Decking Materials: Composite Decking

Get all the info you need about one of the most cost effective and low maintenance decking materials: composite decking.

Composite Decking

Composite Decking

A close up of composite decking materials on this beautiful composite deck.

Photo by: oneillbro


If you've ever scrubbed mold, mildew, dust and dirt from your formerly pristine deck, or, worse yet, had to replace a rotten board or an entire deck surface, you'll be pleased to know there's a low-maintenance, long-lasting option out there: composite decking. Whether you're planning a new deck or ready to replace an existing one, this synthetic decking material could be right for you.

Types of Materials for a Backyard Deck

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Finished Deck Will Provide Years of Enjoyment

A finished deck will add years of enjoyment, and can solve the problem of a sloping lot or poor access.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wood is Most Common Material for Decking

There are a variety of materials that can be used when building a deck. Wood is the most common material for decking. Make sure it is treated to prevent rot.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plastic Decking Ideal for Low-Care Design

There are a variety of materials that can be used when building a deck. Plastic decking is a low-cost option for decking. It is an ideal choice for low-care garden designs.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Decking Tiles Made from Soft Wood Easy to Repair

Decking tiles made from light softwood are easy to replace when they start to wear.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pretreated Lumber Can Be Stained or Left Natural

Wood stains can transform pretreated lumber used for decking material.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Some Decks Need Railings for Safety

Decks need safety railings if decking is too far off of the ground. These railings can be a decorative of the deck.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Decorative Deck Finials Added for Style

Attractive finials can be used to personalize deck posts and come in a variety of styles.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Composite decking's greatest advantage is also its greatest weakness, in the minds of some: it's not a natural material. Composed primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic, composite decking comes in a wide range of colors and stains, and it won't warp, split or crack. In trade for a long-lasting deck that will be relatively low-maintenance, you may have to sacrifice the look and feel of natural hardwood.

When it comes to composite decking, the best illustration of its value is probably in the warranty. Many brands of composite decking come with a 20-year or even lifetime warranty against degradation. Obviously, a natural wood deck wouldn't come with a similar guarantee, and would also require substantial labor to maintain.

Composite decking also comes in a variety of colors and textures that mimic the appearance and even the feel, to some degree, of real wood.

One thing to note regarding composite decking is that it's generally more expensive than low- to medium-tier natural wood decking—but it's reasonable to suggest that you're paying up front for less maintenance later.

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