If your family is looking to maximize their outdoor living space, one of the most effective ways to do so is by building a deck. Done well, a deck is a beautiful, functional, and durable addition to any outdoor living space. Not only does it look great, but the addition of a deck to your home can also:
- Increase property value
- Provide new outdoor storage opportunities
- Offer a built in outdoor entertainment area
- Reduce landscaping maintenance by minimizing planting
With so many perks, it’s unsurprising to learn a deck is one of the most popular outdoor installments added to homes today. But simply choosing to build a deck is easy. The hard part is what comes next.
Deciding on design, size, and shape takes work to ensure what you build is the right fit for you and your family. But without a doubt, one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your deck is the physical material it is built from.Modern decks are constructed from a few main materials, the most prominent choices being natural or treated hardwoods, and a newer system of materials called composite decking.
Composite decking has gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. From extended durability to low-to-no upkeep, it’s appeal is understandable. But is it worth the price tag? Here are some key reasons to consider composite material for your next decking installation.
What is Composite Decking?
To understand the benefits presented by composite decking, it’s important to know what it is. Unlike PVC or natural wood decking, composite decking is just what it sounds like- a composite blend of more than one material. While the materials and blends used to create composite decking can vary by company, it is generally accepted that composite decking is made from a blend of wood and plastic materials.
These raw materials are combined, melted, and then formed into a traditional lumbar shape. Some companies may then further protect the material by capping it with a polypropylene seal to protect from fading from the sun and other potential damage from elements. The result is a composite material that can be made to mimic almost any color, texture, and grain found in traditional wood.
Hardwood decks are inarguably beautiful, but they are not always in it for the haul, so to speak. Susceptible to rotting, fading, cracking, and splintering, hardwood decks can be a gamble, especially for those unwilling to do the leg work to maintain them.
Composite decks solve nearly all of these common problems found in the use of natural wood. The composite plastic and wood blend means the porosity that leaves traditional wood vulnerable is not present in a composite deck. While you may have shied away from watering planters, grilling, or even eating and drinking staining foods on a wood deck for fear of causing rot, stains, and damage, none of these activities need to be avoided on a composite deck.
For many, this durability means that the initial higher price investment is worth it for a product that is guaranteed to go the distance. Sure, it’s a little more money upfront, but the peace of mind in knowing your investment directly results in longevity is worth it for many homeowners.
Sustainable / Eco-Friendly
Eco-friendly or sustainable landscaping is big talk in today’s landscape design community, and many homeowners are choosing to prioritize their impact on the plant when designing their spaces. Composite decking offers an environmentally friendly appeal that many eco-conscious consumers are after.
Because of the mixed nature of composite decking, many companies boast that up to 90% of the materials in their composite lumber is made from recycled products. This means that most composite decking is done without cutting any trees. Instead, you can expect most composite lumber to be made from recycled wood scrap, and plastic material such as shopping bags and other plastic waste that may have otherwise found its way into your local landfill.
Low To No Maintenance
One of the biggest headaches of traditional wood decking is knowing that after it is installed, the work does not stop. Yearly and even twice-annual deep cleaning and sealing is in order for a hardwood deck that will last you more than a few years in good shape. Even pressure treated wood must be cleaned and sealed because as it may be resistant to insects, sun and rot are still very much a problem. All of this maintenance can be enough to be put off the idea of a deck altogether.
It should come as no surprise, then, that for many home owners the biggest appeal of composite decking is its overall lack of maintenance. Once installed, its inherent durability means that there’s no staining, sealing, or treating needed to keep it looking great. Simply spraying and giving a quick general cleaning is enough.
Furthermore, when it comes to traditional wood decking maintenance, time is not the only cost involved. All the sealing, cleaning, and other investments needed to prevent fading and rot can add up to a sizable dent in your bank account. All this extra money means that over the years, the upfront cost of composite decking will even out if not end up being the more affordable option.
Because companies are confident in the longevity and lifespan of composite decking materials, it means that most composite decking is installed under great warranties. It’s not uncommon to see companies like Trex or TimberTech offering product warranties of up to 25 or even 50 years. So, if something does go wrong, you can feel confident knowing that it likely will not put an unexpected dent in your bottom line.
It’s already well accepted that installing a deck on your property is a great way to increase the overall value of your home. But composite decking offers additional value in its appeal during resale. Though you may accept and acknowledge the upkeep required to maintain a natural wood deck, many prospective homeowners may not be up to the task. It can be a lot to sign up for, and could leave prospective buyers cautious, or dedicated to the idea of removing the deck upon move in.
Composite decking sells itself and your home by promising to provide all the function and appeal of traditional decks, without signing up for years of time, labor, and extra money. Future buyers are simply getting what they pay for without any additional strings attached.
Retain The Look Of Wood
We know that much of what drives people to continue to choose traditional wood, aside from upfront costs, is that they believe there is nothing that can ever truly mimic the appearance of natural hardwood. While it may be true that nothing has met the mark for the most discerning of eyes, composite decking technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade.
Nowadays, you will not have to look far for composite decking that will fool most people. Industry experts can produce a staggeringly wide range of colors, textures, grains, and finishes that look great at a distance and even up close. This variability also means you’ll be able to customize the look of your deck to an extremely high degree.
While not all-natural wood is suited for every climate, composite decking puts no limit on what type of finish of wood you can bring to your space. From redwoods to mahogany, walnut, and more, composite decking has recreated the look and finish of natural material to last for decades in your outdoor living space.