If you’re looking to add a deck to your garden, you may be surprised by the number of different choices available to you. Hardwood, softwood, composite wood, plastic…there are many different options to choose from, and each one has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.
Today, we’ve teamed up with TimberTech UK to take a closer look at composite decking, which is an increasingly popular choice among British homeowners. Composite boards are made by combining natural wood materials with synthetic polymers, resulting in a material that’s somewhere in between hardwood and plastic decking.
So why are so many people turning to composite decking these days? What advantages does this material have to offer?
Perhaps the most-trumpeted benefit of composite wood decking is the fact that it requires very little maintenance. Timber decking has to be treated every couple of years to keep it from becoming unsightly and – in the end – unusable. Composite deck boards, on the other hand, don’t need to be stained or painted, and unlike timber boards, they’re not prone to rotting, warping and splintering. Occasional washing is all that’s generally required to keep a composite deck looking good.
Improved slip resistance
Wood decking tends to become very slippery when the weather takes a turn for the worse, but happily, this is less of a problem for composite deck boards. Composite deck boards are less absorbent than their hardwood counterparts, so surface water dries quickly instead of seeping into the wood and creating a favourable habitat for mould and algae.
The hardwood decking industry is a notorious contributor to deforestation, and in recent years, we’ve even seen reports of UK shops stocking the by-products of illegal logging activity in the Amazon rainforest. Composite decking is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional timber decking – TimberTech boards, for example, are made using waste wood from the furniture industry that would otherwise have gone into landfill sites. The plastics used to create composite decking are increasingly coming from environmentally-kind sources (e.g. recycled plastic bottles) as well.
Are there any drawbacks?
We mentioned at the beginning of this article that all decking materials have both benefits and drawbacks, and the one disadvantage of composite decking is its price. Good-quality composite decking is somewhat more expensive than wood decking and plastic decking, so you should be prepared for the initial cost of your garden deck to be a little higher if you do choose to use composite boards.
That being said, composite decks last for decades and – as noted above – require very little maintenance. Be sure to factor this in when selecting your preferred decking material; as an example, TimberTech decks are guaranteed for 30 years (10 years for commercial projects), and you’ll save a lot of time and money over those three decades because you won’t have to paint, stain or seal your boards even once.