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Nothing says summer like grilling your back deck and watching the lazy hazy days of summer pass by! When you’re not grilling finding a comfy hammock or chaise lounge may be more your speed. But maintaining a wood deck can cut into your relaxing summer plans – from scrubbing, staining, re-staining and replacing old and worn boards.
Worn and damaged deck boards can leave painful splinters in your feet and put a huge damper on your summer plans. Sure, wood decks can be beautiful and charming but do you really want to commit your hard earned free time to its maintenance and upkeep? Do you really want to spend a beautiful summer day pressure washing, repairing and replacing damaged boards then sealing and staining your wood deck? My guess is that your answer is a hearty NO! I bet you have better ways to spend a nice summer day! If that is the case you may want to consider replacing your wood deck with a composite deck. If you’re not convinced about the benefits of composite decking building materials read on and allow me to explain how investing a new composite deck makes perfect sense for any homeowner.
All About Composite Deck Materials
Maybe you’ve never even heard of composite decking or maybe you have but weren’t very impressed with the first wave of composite decking materials out on the market. Well let me be the first to tell you that composite decking has come a long way since it was first released into the market. Like any new product on the market it sometimes takes time for manufacturers to perfect their products. Early versions of composite decking in the early 90s had a tendency to warp really bad leaving many homeowners unhappy with their investments and unable to fully enjoy their decks. Fast forward almost 30 years and you will see a much higher quality of composite decking. No more warping and best of all the lifespan of composite decking material has increased from 10-15 years to 25-30 years! The long lifespan of composite materials has really contributed to its popularity with homeowners.
As compared to wood and metal decks, composite decks are very low maintenance. Not ‘no maintenance’ but definitely low maintenance. With some occasional maintenance you can significantly extend the life of your composite deck and keep it functional and beautiful. Like all other forms of building materials, composite decking can also be susceptible to mold and mildew. However, the good news is that ridding your composite deck of mold and mildew is a much simpler and less time consuming process. Rather than getting out the pressure washer, scrub brush and stain you can simply wash a composite deck with some soap and soft brush to restore the surface. Composite decking also does very well with pressure or power washing. Composite decking should be cleaned at least annually so that dirt and grime don’t build-up making it harder to clean and maintain in the long run.
Composite vs. Wood Decking
In addition to the benefits of being low-maintenance, composite decking also offers many other advantages over wood decking. Composite decking is made from recycled material so the manufacturing of this product is very environmentally friendly and less harsh on the environment than the process of producing pressure treated wood that is needed for building wooden decks. Another reason why composite decking has become so popular with home owner sis that it won’t splinter or crack over time so kiddos and pets can walk and play on the deck without fear of getting those painful splinters. Composite decks are also stain and fade resistant which means that spills won’t turn into stains leaving your deck looking brand new. Stain resistance is very important to homeowners who like to eat and barbecue on their decks. As if all of these qualities are enough, composite decking is also very resistant to insects and pests that can cause rot damage to wood decks. They also stand up strong to anything that Mother Nature can throw our way – rain, hail, snow, sleet, hot sun.
So Many Options To Choose From! Selecting The Right Composite Material For You
Like most building and remodeling products and materials, composite deck building materials range in price and quality – high, mid and low varieties. It’s no surprise that quality has a direct effect on the lifespan and durability of the product. Quality also affects the fade and scratch resistance of the deck. High end composite materials also offer a larger variety of color and texture options for a more customized look and style. High quality composite decking can so closely mimic real wood grain patterns that many people don’t realize it is composite material rather than real wood!
It is important to understand that there are two types of composite boards – solid and hollow. Understanding the difference between them can help you choose the best material for your project. Hollow composite boards are less expensive but boards tend to be stronger and studier plus they also look more like natural wood. That’s the good news. The ‘con’ to hollow composite boards is that the hollow parts are susceptible to storing water which can lead to warping damage. It is important to consider your lifestyle and needs when choosing the right materials for your deck. While composite decking is scratch resistant it can still be scratched, especially by pet claws however scratches can easily be sanded out.
Another important consideration is whether or not your deck will receive direct sunlight in the hottest part of the day. If the area does receive direct sunlight it is important to select the composite material with the highest UV protection to avoid severe fading. Another consideration for decks that will receive lots of direct sunlight is that that it will get hot so it may be best to choose a light color that will retain less heat. If your deck will be in close proximity to a pool a good idea is to choose a textured composite decking that will help avoid slips and falls around the pool. As with most projects a successful outcome will depend on fully understanding your lifestyle, weather conditions in your area and of course, budget.
Is It Time To Replace?
Now that I have explained all of the great benefits of composite decking material you may be interested in learning more and trying to determine if it makes sense to replace your current wood deck. As an honest and reputable contractor, I would tell you that the decision will depending on several factors. First, is your current deck structurally sound? If your current deck is structurally sound, composite boards can be built right on top of that foundation for a quick and relatively painless process. The better news is that you won’t need new construction permits to start the process.
If your design plans involve a complete re-build or enlarging your deck or making it multi-tiered then a permit is generally required before beginning the project. Whatever your deck projects involve the most important aspect is to hire a professional deck contractor that has plenty of experience building with composite materials and completely understands how the material reacts to temperature fluctuations throughout the year.
If you are considering a new deck or replacing wood boards with composite decking, give our team a call for superior results that you can count on!