How to Choose Composite Decking: The Ultimate Guide

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Are you considering installing composite decking but feeling a little overwhelmed by the variety of options available? 

Choosing the right composite decking involves several factors to ensure you get the perfect combination of durability, aesthetics and functionality for your outdoor space. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to help you make an informed decision.

What is composite decking? 

Composite decking is an increasingly sought-after alternative to traditional wood decking, revolutionising outdoor living spaces with its innovative blend of recycled wood fibres and plastic. This composite material offers a number of advantages over traditional wood, making it a top choice for homeowners and contractors alike. 

Durability 

One of the standout features of composite decking is its exceptional durability. Unlike wood, composite decking is engineered to withstand the rigours of outdoor environments, including exposure to harsh weather conditions, UV rays and heavy foot traffic. This means that the decking will maintain its integrity and aesthetic appeal for years to come. 

Low maintenance 

Say goodbye to the hassle of annual sanding, staining and sealing that comes with traditional wood decking. Composite decking requires minimal maintenance to keep it looking its best, saving you time, money and effort in the long run. 

Resistance to rot, mould and insects 

Unlike wood, which is susceptible to rot, mould and insect infestations, composite decking is pretty resistant to these common issues. The combination of recycled wood fibres and plastic creates a composite material that is unaffected by moisture, preventing rot and mould growth and deterring insects from making your deck their home. 

Environmentally friendly 

By utilising recycled materials in its construction, composite decking offers an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional wood decking. Opting for composite decking means you’re not only reducing the demand for virgin timber but also diverting plastic waste from landfills, contributing to a more sustainable future for our planet. 

Overall, composite decking offers a host of benefits that make it a superior choice for outdoor living spaces. From its exceptional durability and low maintenance requirements to its resistance to rot, mould and insects, composite decking provides a long-lasting and environmentally friendly solution for anyone wanting to enhance their outdoor living experience.  

How to choose composite decking 

When choosing composite decking for your home improvement project or any project for that matter, there are a few key considerations to always keep in mind: 

Composite decking brand 

Research different brands to find the one that offers the style, colour options and warranty that best suit your needs. Look for reputable brands known for their quality and reliability. 

What is your budget? 

Determine your budget upfront to narrow down your options and prevent overspending. While composite decking tends to have a higher upfront cost than wood, it often pays off in the long run due to its longevity and low maintenance requirements. 

Composite decking comes in a wide range of colour and finishes to complement any design aesthetic. Consider the overall look and feel you want for your outdoor space when choosing the colour of your decking. 

What would you like the design to be? 

Think about the layout and design of your deck, including any specific features or patterns you want to incorporate. Some composite decking brands offer customisable options to create a unique look for your deck. 

Decking installation 

Ensure proper installation by hiring a professional or following manufacturer guidelines closely if installing it yourself. Proper installation is crucial for the longevity and performance of your composite deck. 

Building regulations 

Check local building codes and regulations to ensure compliance with any requirements for deck construction in your area. This may include permits, structural requirements and safety standards. 

Decking accessories 

Consider any additional accessories you may want for your deck, such as railings, lighting or storage solutions. These accessories can enhance both the appearance and functionality of your outdoor space. 

Decking material 

Evaluate the composition and quality of the composite decking material, including its resistance to fading, scratching and staining. Choose a material that can withstand the elements and maintain its appearance over time. 

Slip resistance 

Opt for composite decking with a textured surface or added slip-resistant properties, especially if your deck is located in an area prone to moisture or foot traffic. 

Weatherproof 

Select composite decking that is specifically designed to withstand your local climate conditions, whether its extreme heat, cold or high levels of humidity. Weatherproof decking will maintain its integrity and appearance year-round. 

Choosing composite decking: top questions to ask yourself 

As you narrow down your options, be sure to also consider the following important questions: 

Is your composite decking located in the sun? 

Consider the sun exposure your deck will receive throughout the day. If your deck is in direct sunlight for extended periods, you’ll want to choose a composite decking material that offers UV protection and doesn’t fade or become discoloured easily. 

Look for decking with fade-resistant technology, just like the ones we offer at GFD Homes. This will ensure that your deck maintains its colour and appearance over time, even in the brightest sunlight. 

How wet will your composite deck get?

