A Comprehensive Guide to Composite Decking in 2021

A relatively new material, composite decking, has revolutionized and opened up a whole new realm of possibilities within the decking industry in South Africa. However, the rapid and enormous growth of the composite decking market and the fierce competition within it have led to many misconceptions around the material's appearance, cost, and performance. This guide will discuss all the aspects related to Composite Decking. The rise of low-maintenance options came about in recent years because some entrepreneurs recognized that homeowners might appreciate such an option. You can now find plastic decking in addition to vinyl and aluminum. A composite deck, however, has seen the most change within the decking industry.

In most cases, composite decking is made of several different materials, including wood and plastic. These materials are processed to appear like wood. Both plastics and wood, which are manufactured from recycled resources like sawdust, chips, and wood fiber, can be made from virgin materials. Now, let’s move on to the types of composite decking.


Types of Composite Decking

Feel dreadful when you have to make a decision? You are fortunate to be able to choose from only two types of composite decking: solid and hollow. 

  • The Solid Version

The solid version resembles wood more and is heavier. Due to the greater mass solid decking has, it can expand and contract easily with temperature fluctuations.

  •  The Hollow Version

Compared to solid composite decking, hollow composite decking gives off a more manmade look. Unlike solid composite decking, however, it won't expand and contract as much. Before it has been installed, it is more vulnerable to damage, so you must take extra precautions when handling it. 

A composite deck that looks like wood and is stronger is more popular than a composite deck that looks like plastic. A preservative and antifungal chemical must always be added to composite decking regardless of its type. Despite having been combined with plastic, wood fibers, and other cellulose in decking can still rot. This is because in the manufacturing process, the preservative is mixed with the wood. Composite decking can remain protected for over twenty years if zinc borate is added as a preservative. Almost any color can be added to composite decking at the time of manufacture, which means homeowners can mix and match virtually any shade they like, as long as they understand that they cannot paint over it.

As composite boards are manufactured, they can be very flexible to fit any home project requirements; however, once they are installed, they cannot be re-sanded, oiled, or stained to change their appearance.

Since there are so many composite manufacturers, the range from low-performance composites to high-performance composites is also quite diverse. Some composite materials may appear superior on the surface but stay wet or don't perform well under harsh conditions. The Composite Company offers composite decking boards that include capped composite surface coverings, which provide corrosion resistance, fading resistance, mold resistance, and stain resistance.


The Appearance of Composite Decking

The composite decking industry has evolved in the 25 years since its debut. It was difficult to achieve realistic color tones or textures in the earlier stages of composite decking, which made the first two generations look fake. The first and second generations were largely plastic, which made them difficult to pass for wood. There are lots of colors and textures of the third generation of composite decking that mimic the look and feel of wood. However, as a result of the difficulty involved in replicating wood-like textures and patterns with composite boards, these typically come at a higher price point.

It's still possible to find companies selling second-generation composite decking, which tends to retail at a lower price since the material is cheaper. You can easily find out what generation of composite decking your supplier carries by asking them. If your supplier doesn't know, you have to wonder how knowledgeable they are.


Composite Decking Prices

Composite decking boards are often more expensive than other easily available materials like wood. This is due to the deliberate manufacturing process involved with their creation. If a board is twice as expensive, that does not necessarily mean that your deck will cost twice as much; the boards are only one element of a larger project that includes the framework and any railings, steps, or stairs that will be required. Although the majority of third-generation composite decking is available with a warranty, its initial outlay cost will be similar to that of some exotic woods. However, in comparison with other deck materials, it is safe to say that maintaining a composite deck is not a major expense.


Installation of Composite Decking

For composite decking to provide its long-term benefits, a professional installation is crucial. Decking boards fitted improperly will not reap the advantages the material can provide. Composite decking will likely save you money over the life of the deck. Decking made of composite materials can expand and contract if installed incorrectly. They expand and contract with temperature changes, so they should be calculated into the design process. As long as your deck is installed correctly, it will not warp, crack, or splinter, and you can enjoy it as soon as it is installed - no staining or sealing required.


The Best Way to Fasten Composites

Boards can be attached to joints with screws driven through the face or into clips inserted onto the edge. Despite the aesthetic appeal of edge fastening, face fastening is more efficient, stronger, and easier to fix. Be sure to use screws designed specifically for composites when face-fastening. When a screw is used to attach this decking, it bubbles up around the screw head. 


Maintenance of Composite Decking

Mold growth along shady and consistently wet areas of the deck is the major threat to composite decking. Mold can be prevented by applying a barrier from the beginning. If mold develops, homeowners can clean it up with special cleaners to prevent damaging the surface. Building a deck on the part of your house where it is consistently moist and shady is not recommended, regardless of the material used. Even though composite decking isn't as maintenance-intensive as other materials, it still needs some attention. It is recommended that the owner spray it with a hose and broom 2-3 times a year to prevent dirt build-up since it does not need stain or paint. Now that you have set up a composite deck, it’s time to upgrade it. Let’s check out 4 interesting ways to upgrade your composite deck.


How to Upgrade Your Composite Deck?

Following are the 4 ways to upgrade your Composite Decking:

  • Add a Fire Pit to Your Deck

Include a fire pit or braai area on your decking to make the most of your South African summer evenings. To protect your decking from heat and sparks, you need to take extra measures. The Composite Company specializes in installing fire pits and braai areas that create an area for socializing while preventing damage to composite wood.

  • Bring Light Into Your Life

Use different types of lighting to create romantic corners, social hubs, or magical spots in your decking that are undeniably magical. Combining fairy lights, solar-powered garden lights, lanterns, uplights, and LED strip lights will add a sense of elegance. Decking and outdoor areas will be more unique if you are creative.

  •  Comfy Surroundings

Include comfy furniture and create inviting spots on your deck to make it a comfortable haven. With rugs, cushions, and convenient tables, you can make your decking irresistible, whether it's outside your home or office. In addition, this is your chance to display your unique corporate identity.

  •  Make Things Interesting

Try varying your approach to colors and textures instead of sticking with one. Utilize a combination of composite woods and natural materials, such as stone and sand. You will be amazed by the mesmerizing view.


Why is Composite Decking a Good Choice?

If you are still wondering that why composite decking is a good choice, here are few benefits to catch your attention and make you believe that Composite Decking is a good choice without any doubt.

  • One of the primary advantages of composite decking is that it requires less maintenance than wood decking. Because the material is made up of plastic, the board is more durable and resistant to rot, dampness, and insects. There is no need to seal, stain, or paint the boards; they will not crack or warp even when exposed to direct sunlight. The additional plastic capping on composite boards prevents splintering and fading, as well as provides stain and fade resistance.
  • These boards have minimal water absorption, so they have high slip resistance, making them ideal for use around pools and wet areas. Our composite decks come with a 25-year guarantee as a result of the increased durability of the boards, but we'd like to think they last much longer given their increased strength.
  • Although composite decking is a bit more expensive to purchase when you first install it, it looks great years later and requires little maintenance. 
  • Composite decking requires less maintenance than traditional wood, which gives you more time to enjoy your garden and less time caring for it.


Are you interested in taking your deck from average to awesome? Stylish and modern, composite decking can be a wonderful addition to your home. Your deck can be upgraded in so many ways to make it even more appealing to your guests. The Composite Company can help you in delivering, installing composite decks in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

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