7 easy tips to help you get on deck with the right composite decking


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Interest in alternative decking materials has skyrocketed in recent years, with composite decking becoming one of the fastest growing segments in the decking market. For homeowners looking to outfit their deck with the durable, long-lasting material, this means dozens of products to choose from. Today’s choices range from progressive composite deck boards that encapsulate wood fibers in plastic throughout the board, to boards with wood-plastic cores wrapped in a plastic shell (capped composites). Since each type of composite decking offers different performance and design advantages, use these seven tips to get on deck with the right material.

1. Prioritize ease of installation

Composite decking makes a beautiful porch
Composite decking lines with a plastic and wood blend throughout the board work just like wood, and require no extra know-how or special tools. The boards can be screwed down like traditional decking or attached with hidden fasteners. Some capped composites will require hidden fasteners as they tend to dimple around the screw head or discolor when the fastener breaks through their surface.


2. Protect against water contact


composite decking a great option for by the pool
For docks and decks exposed to moisture – from pools, lakes or the weather – consider composite decking lines like ChoiceDek that enclose individual wood fibers in plastic. Capped composites may initially perform well in installations with direct water contact, but moisture can infiltrate the core if the plastic outer layer is punctured by screws or if the board is cut to size.
 

3. Ensure design flexibility


composite decking can be bent into a curved shape

If your deck design calls for eye-catching curves and other special features, composites without a plastic shell provide the greatest level of design flexibility. DIYers and contractors can easily rip, route and bend the boards per manufacturer instructions with little risk of delamination, bubbling or peeling.

 

4. Capture the look of wood

composite decking can look just like real wood

To capture the look of wood, use composite deck boards with a deeply embossed, wood grain texture. Boards with a mix of wood fibers and plastic allow for a natural weathering process that creates a beautiful, wood-like appearance. The plastic shell of capped products can make them appear less natural, but provide the boards with a higher fade and stain resistance.

 

5. Select decking with matching railing systems

use railings in the same color to match your composite decking

Composite decking lines with color-matched railing components and accessories make it easier to outfit your deck in style. To ensure you purchase the right amount of materials for each railing section, look for prepackaged, do-it-yourself kits with post sleeves, post caps and balusters, available in home improvement stores like Lowe’s.

 

6. Protect against slips

protect against slips with composite decking with fiber

The plastic that wraps around capped composite decking can be slippery when wet. Where the safety of family and friends is a concern, use composite decking with a plastic and wood fiber mix. Its textured, wood-embossed surface has a higher coefficient of friction than plastic, and provides better slip resistance when people and pets walk over it.

 

7. Do your homework

A party on a composite backyard deck

Not all composites are created equal. Before deciding on a particular composite decking brand, find out how the product is made, how long the manufacturer has been around and what their track record is. Research online or call the manufacturer to confirm durability, recycled content and warranty claims.

For more information on composite decking, visit choicedek.com.

 

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