Composite Deck: What it is and Why it Matters

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Man installing a composite back deck for his enjoyment

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A composite deck is a type of outdoor living space that’s made from a combination of materials, typically wood, and plastic.

This type of decking is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners, as it offers several advantages over traditional wood decking.

If you’re considering a composite deck for your home, you might be wondering what it is and why it matters.

Our blog post will answer these questions and more, providing you with a comprehensive overview of composite decking.

In this post, you’ll learn about the benefits of composite decking, including its durability, low maintenance requirements, and eco-friendliness.

You’ll also discover how composite decking is made, and the different types of materials that can be used to create it.

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to upgrade your outdoor living space, or a contractor looking to offer your clients the best possible decking options, our post on composite decking is a must-read.

So be sure to check it out and learn why composite decking is the way of the future!

Man installing a composite back deck for his enjoyment

Introduction

Composite decking is an innovative material that has revolutionized the decking industry.

It is a combination of wood pulp and recycled plastic that offers significant advantages over traditional wood decking.

This material has been around for nearly 25 years but it has only recently become widespread due to its many benefits.

Unlike wood, composite decking can be made with a variety of materials, including wood fibers, recycled plastics, synthetic fiber fillers, and UV inhibitors and colorants.

It is also highly durable and low maintenance, making it an ideal choice for homeowners who want an attractive and long-lasting outdoor living space.

Additionally, composite decking is better for the environment than traditional wood decking as it uses less natural resources and generates less waste.

There are many types of composite decking available on the market, so homeowners should research the options to find the best fit for their needs.

Definition of Composite Decking

The definition of “Composite Decking” is an important topic to understand when considering decking options.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, composite is defined as “made of various parts or substances.”

When it comes to composite decking, this means that it is constructed from a blend of organic wood flakes and recycled plastic.

This combination offers a more durable, low-maintenance, and eco-friendly alternative to traditional wooden decks.

The technology used in composite decking has also improved over time, with some manufacturers now producing decking with a hard plastic shell bonded to composite boards.

This additional layer of protection helps to enhance its longevity and aesthetic appeal.

Super Short History of Composite Decking

The history of composite decking can be traced back to the invention of wood-plastic composite by Dino and Marco Terragni, two brothers from Milan who patented the product.

In 1996, Trex was formed through a corporate buyout of Mobil Corporation and became the world’s largest manufacturer of timber-alternative decking.

Starting in the late 1990s, these composite materials began to gain widespread acceptance, leading to their use in both residential and commercial projects.

Thanks to their obvious benefits such as durability, low maintenance, environmental benefits, and aesthetics, these composite materials have become a popular choice for builders and homeowners alike.

What Materials are Used in Composite Decking?

Composite decking is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its durability, low maintenance, and environmental benefits.

It is created by combining wood fibers, recycled plastics, synthetic fiber fillers, UV inhibitors, and colorants.

The combination of these materials creates a strong and stable material that is resistant to fading and warping.

The wood fibers used in composite decking can come from sawdust, wood chips, or wood fiber.

Recycled plastics can be derived from milk jugs, detergent bottles, and other plastic containers.

Synthetic fiber fillers are also added to the mix to provide additional strength and stability.

UV inhibitors protect the composite decking from sun damage while colorants give the boards a unique look.

Wood Fibers

Wood fibers play an important role in creating composite decking, they are mixed with recycled plastics and other materials to create a strong, durable, and attractive decking material.

Wood fibers come from a variety of sources including sawdust, wood chips, and even recycled furniture.

They are often pressure-treated with chemicals to help protect against rot, mold, and insects. This makes them highly durable and resistant to the elements.

Some composite decking manufacturers use virgin wood fibers to ensure optimal performance.

These wood fibers can help add a natural wood grain look to the composite boards.

Recycled Plastics

Recycled plastics are a key component of composite decking, as they provide the necessary durability and resistance to the elements.

Trex claims that much of its plastic comes from 1.5 billion plastic bags that would otherwise have ended up in landfills or the ocean.

Manufacturers combine recycled plastics with wood fibers and other additives to create a strong and durable material that is resistant to moisture, rot, and warping.

The use of recycled plastic helps reduce our reliance on virgin plastic, making composite decks an eco-friendly choice for homeowners.

Synthetic Fiber Fillers

Synthetic fiber fillers are often used to create composite decking, as they help to reduce the number of wood fibers used in the decking boards.

These synthetic fibers can be made from a variety of materials, including polypropylene, polyethylene, and PVC.

