Composite decking is usually made from a combination of plastic and wood. The plastic used can be recycled or virgin material, and the wood is usually byproduct of the lumber industry like wood fiber, chips, and sawdust. These components are mixed and processed with preservatives and pigments, to form boards that look similar to wood. These boards are heavier, but do not have the same strength of wood. However, according to many composite decking reviews, this deck material is highly resistant to rot, will not warp, and does not require staining, painting or sealing. The only maintenance is regular sweeping, and washing the deck with soap and water once in six months. However, the decking might require application of a preservative depending on the percentage of wood used in the manufacture of the board.
Types of Composite Boards
Composite decking boards are categorized into two types; hollow and solid. The hollow boards are lighter in weight, and have to be handled carefully during the building process. Solid composite boards on the other hand are heavier and stronger, but they have a tendency to contract and expand with the fluctuation in temperature. The solid variety is usually the popular choice in Melbourne because it looks more like wood, and has better strength.
Types of Composite Materials
Material for composite decking is of three types: non-wood plastics, polypropylene with wood, and polyethylene with wood. In the composites containing wood, the percentage of wood will differ, ranging from 40 to 70 percent. Many Melbourne Composite Decking companies now prefer using polypropylene compared to polyethylene, as it has more strength, and has a lesser tendency to contract and expand. A reputable Melbourne-based Composite Decking company is Futurewood. Polyvinyl chloride is used in composites having zero wood content. Composite decking reviews suggest that due to availability of better technology, it now possible to make this type of material look like actual wood.
How to Choose the Right Material
While choosing the material for composite decking, you will need to consider the cost, color preference, location of the deck, and the fastener system. Among the three types of materials, non-wood plastics are quite expensive, and are much lighter in weight than the other materials. You should also remember that any type of composite material would be at least two times more costly than wood that is pressure treated. However, it will last you three times longer than any type of wood. If the location of your deck is directly in the sun, you will have to choose a material that has least tendency of fading. The desired color and texture will also play a role in your selection process, as you might not find your preferred color in certain materials. The fastening system also might play a role, as certain materials require special fasteners that are not preferred by some people.
Advantages of Composite Decking
Whichever material you choose there are definite advantages over wood, as seen from various composite decking interviews. Here is a list of the main benefits:
- Easy to clean and simple to maintain
- Does not require painting, staining or sanding
- Smooth finish that is free of splinters
- Material is more flexible, and provides more possibilities during construction
- Highly resistant to mold, insects and decay
- Majority of the materials used are recycled wood and plastic, making it an environmentally friendly option.