 

  • Eco-friendly 
  • Low maintenance 
  • Resistant to rot and decay

Cons: 

  • Less structural strength compared to wood 
  • Limited design options 
  • May require additional framing support 
  1. Polystyrene Decking 

Polystyrene is another type of plastic used for decking. It has excellent water resistance and is often used for dock or marine applications. 

Pros: 

  • Excellent water resistance 
  • Durable 
  • Good for marine applications 

Cons: 

  • Limited design and color options 
  • Not widely available 
  1. Flax Fiber Composites 

Made from natural flax fibres, these composites are less common but provide a unique, natural appearance. 

Pros: 

  • Eco-friendly 
  • Unique appearance 
  • Good tensile strength 

Cons: 

  • Less durable than other composites
  • Limited availability 
  1. Cork-Based Composites 

Cork is another natural material that’s starting to make its way into the best composite decking industry. 

Pros: 

  • Natural look and feel 
  • Eco-friendly 
  • Soft underfoot 

Cons: 

  • Susceptible to wear and tear 
  • May fade over time 
  • Limited availability 

Top Tips to Install Composite Decking Like a Pro 

Hey there, DIY enthusiasts and home improvers! If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided that composite decking is the way to go for your outdoor space. The best composite decking offers the beauty of wood without the headaches of constant maintenance. But now comes the big question: how do you install it? 

The Necessities: Tools and Materials 

Before you start, you need to make sure you’ve got all the right tools and materials. Here’s a quick list for you: 

  • Composite decking boards
  • Joists 
  • Screws specifically designed for composite decking 
  • Power drill 
  • Miter saw 
  • Measuring tape 
  • Pencil 
  • Safety gear: gloves, goggles, and ear protection 

Pre-Installation Prep 

Don’t skip the prep work; trust me, it makes the whole process smoother. Different brands have their quirks, and you don’t want any surprises. Also, double-check your measurements. The last thing you need is to find out your calculations were off after you’ve started laying boards. 

Step-by-Step: Laying the Foundation 

Begin with the Joists: Secure the joists to the deck frame. Make sure they’re evenly spaced and completely level. 

Pre-drill Holes: Unlike wood, composite boards need pre-drilled holes to prevent splitting. 

Spacing is Key: Remember to leave adequate gaps between the boards for water drainage and thermal expansion. 

Screw Them in: Use screws specifically made for composite decking to secure the boards to the joists. 

The Finishing Touches: Edging and Fascia 

Once the main boards are down, you’re nearly there. Add the finishing touches with some edging and fascia boards. This will give your deck a polished look and help protect the edges from wear and tear. 

Potential Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them 

  • Not Pre-Drilling: Always pre-drill to prevent the boards from splitting. Ignoring Spacing: Don’t forget those gaps for water drainage and thermal expansion. 
  • Wrong Screws: Make sure you use screws designed for composite decking, not regular wood screws. 

The Top Brands for Composite Decking 

Looking to give your outdoor space a facelift or perhaps you’re venturing into the world of decking for the first time? Either way, we’ve got some good news for you the best composite decking is where it’s at these days. Durability, low maintenance, and stunning aesthetics? But, with so many brands in the market, how do you know which one to choose? 

The Leading Contenders: Top Brands to Consider 

The market is chock-full of options, but we’re here to sift through the noise and focus on some of the most reputable brands. Here they are: 

Trex 

  • Pros: Highly durable, wide range of color options, and eco-friendly materials. Cons: A bit on the pricier side but worth every penny for the quality.

TimberTech 

  • Pros: Excellent moisture resistance, diverse style choices, and a 30-year warranty. Cons: Limited availability in some regions. 

Fiberon 

  • Pros: Known for high-recycled content and a realistic wood grain finish. Cons: Some users report that darker colors can get quite hot in direct sunlight. 

Cali Bamboo 

  • Pros: Focuses on sustainable materials and offers a unique, bamboo-infused composite. 
  • Cons: Limited to a more natural color palette. 

What Sets Them Apart: Unique Selling Points 

Okay, you know the names, but what really sets each brand apart? Let’s delve deeper: 

Trex: Their high-definition grain pattern and rich color options are second to none. 

