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The Different Types of Composite Decking

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Spring is here, and the outdoor areas of your house may be in need of some attention and upkeep so you can enjoy them fully in warmer weather. But if you’ve been avoiding your deck because tasks like power washing, stripping, or reapplying paint and sealant are intimidating, you may have another option.

According to Bob Vila, switching to a deck made from composite boards can be a cost-effective way to enjoy many years on your deck with lower maintenance demands.

What Is Composite Decking?

An alternative to a deck made 100% of wood, composite decks are made of a blend of materials, such as (but not necessarily) wood scraps and plastic particles. The look and feel of a composite deck could differ in some ways from one made of a traditional type of wood, but there are also perks to consider:

  • Resistance to rot, mold, and mildew is one benefit of a composite deck. Composite boards are intentionally manufactured to be less vulnerable to moisture damage. According to Consumer Reports, you’ll never have to reseal or stain composite boards again.

  • A composite deck may be made from recycled materials, helping you feel good about your deck’s lesser environmental impact.

  • It may not be obvious to others that your deck is made of composite materials. You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice the look of a traditional deck to reap the benefits of composite boards.

What Are My Options With Composite Decking?

If every board of a deck is not made of 100% wood, then what is it made of? Here are a few options:

  • Wood-Based Composite: These boards do contain wood fibers, mixed with plastics as well. Wood-based composite boards will look the most like a traditional wooden deck board.

  • Capped Polymer: This type of board contains no natural material at all, but is instead completely made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic. These are the boards that are completely immune to rotting, since they contain no wood fiber.

  • Mineral-Based Composite: These boards also do not contain any organic material, but are made of plastic polymers and minerals such as calcium carbonate. A major benefit of mineral-based composites is that the boards are unlikely to expand or contract due to temperature changes, and mineral-based boards are also considered to be the strongest type of material available for decking.

Is a Composite Deck Right for Me - and What Type Do I Choose?

It may be time for you to switch to a composite deck, but first consider:

  • How much time can I or my family put into maintaining the deck year-round? Composite decks demand significantly less time and labor to maintain over time. While totally wooden decks can require fresh staining or sealing every other year, this will not be the case for composite deck boards.

  • How do I want my deck to look? What styles, colors, and materials match the exteriors of my home? It is important to factor in the look of every material you are considering for your deck.

  • What’s my budget? It’s worth noting that wooden deck boards cost less than composite boards upfront. You may decide that paying more to install a composite deck is worth the higher cost because it will guarantee significantly less upkeep in the years to come, but that is a personal decision.

Need an assessment on the future of your deck? Contact Marks Building Co. today

There are many factors to weigh when deciding on the future of your deck. Contact us to help you make the most out of your deck, whatever direction you decide to go in.

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