Composite decking boards have become increasingly popular due to their durability, ease of maintenance, and environmental advantages. However, there are several common misconceptions about composite decking boards that we’ll clarify in this article. By dispelling these myths, we aim to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions for your outdoor spaces.
Table of Contents
Myth 1: All Composite Decking Boards Are Environmentally Friendly
Reality: Environmental Friendliness Varies
Not all composite manufacturers use eco-friendly materials in their products. Some rely on virgin polymers, which aren’t considered environmentally friendly. While recycling materials is a positive step, it’s not the sole indicator of sustainability. To ensure you choose an environmentally friendly composite, look for certifications and research the manufacturer’s sustainable practices.
Myth 2: High-Quality Composite Decking Boards Is “Maintenance-Free”
Reality: Low Maintenance, Not Maintenance-Free
One prevalent myth is that composite decking requires zero maintenance. While it’s much easier to maintain than traditional wood decking, it’s not entirely maintenance-free. Think of it like a car: if you leave it untouched for years, it won’t be in great shape. Composite decking benefits from occasional cleaning and care to retain its appearance and longevity. Regular cleaning and inspections will help your composite deck last for years.
Myth 3: Composite Decking Is More Expensive Than Wood Decking
Reality: Initial Cost Difference, Long-Term Savings
Another common misconception is that composite decking is significantly more expensive than traditional wood decking. While it’s true that the initial cost of composite decking is often higher, it’s essential to consider the long-term savings. Composite decking’s durability and low maintenance requirements can result in lower overall costs over the life of your deck. Additionally, you won’t need to invest in staining, sealing, or replacing damaged boards, as you would with wood decking. In the long run, composite decking can provide a cost-effective and hassle-free solution for your outdoor space.
Myth 4: Expensive Composite Decking Doesn’t Fade
Reality: Fading Occurs, but It’s Minimal
Another misconception is that composite decking never loses its color. In reality, all composite decking will experience some fading over time. Initial fading usually happens within the first few months, depending on exposure to the elements. Excess pigments from manufacturing are released during this period, resulting in slight color changes. However, this color shift is minimal and doesn’t compare to the staining or discoloration often seen in hardwoods due to sap or oil.
Myth 5: Composite Decking Is Mold-Proof
Reality: Susceptible to Mold in Damp Environments
Composite decking is often thought to be resistant to mold and mildew. However, this isn’t accurate, especially in damp areas with limited sunlight. Any surface exposed to moisture and airborne particles, like pollen, can develop green algae or mold over time. Even decks made of materials like stainless steel, glass, or Teflon can accumulate unwanted grime. While composite decking is less prone to this issue than wood, it’s not entirely immune.
Myth 6: Good Composite Decking Does Not Shrink or Expand After Installation
Reality: Expansion and Contraction, Minimal Shrinkage
Composite decking can expand and contract due to temperature changes. The extent of this expansion and contraction varies among different composite decking products. Generally, the width of the boards experiences negligible changes, while the length can expand or contract. Shrinkage is a different concern, and high-quality composite decking should exhibit minimal shrinkage when manufactured correctly.
In conclusion, composite decking offers many advantages for outdoor living spaces. However, it’s crucial to differentiate between fact and fiction regarding its properties and maintenance requirements. By dispelling these common myths, we empower you to make well-informed decisions and enjoy the benefits of composite decking for years to come.