They are designed to provide strength and rigidity, while also helping to increase the lifespan of the decking boards.

In addition, these synthetic fibers are also resistant to ultraviolet radiation, which helps protect the boards against fading and discoloration.

Synthetic fiber fillers offer many benefits when combined with wood fibers, recycled plastics, and UV inhibitors and colorants, making them an ideal choice for composite decking.

UV Inhibitors and Colorants

UV inhibitors and colorants are essential components of composite decking.

UV inhibitors protect the composite decking from fading due to sun exposure, while colorants add color to the composite material.

These additives are mixed into the composite before it is extruded and heated.

This ensures that they are evenly distributed throughout the material, resulting in consistent color and long-term protection against UV damage.

Composite decking manufacturers have developed a variety of color options to choose from, allowing you to customize your deck to suit your style and preference.

With the addition of these components, composite decking is now even more attractive and durable than ever before.

Benefits of Composite Decking

The benefits of composite decking are numerous, making it an attractive alternative to traditional wood decks.

Composite decking is incredibly durable and requires very little maintenance, saving homeowners time and money in the long run.

It is also environmentally friendly, using recycled materials to create a product that can be reused and recycled.

Furthermore, composite decks come in a variety of colors and textures, allowing homeowners to customize their outdoor living space with a unique look.

Finally, composite decks are more resistant to weathering, fading, scratching, staining, and mold than wood decks, ensuring that they will look great for years to come.

Durability

Composite decking is renowned for its durability. It is constructed from a mix of wood fibers, recyclable plastics, synthetic fiber fillers, UV inhibitors, and colorants.

This combination of materials makes composite decking highly resistant to fading, scratching, and mold, and it won’t rot or decay over time like traditional wood decks.

This makes composite decking a great long-term investment, as it requires minimal maintenance and can last up to 25 years with the proper care and cleaning.

Low Maintenance

Low maintenance is one of the key benefits of composite decking. Unlike wood decks that require regular refinishing and resealing, composite decks require minimal upkeep.

With a high-performance or “capped” composite deck, you won’t need to worry about fading, scratching, or mold—and it won’t rot like wood.

Furthermore, many composites come with a 25-year “fade and stain” warranty so you can be sure your new deck will remain beautiful for many years to come.

With less time spent on maintenance and upkeep, composite decks offer homeowners more time to enjoy their outdoor space.

Environmental Benefits

Composite decking has numerous environmental benefits. Its low maintenance requirements reduce the need for regular cleaning and staining, which also saves water.

Additionally, because composite decking is made from recycled plastics and other materials, it produces less waste than traditional wooden decks.

Composite decking is also free of splinters and offers more slip resistance than wood, making it a safer choice for children and pets.

Finally, composite decking is available in a variety of colors and textures that can be used to create beautiful outdoor spaces that complement the local environment.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics is another great benefit of composite decking. With no nails or screws needed, the deck will have a modern, clean look.

The composite material also comes in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, so you can choose the look that best matches your style and home.

Composite decks also resist fading and staining better than traditional wood decks, giving them a timeless quality that will last for years to come.

Types of Composite Decking

There are several types of composite decking available, each with its own unique features and benefits.

The most popular types include capped composite decking, uncapped composite decking, and PVC vinyl decking.

Capped composite decking is made from a combination of recycled wood fiber and plastic, and is more resistant to fading and staining than uncapped composite.

Uncapped composite is typically made from a blend of recycled wood and plastic, but may also contain other materials such as sawdust or fly ash.

PVC vinyl decking is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is waterproof, resistant to fading, and doesn’t require any painting or staining.

Composite decks are durable, low maintenance, eco-friendly, and attractive, making them an excellent choice for many homeowners.

– Can Outdoor Rugs Cause Damage to Composite Decks and Why Does it Matter?

Yes, outdoor rugs and composite decks can cause damage if the material underneath stays wet for a long time. This matters because moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, and may cause discoloration and warping. It’s crucial to use breathable rugs and regularly clean and air out the area to prevent damage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, composite decking is an ideal choice for homeowners who want to take advantage of the aesthetic appeal of natural wood without the hassle of maintenance.

Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fibers, recycled plastics, synthetic fiber fillers, UV inhibitors, and colorants.

This combination makes it strong and durable while also keeping it low maintenance. It is also environmentally friendly as it is made from recycled materials.

Finally, composite decks come in a variety of styles and colors to suit any outdoor space.