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What is composite decking?

Defining Composite DeckingThe Cambridge English Dictionary defines composite as “made of various parts or substances.” To produce composite decking, manufacturers combine natural and synthetic ingredients. Most composite deck boards are a mixture of wood fiber, virgin or recycled plastic, and chemical additives.

Composite decking usually falls into two categories: uncapped wood composite and capped wood composite. Uncapped wood composite is the most susceptible to mold and mildew due to its exposed wood ingredients. Capped wood composite boards offer increased protection as they are sealed in a plastic shell.

Why choose composite?

If you’re planning to install decking in your garden, and don’t want to worry about constant upkeep, the best composite decking could be what you’re looking for. Composite decking is incredibly easy to install and while it might set you back a little more from the offset, it’s hard-wearing, long-lasting, and almost maintenance-free.

With minimal need to invest time and effort in its upkeep compared with the regular cleaning and sealing routine required with real wood, composite decking could work out to be a better value choice for you than traditional timber. And don’t worry, low maintenance doesn’t mean low quality or any need to compromise on the look of the finished area. In fact, composite decking is available in a wide range of contemporary colours and finishes – both realistic wood graining and grooved – to complement your house and garden.

Better still, even if your budget is a little limited, there are still plenty of attractive composite decking options out there.

Choosing the right composite for your project
Will your Deck be Hot in the Sun?

Dark-coloured and dense composite decking boards can really heat up in the sun. If you’re sitting in a deck chair on top of all that plastic, the reflected heat can make you sizzle like the burger on your grill. Get composite samples in different colours and set them outside on your deck site. If your composite boards are hot enough to fry an egg after a day in the hot sun, consider a lighter colour or a different composite material.

Composite Decking Design Considerations

Higher-end composites have a superior grain and the most wood-like appearance and feel. Some of the priciest deck material brands feature subtle shadings and individual “grain” variations so that no one board is an exact replica of another. Some manufacturers buff each board at the factory to remove any “plastic” sheen.

High-end composites also have a wider range of colors and matching add-ons such as railings, balusters, posts, post caps, skirts and decorative trim. These add-ons give your deck a beautiful look, but they don’t come cheap. They can easily be triple the cost of the decking boards.

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