A low maintenance composite deck is one of the key elements to enjoying the local climate.
When planning your dream deck, one of the most important decisions you will have to make, other than budget, is what type of deck material to use. This article is going to discuss using composite materials.
Back in the late 1990’s, composite materials became available to the average homeowner. Previously, homeowners were only able to choose which type of wood to use to construct their deck. Now, with composites available, people had not only another option but an option that could provide long-lasting decks with minimal maintenance.
In the early years, composite materials had some issues that caused concern for many homeowners. In the years since then, the manufacturers appear to have resolved those issues and improved the product.
When considering which materials would work best for your new deck, composite materials have benefits that you will want to consider:
- Low Maintenance – composite materials only need cleaning once a year. This allows you to thoroughly enjoy your deck during the best times of the year. With a wood deck, it will have to be cleaned and stained on a regular basis. Cleaning a composite deck is relatively simple. There are a number of products on the market specifically designed for composite materials. Just follow the directions for the brand you choose. A soft bristle brush and mild detergent will usually remove any dirt that builds up in between cleanings.
- Environmentally Friendly – manufacturers of composite materials use a combination of recycled wood and plastic in their products. This means no trees are cut down to build your deck, and plastics are kept out of the landfills. Also, because they use reclaimed wood, less is entering our landfills.
- Hidden Fasteners –With a composite deck, you can choose to use hidden fasteners that secure the boards from above. Using these will create a sleek, clean look for your deck. The fasteners are installed between the boards, but much less visible than using face screws. The other option is Cortex plugs. It is a plug of the same material as the board that goes in over a screw after it is countersunk that will help to make them less visible.
- Fire Zones – Sadly, many homes here in Colorado are located in fire zones. A composite material will burn, but not like wood does. When wood burns, it creates more fuel for the fire. A deck built from composite materials will basically melt, but will not create further fuel.
- Capped Products – manufacturers are now “capping” their products. This means the boards are wrapped in a layer of plastic. It allows the board to be embossed or colored, which will enable you to achieve the variegated look of a natural wood product. The material is also more resistant to scratching, fading, and staining than the uncapped materials. Not all capped products are entirely wrapped.
- Warranties – All manufacturers give a limited warranty. However, we strongly suggest that you research the warranty details for any product you are interested in purchasing. Most of the manufacturers are giving a 25-year Limited Warranty with their products. These warranties usually state that the materials shall be free from “material defects in workmanship and materials, and shall not split, splinter, rot, or suffer structural damage from termites or fungal decay.” On top of the standard Limited Warranty, some companies offer additional Limited Warranties, such as a 25-year Stain and Fade Resistant Limited Warranty on their capped stock. Another warranty that some manufacturers offer is a 25-year Removal and Replacement Limited Warranty. This is supposed to cover the cost of removing and replacing damaged boards.
- Other Advantages –
- One of the drawbacks of a wood deck is that over the years, you will experience warping, cracking, and splintering. This can not only result in an unsightly deck but can give you and your family splinters while walking. Composite materials do not have this issue.
- Brown rot, carpenter ants, and termites are also other problems that are seen in wood decks that do not receive the proper maintenance. Because composite decking is not a natural product, these issues are not a problem.
- While no decking material is scratch-proof or impervious to hail damage, composite materials are more resistant. The newer capped products are even more resistant than the earlier, uncapped decking boards.
This homeowner wanted to create an outdoor living space that would feel like an extension of their home. They also wanted to make sure that it would be low-maintenance and long-lasting. To achieve this, they decided to use a composite decking material laid at a 45-degree angle to the joists. We also built a deck cover using tongue and groove boards to help create a rustic look. For those quiet, cozy evenings at home, we installed the stucco fireplace and privacy half walls.
In order to take advantage of the fantastic views this customer had, they decided to build a composite deck that would last for a long time and be low maintenance. The decking boards are laid at a 90-degree angle to the joists with a dividing deck board at the far end of the deck. The railing is a custom built, powder-coated, wrought-iron railing that the customer designed. Instead of using ordinary metal posts, they decided to have us build stucco columns to keep the unique look they had created.
Our customer wanted to create a deck that would be very striking in its design. DBS designed a deck that used composite materials for durability and ease of maintenance. In order to create the look they wanted, we installed the decking boards at a 45-degree angle to the joists. We also installed a double picture frame around the outside of the deck, which resulted in the quadruple dividing boards that are seen in the picture. The railing posts and drink cap are also built of composite material with metal balusters.
As you can see, there are quite a few advantages to building a composite deck. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Decks by Schmillen. We have built numerous composite decks, completed the research, have the experience and knowledge, and continue to stay current with the newer products released to the market. We are always happy to recommend our trusted suppliers to you. We want to make sure our customers get the outdoor living space of their dreams!