Five Benefits of Composite Decking

Published Monday 08th June 2015

Composite decking has grown in popularity over the past few years – it’s a simple, no-fuss option in more ways than one, which continues to be a top favourite for builders.

In this guide we’ll explore what composite decking is, with particular focus Wood-plastic composites (WPCs) and how it compares to traditional materials.

A bit of background

Wood-plastic composites were first introduced into the decking market in the early 1990s and have since grown popular as companies introduced newer version.

They are manufactured from a combination of recycled plastics and hardwood waste. Equal parts of wood fibre and plastic are mixed with pigments, ultraviolet inhibitors, and borate preservatives. Then they are usually heated and extruded. If any texture is to be added, this is then embossed onto the warm surface before it cools.

Indeed, many composites are made from waste such as sawdust, used plastic milk bottles and shopping bags – all materials that would have just ended up in a landfill. 

Not only do WPCs combine the traditional appearance of timber with the durability of an engineered composite, we believe it’s such a diverse product and here’s five reasons why:

1. Safety first: Unlike regular decking, composite is slip-resistant and splinter-free. Also due to its innovative fittings, no nails or screws are needed to go through the deck itself – so it’s completely barefoot-friendly.

2. Upkeep: Composite decking is made of a mix of waste wood or cellulose fibre and plastic, so typically it requires only an occasional cleaning. The same goes for new non-wood railings offered in a variety of materials, including composite, vinyl, glass and metal. As well as being quick and easy to clean, you don’t need to paint, stain or seal it.

3. Durability: Whereas traditional decking can look just as appealing, it is easily weathered. Subject to harsh rain and blistering heat, the deck can fade and warp. Composite on the other hand requires little maintenance – it has high resistance to mould and wont split, splinter or rot, so is perfectly suited to environmentnal impacts and will last much longer. Because of its UV-stability, it won't crack or disintegrate due to sun exposure.

The average deck lasts between 15-20 years, whereas composite are said to last over 30 years. This all of course depends on how they were built, how they were maintained, what type of materials were used and what location.

4. Design: Without the use of nails and screws, the deck has a smooth surface, creating a smart and modern feel. Not only is it visually pleasing, composite decking can match the look of traditional timber or exotic hardwood. It also comes in a variety of colours to suit a range of styles and complement your outdoor living space. You should note that although most composite decking is relatively colour stable, there will be some initial colour lightening as the product weathers, which typically occurs in the first three months.

5. Cost: Indeed, the initial cost of wood is in most cases less in comparison to composite. However, when you add in the cost of on-going maintenance on a wood deck – such as cleaning and sealing every few years - a wood-plastic composite deck comes out on top. It can also add great value to a home, making it the perfect investment.

Our Product

Here at International Timber we have an immense range that gives you the design flexibility to achieve a look that suits your lifestyle. Just one of our products is Dura Deck – a type of composite decking.

We’ve summarised the key points of this product for you below:

  • Dura Deck is made from up to 87 per cent recycled materials and is 100 per cent FSC Certified
  • Requires no staining or painting
  • Low Maintenance - Needs only basic cleaning to maintain
  • Dimensionally stable - Dura Deck will not warp or rot
  • UV Certified to ISO 4892-2 so will survive the harshest of climates
  • Barefoot Friendly - Sub Surface easy fixing

What else?

When it comes down to it, composite decking versus traditional decking is a personal choice, but we hope we’ve highlighted all that wood-plastic has to offer, to ensure you choose the right material to suit your project.

And if you’ve got any questions about composite decking or more about what we have to offer then feel free to fire us a tweet. Alternatively, you can check out our full range of decking here.