A quick guide to composite decking

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We’ve always prided ourselves on providing a great range of decking products right here at Savoy Timber, and if the recent surge in sales over the course of the lockdown, our customers are enjoying them too! Our composite decking products are amongst the products that have been especially popular over the last few months – and if you’ve never had composite decking before, you might already be weighing up composite decking for your own garden. We’ve collected some of the most common questions we get from our customers below, so you can get the essential details right here!

What is composite decking?

Composite decking is a man-made decking material, made up of a combination (or composite) of natural hardwood and synthetic materials. The synthetic materials in question include wood fibres, plastics and a few bonding agents. This mix is heated, formed into the shapes of decking boards, and then cooled.

The end result has a pleasingly sophisticated appearance with all the natural charm of timber decking, but an in-built resilience and durability which means it needs much less maintenance than traditional timber boards.

What are the benefits of composite decking?

The enhanced durability is one of the greatest advantages of composite decking, making it highly resistant to rot, damp and burrowing insects. What’s more, composite’s resistance to the elements extends as far as sunshine and rain too – the composite material of the boards means they won’t crack even under direct sunlight, and they’ll never have to be sealed, stained or painted – they’ll easily keep their colour in all weathers!

When it comes to rain, composite decking boards absorb much less water so they’re naturally less slippery when wet, and this attribute means that they can be safely used around pools and wet areas too. As well as being non-slip, the plastic materials in the makeup of composite decking boards mean that they’re completely splinter free.

As a final bonus, the enhanced durability and many resistances means that composite decking tends to have a fantastic lifespan, often well over a decade. This comes at a slightly higher initial purchase price, but ultimately provides great value – which is a common pattern for much our stock here at Savoy Timber!

What’s the difference between composite decking and timber decking?

As we’ve explored above, composite is less slippery when wet and tends to be even more durable than timber. What’s more, you’ve got a choice between an even greater range of colours and finishes, all of which are more uniform and consistent in terms of colour and texture than timber decking. (Timber decking tends to have more colour variations throughout due to the natural knots in the wood.)

It’s worth noting that composite decking isn’t a structural material, which means that it’ll require more support than timber decking. However, happily this isn’t all that tricky to do – simply moving your joists closer together often does the trick!

So, you might be thinking, which is better – composite decking or timber decking? Well, as with many such things, mostly it’s just a matter of personal preference. The practical advantages of composite decking are undeniable, and lots of customers like its smooth appearance and sophisticated look – but at the same time, there’s a lot to be said for the traditional appearance of a classic timber deck. We’ll leave that choice up to you!

Types of composite decking

Composite decking comes in a huge variety of different forms and colours, but it all essentially falls into two main types: capped and uncapped.

Uncapped decking boards are resistant and hardwearing, though they can occasionally leach a small bit of colour in the first few months of use due to environmental exposure

Capped composite decking boards on the other hand come with an extra exterior plastic coating, which makes them slightly more expensive than uncapped boards, but basically impervious to colour fading. They’re easy to clean, and you can count on them to keep their colour all year round!

Are composite decking boards slippery?

You can generally count on composite decking boards to be far less slippery when wet than timber decking boards, largely because of their minimal water absorption thanks to the plastic materials used in their makeup. In most cases, your composite decking boards won’t be slippery even after recent rain or spillage. However, that’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule, and we’d always encourage you to take care on your decking regardless – no matter how safe it may first appear to be!

We’ve got a fantastic range of composite decking boards for sale here at Savoy Timber, which you can browse right here on our site! All our stores are now open, so feel free to pop into our locations in Preston, Wigan and Blackpool. Why not have a look around, and see what you can find?