If you’ve been exploring the possibility of building a new deck, chances are you’ve come across the term “composite decking”. From the big box retailers to small mom n’ pop hardware stores – all will swear by the product. You’ll likely hear phrases like “if you’re building outside, composite decking is the way to go”. At Windeck, we completely agree!
However, that’s just touching the surface – you’ve been recommended the product, but what is it, exactly? And, why does everyone recommend building your deck from composite materials? Surely, there are other considerations to make before blindly jumping in headfirst. What else should you know about the product – before you begin your project?
Don’t worry, your friends at Windeck have your back. After reading this article you’ll know everything you need to when it comes to using composite decking for your backyard deck project!
Our discovery starts here, with composite decking formed from a combination of wood flour PVC or reclaimed wood fibres and polyethylene or recycled plastics. Some varieties of non-wood composite, called PVC, have a fibre-like inner structure which is produced by special technology. The results are a product that is nearly 50% lighter than a traditional wood composite board.
Behind every product and design decision we make, we’ve always analyzed all the possible factors for you. Maybe you’re wondering why we would recommend such a product? Here are some of the top benefits of using composite decking for your deck.
Composite decking is highly durable and very strong – it can hold immense weight and is resistant to wear.
Unlike traditional lumber or other decking products, composite decking doesn’t need to be stained, or painted. It’s also easy to clean and relatively speaking, easy to install.
Composite material is perfect for the harsh weather in Manitoba; from extremely cold temperatures in Winnipeg to the ultra humid heat of summer – it stands up to the elements.
In addition to the above list, composite decking has some of the longest life spans of a product. It’s deterrent to mould, rot, and fungal decay, it has pest resistant, doesn’t warp, twist, splinter or crack – which means your deck will last for many years!
This article isn’t here to sell you on composite decking, but more so to give you the facts about the product, so you can decide for yourself. There are some drawbacks to using composite materials for your next deck project.
Easily one of the biggest factors in deciding to use composite or not. However, as our motto “do it once, do it right” suggests, we believe in the longevity of the product which eliminates costs and headaches required during maintenance.
Due to how they are manufactured, composite decking shouldn’t be painted or stained. While you can’t change the colour of the material, we can help you select options that are timeless and reflect your personal style.
There’s a plethora of styles and options available. We could likely write an article for each of these topics themselves. However, we’ll quickly run through the styles and options – and if you have any further questions about any specifics, give us a call!
Composite decking can be categorized by three types – non-capped, capped, and pure PVC. The non-capped composite was originally how the decking materials were formed, but this has been largely phased out due to issues and complications with the product.
Capped composite decking is the modern approach to the construction of the materials, solving the issues found with non-capped boards. Capped composite has a core that is surrounded by a hard PVC outer layer on its sides, which creates the barrier to combat the elements. It’s also notorious for fading from sunlight exposure and most “clean-design” fastening systems aren’t compatible.
A pure PVC isn’t a combination of materials – but instead is manufactured using high-grade plastics. They are the ideal material for deck construction due to being heat, fire, and scratch-resistant, lightweight, durable, fade-resistant, and not pervious to defects, termites, and rot. The PVC board coating is more of a resin, which stops fading. It works with fastening systems that allows for a clean-looking installation. The other clear advantage of PVC is it can be bent or folded much easier, which is an innovative tactic we deploy and is featured in our story for “Privacy, Pergola, Pool Party Paradise”, found in our inspiration showcase.
In addition to the types available, composite also comes in a variety of shapes, and each has a specific use or benefit. There’s solid shape – similar to a plank of wood; slotted shape – which features a notch cut out of each side for fastening; and ridged shape – that allows you to only use one side of the board for stairs and finishing purposes.
When making any selection in life, you should do your research. When planning your backyard paradise, we advise you to seriously consider using composite decking. If you decide to not use a composite decking material for your deck build, make sure you also calculate how it may impact your lifestyle, project goals, budget, and other factors.
It’s very simple and you’ll need no special tools or processes. First, your deck won’t require cleaning often, however, when it does – all that’s required is a soapy mop and garden hose. As well, you could use a pressure washer set to a low-pressure setting.
If you are a DIYer and are taking on the project yourself, you won’t need to purchase any new tools. Composite decking materials can be cut, drilled, and fastened using the same tools you use for wooden products.
When building your deck, framing your composite deck might be different from the spacing and techniques used for a traditional wood deck. We recommend sticking to a joist span of 12-inches on-centre. And, if diagonal, it must be 12-inch centres.
Also, chances are your joists aren’t built or available in composite materials. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to build using composite materials unless you protect the underlying structure. We recommend wrapping your joists in a UV-treated waterproof membrane before installing composite decking.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it does offer an in-depth look at composite decking. We’re hoping the information you found in our article will lead you to decide on what type of material to use for your deck building project. And of course, if you have questions, or if you’d rather leave the decision to the experts – we’re here for you!
We’ve been working with composite decking for a long time. We have a unique relationship with our valued supplier – Wolf Home Products. As part of our expertise, we’ll take you through the in’s and outs of options, colours, styles, types, and what makes sense for your project.
We’re in the business of building backyard paradises. They not only look good on day one, but can stand the test of time, and continue to shine for the years to come. If you’re looking for reasons to build with Windeck – we can give you several! But if you’re ready – set a consultation with our team – use our website form or give us a call today – 204.231.2741!