Composite decking is the alternative to real wood. It’s a material that looks and usually feels like wood but instead offers many benefits that wood simply can’t. Not all composite wood decking is necessarily better than real wood, but there are certainly benefits to choosing an alternative decking material.
There are different varieties and even materials when it comes to composite decking, and decking professionals can help you make the best decision for which is right for your property.
How is Composite Decking Made?
Typically composite decking is made from a combination of plastic and wood. The types of plastic and wood materials and the blend of the materials vary based on the manufacturer. Some brands use up to 90% recycled materials and only 10% raw materials, which would include sawdust, wood fiber, or wood chips.
The two most common plastics are polyethylene and polypropylene. These vary mostly in hardness. Polypropylene offers more sturdiness because it’s less brittle and can handle more wear over time. However, polyethylene is easily recyclable and a favorite among composite decking manufacturers.
After the composite material comes together, the manufacturers will create composite decking boards. These boards are made from a process of melting the materials and coursing them through a die or a cast, so they come out in a typical lumber shape.
Is Composite Decking as Good as Traditional Wood?
In many ways, composite decking is better because most composite decking materials are mold, mildew, and pest-resistant. You shouldn’t have to worry about termites with composite decking, and often there is no allure to other pests either. Additionally, composite decking often requires less maintenance. You may need to pressure clean and make occasional repairs, but you will not need the regular sealing or refinishing that comes with traditional wood materials.
Composite decking should last more than 20 years, with minimal maintenance and occasional pressure washing. To top it off, composite decking is even more affordable or at least in the same price range. Composite decking can be made to look like most wood decking, including the more exotic or expensive options. Always speak with a decking professional before committing to any material.