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What 4 Facts You Should Know About Composite Decking

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A beautiful big deck is a great feature of any home. However, wood decks require a lot of maintenance to keep them looking great. Instead of struggling to keep your wood deck looking good, get a composite deck. They are durable, low-maintenance and long-lasting. If you are considering getting a composite deck, check out these four important facts.

Composite Decks Are an Old Concept

Composite decks may seem like a new fad, but the concept has been around for a long time. In 1907, Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland wanted to make wood stronger by combining it with a synthetic resin. He called his resin polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride. It may be a mouthful, but it worked because when he combined it with wood powder filler, it created Bakelite or the first wood-plastic composite.

At first, this material was just used as an electric insulator because it was non-conductive. However, when the world entered World War II, the amazing benefits of this composite material made it a popular building material for many items, including warplanes. Finally, about 30 years ago, manufacturers finally began to use wood-plastic composite to start making durable, long-lasting decks.

They Were Originally Thought to Be Indestructible

At first, manufacturers raved about composite decks, claiming they were nearly indestructible and required no maintenance to keep them looking pristine. It sounded too good to be true, and it was. It was soon discovered that the first composite decks were easily scratched, cracked, warped, delaminated and they developed mold and mildew. Although composite decks have evolved since then, they still aren't indestructible or maintenance-free.

Despite not being flawless, composite decks still have many advantages over wood decks. They are more durable and can last years longer than a wood deck. On top of that, they require little maintenance during the life of the deck to keep them looking good. You should clean up spills as soon as they appear, and you may need to re-seal them occasionally. One common problem with composite decks is that they fade when exposed to the sun. Luckily, they only fade to a lighter shade instead of to grey like natural wood.

There Are Many Different Options

There are tons of options to consider when choosing your composite decking material. You can select from a wide variety of styles that mimic the look of natural wood. Keep in mind that the quality of the material plays a big role in how well the material mimics wood. Another option to consider is the color you want.

One extremely important option to consider is whether you want hollow or solid boards. As you may have guessed, hollow boards are less expensive because they use less material. On the downside, it's easy to damage them during installation. Solid boards are more expensive, but they look more like natural wood than hollow boards.

You Need a Skilled Contractor

When hiring a contractor to install your composite deck, make sure you get one with experience in installing composite decks. A skilled contractor understands the differences in installing a composite deck vs. a wood deck, so it is less likely to sag and so it has good drainage.

A skilled contractor can also tell you if a composite deck really is the best option for you. For example, if you live in a region that sees temperatures over 100 degrees regularly, your contractor can tell you why a composite deck may not be the best option. In extremely hot temperatures, a composite deck can lose 45 to 50 percent of its strength.

Although they aren't indestructible like manufacturers first thought, composite decks are extremely durable and last a long time. If you're tired of fussing with that old wood deck of yours, get rid of it, and get a composite deck. For more information or to get a quote, contact a deck contractor in your area today.