In recent times composite decking has come of age. While timber has, and will continue to be Softwoods’ go-to material for building decks and pergolas, we recognise the value of composite decking as an alternative option for building your outdoor living extensions.
The industry has not had an easy time getting to this point. Composites have been beset by problems and issues. However these have largely been resolved through the years and we now feel that the technology of some better quality composites is sufficiently reliable to make them a viable alternative to timber. The past few years, in fact, have seen composites become the fastest-growing decking material for residential use.
What Is Composite Decking?
Wood-polymer composites are an alternative, synthetic decking material manufactured primarily using wood chips and plastic. Both the manufacturing process and the end-products are environmentally friendly.
What are the Advantages of Composite Decking?
Composites offer a few advantages that make them popular as an alternative to timber.
- Weather resistant – No matter where you build your deck and what the climate is, composites will withstand the ravages of local weather extremes. Whether it rains all day or not at all, composite decking boards will perform equally as well whatever the weather.
- Stain, scratch and fade resistant – Most composite decking is engineered to withstand the wear-and-tear of daily use and spills are normally not an issue. Better quality composite decking boards supplied by Softwoods are protected by a capped polyurethane coat so that spilled substances that would ordinarily stain timber boards can easily be cleaned up on composite boards.
- Lightweight – Composite decking boards are often lighter than their timber counterparts, making them easier to handle, store and transport. This contributes to faster build times and corresponding savings.
- Resistant to degradation – Composites do not break down the way untreated natural timber can over time. They also do not degrade, and this is a significant advantage that offers the benefit of longer-lasting decks, patios and pergolas.
- Low maintenance – Perhaps the most appreciated and most evident advantage offered by composite decking is its low maintenance requirement. Composites do not require staining or sealing and can be left alone once you have installed them with no further maintenance required other than regular cleaning.
Is Composite Decking Right for You?
So are composites the best choice for your decking project? The quick answer is, it depends. As with anything as important and as complex as your home’s outdoor living extension, there is more to the question than meets the eye. To get the best answer you need to review your own requirements and weigh the pros and cons before you decide. Here are some points to consider.
- What is your budget? This includes not just the cost of the build, but also the regular maintenance requirements as well. Composites are more expensive than timber decking, however over time timbers maintenance requirements might mean that composites are a more economical choice.
- What weather conditions do you expect your deck to be under? While composites are able to withstand virtually any type of weather condition, there are some issues that arise when they are subject to weather extremes. Darker-coloured composites absorb more heat when left under the direct sun. At the same time, if composite decking boards are constantly drenched by days of continuous rain they may become slippery (though this is a problem that applies to all types of floor covering) If you can mitigate these situations by using lighter coloured and textured composites then it may work for you.
- Does your deck need to have the look of real timber? There is no doubt that natural timber looks very good and many of the cheaper composites will be hard-pressed to reproduce the luxurious appearance of timber. There are brands such as Trex and Millboard with decking boards that look just like the real thing, but this level of quality does come at a price.
- Does the composite material comply with code? You will need to check with Council if the composite you wish to use is up to code. Major brands such as Trex and Millboard are certified for decking in most areas, but it won’t harm you to make sure.
- Have you taken into account all the extra decking features? A deck is seldom bare; it often comes with stairs, railings, posts and other features. Can the composite decking system you select easily accommodate these extra features?
Softwoods and Composite Decking
Timber is our business. Softwoods have been selling and building with timber for over thirty years. It is our preferred material when it comes to building beautiful outdoor living extensions that enhance the appearance and increase the value of your property.
So why is a thirty year old timber company selling composite decking boards? Like we said earlier, it’s about providing our customers with more options to build their decks, patios, pergolas, carports and other outdoor extensions. We recognise the advantages and opportunities offered by composites to homeowners and builders. And we can see that the industry and composites technology has developed to a level that allows us to offer these products with confidence.
Softwoods have partnered with two market and technology leaders in composites:
Trex is the world leader in composite decking. They invented composite decking and continue to define it with their high quality and low maintenance line of composites. Click on the logo below to visit our Trex page.
Millboard touts itself as the next generation in composite decking. Its products contain no timber and no plastic; they are hand-made from a polyurethane resin and styled from real oak timbers, giving them that natural timber finish. Click on the Millboard logo below to visit their page here in the Softwoods site.