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Choose Composite Decking for Your Next Project

A great deck can transform your backyard into a fun place for barbeques and family gatherings and makes it easier to maintain. If you thought pressure-treated lumber or another wood like redwood or teak were the only choices, think again. Today’s composite decking comes in a wide array of styles and colors you can use to customize your deck completely.

An Eco-Friendly Choice


Composite wood decking is usually made from recycled materials like wood waste from furniture factories, plastic bags, or even milk jugs. So, when you build a composite deck, not only are you investing in an entertainment space that will last for years, but you’re also helping to reduce waste! In fact, some varieties are made from 100% recycled materials, with wood making up about half of the board’s total weight.

A Splinter-Free Project


Composite deck boards are manufactured by mixing and heating the ingredients, including a colorant and ultraviolet inhibitor, and then either extruding or compressing the material. In extrusion, the materials are forced through an opening in the shape of the board. In compression, the materials are pressed into a mold that’s the desired shape that may also have a wood-grain pattern. Unlike traditional wood, the boards that result from either process are entirely splinter-free.

Long lasting decking Long lasting decking

Uses of Composite Decking


Because of its composition, most composite decking can be heated and bent to get features like curved stairs and railings or intricate design elements.

Highly resistant to insects and rot, composite decking can be used for some ground-contact projects. It’s an excellent choice for a ground-level, patio-style deck. Because composite decking weighs about 45% more than traditional lumber, it tends to stay put. It’s also great for raised garden beds and even, depending on the structural requirements, for low retaining walls.

Framing underneath the deck had previously been only pressure-treated lumber to provide support and composite materials were not structurally sounds enough. However, recent advancements have been made and there are now composite options for framing giving your deck the opportunity to be completely composite (except for the fasteners).

Not surprisingly, composite decking is also a popular choice for docks, floats, walkways, and pool decks. Lighter-color options are recommended for pool areas as they will be less hot to the touch on bare feet. Deck boxes and enclosures can also be made from composite decking to match the rest of your building project. Composite materials have a higher burn temperature than typical wood decks, making them a great option if you live in wildfire-prone areas.

Working with Composite Decking


Composite decking can be cut using the same tools as traditional wood, using a circular saw or a miter saw. Most companies recommend using composite deck screws (only use fasteners specifically made for composites) with or without predrilled holes. Composite boards can be fastened in several ways:

  • Boards can have slotted grooves on the edges that provide a space for hidden fasteners.
  • Solid board options can be face-fastened or along the edge.
  • Open-flange works similar to tongue-and-groove and can have hidden fasteners.

Composite decking will need to be built with joists 16 inches on center to avoid board sag. Follow manufacturer's instructions for spacing to allow room for expansion and contraction.

Good for entertaining Good for entertaining

In It for the Long Haul


Composite decks can last for decades. Since this decking is made of recycled materials and capped with a durable plastic shell, it doesn’t trap moisture, grow mold, or attract insects. That means your overall maintenance decreases significantly. You don’t have to worry about rotted or warped wood, replacing random worn-out boards, having an uneven deck or rusty old nails sticking out when the wood starts degrading.

Balancing the Cost


While composite wood decking is a more significant up-front investment, the reduced maintenance means it’s more cost-effective in the long run. Because of how this decking is made, you don’t have to sand, stain, paint or reseal your deck. Occasional cleaning with soap and water will keep your deck in good shape. This means you can take all the time you would've spent maintaining a wood deck and use it to enjoy your backyard!

Get Just What You Need


When it comes to composite decking, most material will be ordered by your local store to make sure you get exactly what you want. We have great brands such as Trex and TimberTech. Contact your local store to find out what your composite decking options are and how to order them. They can help you choose your color, style, and the amount of material you need.