A deck is a happy addition to your home providing space for both entertainment and relaxation. It is also perfect for soaking in some sun while getting your morning shot of caffeine. Once you have made your decision to go for a deck, the next step is to zero in on the material to be used for building your deck. Wood has always been a popular option but given its cost, maintenance, and repair issues, many people today prefer to go for composite decking which, though expensive, boasts of a longevity and weather-resistance which is unmatched. What’s more, the developments in the industry have resulted in greater variety in material mix, color options, and appearance. Composite decking also has a high green quotient as it is made by recycling waste: used plastic milk jars, discarded shopping bags, saw dust, etc. keeping these highly toxic and non-degradable materials away from landfills.
So, what is the best composite decking option for you?
Let’s take a look at some of the factors to be considered:
- Budget: There are a variety of composite decking materials available in the market costing anywhere from $3 to $7 per sq ft. The price differential is mainly due to differences in design and colors, wood fiber-plastic ratio, texture, and installation system. Of course, you also need to factor in the cost of installation and add ons like railings, posts, skirts, decorative trims, balusters etc. before coming at a final budget figure.
- Exposure to Elements: Another factor to consider is the amount of exposure to sun and water your deck will have to endure. A dark colored solid composite will become super hot when exposed to harsh sunlight for long hours. Similarly, if your area gets too much rain or your deck is going to be near a swimming pool, a decking material with a smooth structure may become wet, slippery and dangerous and it would make sense to go for textured composite material.
- Appearance: Individual choice and preference also plays a part in deciding the best choice for you. If you prefer a wood-like look with shades and grain and matching add ons, it will cost you more. On the other hand, you could look at your deck as a practical addition and go for basic material with minimum add ons to minimize costs.
- Approved material building costs: Finally, you need to check if the materials you have chosen meet the building codes in your city as some materials are not approved by city authorities to be used for decking or stair building purposes.
Types of Composite Decking Material
There are mainly two types of composite decking material:
- Solid Composite Decking Boards: These are stronger with higher load-bearing capacity. They also have a wood-like appearance however; it is more prone to expansion and contraction due to temperature fluctuation. It is also more expensive than hollow composite boards.
- Hollow Composite Decking Boards: These have an artificial look but also a smoother appearance. It is less expensive and also does not get much affected by the elements.
A word on Capped Composite Decking Material
This material is revolutionizing the industry as it greatly enhances the deck’s durability by making it weatherproof. These of composite boards are capped with a thin polymer shell on all sides making it immune to staining, fading, and insect infestation.
The best composite decking is one which meets your requirements within your budget and allows you to marry beauty with practicality.