TimberTech: They offer ‘CoolDeck Technology’ that reduces heat absorption. Fiberon: Their multi-chromatic colors are designed to mimic exotic hardwoods. Cali Bamboo: Sustainability is their game. Their decking is 100% recyclable. 

Price Matters: What’s Your Budget? 

Let’s talk money. While composite decking is an investment, the cost can vary between brands. 

  • Trex: High upfront cost but low lifetime cost.
  • TimberTech: Moderately priced with financing options. 
  • Fiberon: More budget-friendly without compromising on quality. Cali Bamboo: Prices range depending on the specific product line you choose. 

Sustainability Going Green 

Thinking about the environment? Kudos to you! Trex and Cali Bamboo take the cake here, with both focusing on using recycled and sustainable materials. 

The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining Your Best Composite Decking 

So, you’ve made the savvy choice to install a composite deck in your outdoor space. Congrats! You’ve opted for durability, aesthetic appeal, and let’s face it, way less maintenance compared to traditional wooden decks. Even the most rugged, weather-resistant materials could use a little TLC. 

The Basic Must-Dos: Routine Cleaning 

First things first, let’s talk about the cleaning basics: 

  • Sweep Regularly: Remove debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt. Letting this stuff pile up can lead to stains and mould. 
  • Wash Occasionally: A simple hose-down every once in a while can work wonders. For tougher grime, a mild detergent should do the trick. 

Dealing with Stains and Spills 

Accidents happen, and that’s okay. Whether it’s barbecue sauce or red wine, here’s what you need to know:

  • Act Fast: The quicker you address the spill, the less likely it is to stain. Use Soap and Water: For most spills, a mixture of mild soap and warm water will take care of it. 
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Chemicals like bleach can damage the material and fade the colour. 

Getting Rid of Mold and Mildew 

Composite decking is generally resistant to mould and mildew, but it’s not entirely immune. 

Identify the Issue: Mold typically appears in shaded areas where moisture is trapped. 

Clean Properly: Use a composite deck cleaner designed for mould and mildew. Prevent Future Growth: Make sure your deck is properly ventilated and try to keep it dry. 

Seasonal Upkeep: Winter and Summer 

Depending on where you live, seasonal changes could affect your composite deck. 

  • Winter: Keep it snow-free as much as possible. Use a plastic shovel to avoid scratching the surface. 
  • Summer: Your deck can get hot in the summer. A little rinsing can help keep it cool to the touch. 

Advanced Care When to Bring in the Pros 

If your deck is showing serious signs of wear, like deep scratches or structural issues, it might be time to call in the professionals. They can assess the situation and suggest the best course of action, be it repair or replacement of certain parts. 

What to Avoid 

To keep your deck in tip-top shape, here are a few things you should avoid: 

  • Power Washing: This can cause damage if done incorrectly. 
  • Painting or Staining: Your composite deck is already designed to be fade-resistant, so adding another layer can make it look artificial and may void your warranty. 

Wrapping Up 

So, there you have it the top brands in the composite decking world. The right choice for you will ultimately depend on various factors such as budget, design preference, and even your eco-consciousness. The good news is, with brands like these, you’re likely to end up with a deck that not only looks amazing but also stands the test of time. 

Ready to take the plunge? Trust me, a composite deck is an investment you won’t regret. Feel free to drop a comment and share which brand you’re leaning toward. Happy decking! 

And there you have it a comprehensive guide to installing your composite deck. It might seem a bit intimidating at first, but take it step by step and you’ll be just fine. Now, go ahead, invite some friends over and show off your handy work. Your new composite deck isn’t just going to admire itself, you know!

Your all-encompassing guide to maintaining your composite deck. A little effort goes a long way to ensure your outdoor space looks fresh and inviting for years to come. After all, you’ve invested in a quality deck; why not take the simple steps to keep it looking its best? 

So, what do you think? Ready to give your composite deck the love and attention it deserves? You’ve got this! Feel free to share your deck maintenance stories in the comments below!

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