Evaluate the moisture exposure your deck will be exposed to, whether it’s from rain, snow or humidity. If your deck is prone to getting wet frequently, opt for a composite decking material that is highly resistant to moisture and mould growth. 

Look for decking with a protective outer shell or a moisture-resistant core to prevent water damage and ensure the longevity of your deck. 

Are hidden fasteners important? 

Consider the aesthetic appeal and functionality of hidden fasteners for your deck. Hidden fasteners provide a seamless appearance without visible screws or nails, creating a clean and polished look for your outdoor space. 

Additionally, hidden fasteners can contribute to the longevity of your deck by reducing the risk of moisture penetration and potential rotting around fastener holes. 

Are you including all the extras in your budget? 

Don’t forget to factor in additional costs beyond just the decking material itself. Consider expenses such as railing systems, deck lighting, trim boards and any other accessories you want to incorporate into your deck design. These extras can significantly impact the overall cost of your project, so be sure to budget accordingly to achieve the deck of your dreams without any surprises along the way. 

By carefully considering these key questions, you can ensure that the composite decking you choose not only meets your immediate needs but also provides long-term satisfaction and enjoyment. 

Taking the time to assess your deck’s sun exposure, moisture levels, fastening preferences and budgetary considerations will ultimately lead to a well-informed decision and a deck that enhances your outdoor living experience for years to come. 

GFD Homes

Choose the right composite decking with GFD Homes

At GFD Homes, we understand the importance of selecting the best composite decking for your outdoor space. That’s why we proudly offer two of the most sought-after composite decking options available on the market: Millboard decking and Cladco decking. 

Millboard decking

Known for its stunningly realistic wood-effect designs, Millboard decking enhances outdoor space with enduring distinction. Thanks to its unique polymer resin construction, the decking does not deteriorate like natural wood. 

Cladco decking 

Designed for durability and performance, Cladco composite decking offers a sleek and contemporary look that complements modern outdoor spaces. Constructed from high-quality composite materials, it’s also resistant to fading, staining and scratching, ensuring a long-lasting and low-maintenance solution for your deck. 

Both Millboard and Cladco decking options require minimal upkeep and are easy to clean, allowing you to spend more time enjoying your outdoor oasis and less time on maintenance tasks. 

If you need more information about our composite decking options or would like to discuss your project requirements, feel free to reach out to us at 01642 309576, or via email at enquiries@gfdhomes.co.uk

FAQs about choosing composite decking  

What is the most popular type of composite decking? 

The popularity of composite decking often varies based on factors such as brand reputation, aesthetic preferences and performance characteristics; however, some composite decking brands have gained widespread recognition for their quality, durability and range of options. 

It’s essential to research different brands, read reviews and consider your specific needs and preferences when determining which type of composite decking is most popular and suitable for your project. 

Are there different grades of composite decking?

Yes, there are typically different grades or tiers or composite decking available, ranging from entry-level to premium options. Higher-grade composite decking often features advanced technology, such as protective outer shells, enhanced durability and improved resistance to fading, staining and scratching. 

While entry-level composite decking may offer basic features at a lower price point, premium-grade decking tends to provide superior performance and longevity, making it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners. 

What is the effective thickness of a composite deck? 

The effective thickness of a composite deck refers to the overall thickness of the decking boards, including any protective layers or coatings. Composite decking boards typically range in thickness from around 0.75 inches to 1 inch or more, with thicker boards often offering increased durability and stability. 

When comparing composite decking options, consider not only the thickness of the boards, but also the quality of the materials and construction to ensure you choose a deck that meets your structural and aesthetic requirements.

What is the longest lasting composite decking?

Determining the longevity of composite decking involves considering various factors, including the quality of materials, manufacturing processes and maintenance practices. While many composite decking brands offer warranties ranging from 25-50 years or more, the actual lifespan of a deck depends on how well it is maintained and cared for over time. 

Choosing a reputable brand known for its durability and performance, following proper installation and maintenance guidelines and selecting a decking material that suits your climate and usage requirements can all contribute to the long-term durability of your composite deck. 

Can I install composite decking myself or do I need a professional? 

Absolutely, you can install composite decking yourself using the instructions provided. But if you’re uncertain about your skills or prefer the assurance of professional expertise, hiring a professional is a wise choice. That way, you can relax knowing that the installation is in capable hands.

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Tia Ellahi Digital Marketer
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