Ever since the advent of the composite decking in the late 1990s, many homeowners have fallen in love with the composite deck construction option. The reason for this is never far-fetched: composite decks offer the durability, aesthetic look, and environmentally-friendliness that the homeowners need. Although they’re made from a mix of recycled plastics and wood fiber, not all composites available on the market have wood fibers.
Composite decking offers some great benefits for both the homeowners and the deck builders. Unlike the timber alternatives, wood-plastic composites do not corrode or suffer from decay, rot, and marine borer attack. Plus, wood composites don’t require painting and they come in a variety of colors thereby making it easy for consumers to easily customize them to suit their needs.
But here is the kicker: composite decks do not have the same quality and composition. Plus, they’re available in either capped, non-capped, partially, or fully capped. If you think all these and the fact that not all composite decks have wood fibers, you must exercise a great deal of care before building your composite deck. And to help you explore the different types of composite decks and make it easy for you to choose the one right for you, let’s dive deeper into the various types of composite decks. If you’re not ready to do this yourself, Panama City Deck Contractors can handle it for you.
What is Composite Decking and How Are They Formed?
In case you’re wondering what composite decking is made of, they’re synthetic building material made from a blend of wood, recycled plastics, and a little chunk of bonding agents. By heating these three mixtures, a board is formed into the desired shape length and then they’re cooled. After cooling, we get boards, which is the result and, with this process, the boards are far less to maintain than the traditional wood decking.
Types of Composite Decks
As of the present time, there are only two types of composite decking available in the market, namely capped and non-capped.
Capped composite can be classified into two depending on the capping technique employed in developing each type of composite decking. First, one capped composites are developed using a hard PVC outer layer on only one side out of the three sides of the boards. Composite decks designed this way and having this capping technique are way more resistant to fading, stains, warping, and scratching than uncapped materials.
The second types of capped composites have PVC just like the first type except that board is shrouded with PVC material around all its four sides. Depending on the manufacturer, you can also choose capped composites with a PVC capping in the grooved fastener notches, which guards it against all forms of damage. Most interestingly, a composite decking designed this way offers you the benefits of having your deck guarded against bugs, water ingress, and warping.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive composite decking, uncapped boards are certainly your best bet. They’re not only cheaper than the capped boards, but they’re also resistant to warping, fading, stains, warping, and scratching. But here is the kicker: they don’t offer the same protection against fading and staining as capped boards do. So if you think this will be a deal-breaker for you, it’ll be advisable you opt for the capped boards, which come with far more protection than the uncapped boards.
When talking about PVC composites, we mean pure PVC composites that are devoid of wood fibers but have a super realistic wood look. PVC is a highly versatile material that can be put to several applications including window frames, water service pipes, drainage pipes, and medical devices, to name just a few. When it comes to deck building, PVC planks make the cut as one of the best materials you can trust. They are a great option in terms of lightweight, resistance to fire, heat, and scratch, among others. You can also trust PVC decking for its durability and resistance to other forms of damage caused by rot, infestation, fading, and stains.
Different Shapes of Composite Decking
Composite decking comes in a variety of shapes and sizes which include:
- Solid shape
- Hollow shape
- Slotted shape
- Ridged shape
Solid composite decking is known for being rigid and durable. They are used mainly for permanent floors for houses and offices, and for pathways for houses or swimming pool decks, etc. while it has highly-realistic look with the traditional wood planks, they tend to warp during exposure to extreme weather conditions. Last but not least, solid composite decks are heavy which makes them not the right choice for a DIY project.
As with the hollow composite decks, they’re lightweight with less resistance to impacts but mainly plastic. They can be used for installing cladding, siding, and cables. The only concern you may have with this composite board is with dealing with insects and other small animals dwelling in the cavities. But there is a tip to prevent this, which is by using the end caps to block the cavities.
This comes with a notch cut out of either side for fastening the decking. The good thing about this hidden fastener is that it helps ensure the protection of the PVC cap and preserves the deck’s nice surface from being damaged.
The ridged shape composite deck leaves you with only one side of the board to be used. Depending on your choice, you can use one of the boards for stairs or as you deem fit.
Wrapping up on What to Know About Composite Deck Construction
Building a deck is as simple as a most do-it-yourself projects out there. But you must consider the option of hiring a professional to help you deal with the most technical aspects of your composite deck construction, especially if you lack the required skills and expertise. From securing your deck building permit and determining the use to which you’ll like to put your deck, there are so many factors to put into consideration. Don’t forget you’re not alone in this project and so seek help as early as possible.