With the summer months on the horizon, many of our clients are thinking about ways that they can enjoy the exterior of their home during the warmer months. What’s better than sitting out on your deck and enjoying a cocktail, right? Maybe you love relaxing on the deck with your morning coffee while the kids play in the yard? Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that adding a deck to your home will be one of those decisions you’ll be so glad you made. If a deck project might be in your future, then we have some information that you’ll want to know.
When you think of decking, you probably picture a wood deck made from treated lumber. Decks like these are notorious for being a part of the home that requires quite a bit of upkeep over the years. From scrubbing, power-washing, staining, and even replacing deck boards on occasion… if you don’t keep up with the work, it really shows on the deck itself.
Let’s rewind to the 1990’s and that’s when the industry first introduced an alternative that gained popularity pretty quick; composite decking entered the scene. It’s a deck that is made of wood particles, plastics, and polymers that are heated up, molded together, and then shaped into deck boards. A lot of the composite decking doesn’t look exactly like wood, but in more recent years, companies have added many more options with textures and colors that replicate wooded deck boards pretty accurately.
So, why do we love building composite decks for our clients?
MAINTENANCE FREE: The number one selling point in composite decking is that it’s maintenance free. Like truly, you don’t have to do any maintenance besides general clean-up. Any dirt or mess can be easily cleaned up with dish soap and water, and you’ll never need to worry about bleaching, washing, or re-staining your deck for the life of the warranty – which is typically around 25 years.
HARDLY ANY FADING: Over time, all wood decks made of treated lumber will turn gray. The new composite materials are known to show only a slight fade in color during the first few months, but then the fading stops and colors remain true from that point on.
ENVIRONMENT: Composite decks are even good for the environment, believe it or not. The plastics in a composite deck are typically from recycled materials like plastic milk jugs, plastic bags, etc. Often the wood materials are also from recycled “waste wood” that would have otherwise been taken to the landfill. An interesting fact from Trex.com (one of the leading suppliers of composite decking) is that for every 500 sq. ft. of their composite deck, it has about 140,000 plastic shopping bags in it!
KID-FRIENDLY: We like to call composite decks the more kid-friendly option, in the sense that bare feet will love the feel of this type of deck. There’s no need to worry about slivers either! Composite materials also do not attract termites, and there’s no worry about boards warping and creating an uneven surface. The only caution here is that very dark colors of the composite decking on a warm sunny day can get hot on anyone’s feet.
STYLE: These days the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to designing your composite deck. The range of colors, textures, and accessories allow for designs and style that are pleasing to any eye. Posts, handrails, gates, hardware, etc. – they’re all part of the composite system and they all come together to create a beautiful maintenance-free outdoor living space.
Like any new trend in the building industry, we also need to list out a few cons to choosing this type of decking for your home project. The first, and most obvious, is the initial cost. Unfortunately, maintenance-free comes with a much higher price tag than you’d find with a wood deck. On average, the material costs can be close to double what you’d pay for treated lumber. Next, if you’re someone who loves the authentic look of real wood, then you might not be quite so sold on the wood texture in the composite decking. While we think it looks close enough for the added benefits, you can tell that it’s not truly wood.
So, are you feeling the summer vibe yet like we are? Consider how much more you could enjoy your home with a great exterior space like a deck. Is composite decking right for you?
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