PRO Deck Doctor – Park City Custom Decks, Deck Restoration, Deck Builder
In the past ten years the composite deck material has managed to capture nearly 10 percent of the total decking market. Composite decking typically combines recycled materials such as plastics with wood. But recently the term ‘composite’ has included substrates such a vinyl and PVC and others. Regardless of what it is made of the term composite is meant to be an alternative to traditional wood decking.
The primary attraction to these types of products is it’s ‘maintenance free’ aspect. While no decking is truly ‘maintenance free’ there may be considerably less maintenance required for composite decking. Most manufacturers recommend periodic cleaning to insure the material retains it’s true appearance. Horizontal surfaces collects pollutants easily. These pollutants include pollen, and dirt. Allowing these pollutants to collect on the decking surface promotes mildew and fungal growth. If surfaces are not kept clean these organisms can eventually impregnate the composite materials Once this happens the wood infused into the composite continues to act as a breeding ground and the organisms growth becomes very difficult to eradicate. Manufactures of composite decking more longer promote their products as maintenance free but rather ‘virtually maintenance free.’ This is an important distinction because the consumer that purchases these products in this pretense in going to surprised to find that their alternative decking is deteriorating.
Staining or painting composite materials is an option. If one opts to stain or paint composite materials the maintenance increases. The biggest reason to stain a composite is restore the color of the decking. Color fading remains to be problematic with composite decking. Color fade is resultant of pigment failure. The pigment failure occurs for two reasons. Ultraviolet light breaks down the color pigments used in the plastics. The other reason colors fade is oxidation. The wood fibers in the composite oxidize causing a change in color. Manufacturers are working feverously to remedy this problem. Nexwood offers straightforward no nonsense information regarding expectations of composite materials.
Each manufacturer has their own set of features that promote certain aspects. Some of these aspects include hollow or solid core construction, embossed grain patterns tongue and groove assembly, incorporated hidden fastener designs, and complementary matching railing systems. The attraction to these products is very subjective depending on the wants of the purchaser. There are advantages and disadvantages to most aspects. It is important to investigate each product to see if they will work for your situation. One of the biggest things to look at if you are thinking to use composite decking is the framing. Many composite manufacturers require additional construction methods to ensure the integrity of the deck. Many composite decking materials weigh considerably more than traditional wood. If the composite has a large infusion of wood there may be large amount of moisture absorption. Check with the manufacture to verify the framing is adequate to support this additional weight.
We at PRO Deck Doctor specialize in wood decking. We receive questions on a regular basis regarding composites. As a result we investigate, intensely the claims made by manufactures. Million of dollars are spent on these products; both in formulation and marketing. There remains many misnomers.
In the meantime there are some advantages to composite decking, as of now nothing compares to the beauty of natural wood.