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The perfect deck can take your backyard from being a hassle to maintain and turn it into a fun retreat for hosting barbeques and family get-togethers. 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.
Composite wood decking is usually made from recycled materials like wood waste from furniture factories, plastic bags, or milk jugs. So, when you build a composite deck, not only are you investing in an entertainment space that will last for years, 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.
Composite deck boards are manufactured by mixing and heating the ingredients, including a colorant, 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.
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.
If your deck project is not in direct contact with the ground, you’ll need to use a different material for your structural support. This is often pressure-treated lumber. However, even if traditional lumber provides structural support, you can still use composite wood for the decking, rails, and posts.
Not surprisingly, composite decking is also a popular choice for docks, floats, walkways, and pool decks. Deck boxes and enclosures can also be made from composite decking to match the rest of your building project.
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 with or without predrilled holes. There are also composite deck fastening systems that deliver a clean, smooth surface.
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.
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 of the time you would’ve spent maintaining a wood deck and use it to enjoy your backyard!
When it comes to composite decking, most materials must be special ordered to make sure you get exactly what you want. 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.