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Building a Deck with Composite Deck Material

New deck built with composite decking materialComposite deck material can be a good option for people looking to build a deck without the hassles of yearly staining and maintenance, splinters, and board expansion and shrinkage.

Most people agree that a deck is the perfect summertime accoutrement for your home.

It can be a gathering place, a place for barbeques, a place to hang out a chat with friends and family. Although not necessarily cheaper than ordinary pressure treated lumber, composite deck material may be for you.

First of all, composite deck material is a mixture of polyethylene plastic and wood fiber. About 40 percent of the composite material is wood material. The products are formed by extrusion process: a hot plastic and wood mixture are forced through a die, like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube, and then cooled. The extruded product is then cut to appropriate lengths.

This is not to say that it is any less durable that solid wood lumber. Composite deck material is just as sturdy as wood planks and may be less susceptible to rot and other weather damage, although some experts recommend composite decking with some kind of preservative treatment.

You can buy composite deck material that is pre-stained and ready to use. All you have to do is assemble and use, which means you don’t have to worry about fumes or the kids or pets getting hurt by the stain and weather protective coating.

You also don’t have to worry about splinters, a definite plus if you have small kids or spend a lot of time barefoot. Some composite decking brands have a roughened surface for added traction in wet weather. Because composite decking doesn't shrink or expand like regular wood, you don't have to leave huge spaces between planks.

On the downside, you'll probably need more joists (horizontal supporting beams) for a composite deck which will increase the overall cost. Added to that, the general cost of composite deck material compared with lumber is 60 to 70 percent more, although this depends on the region and market.

But fans of composite decking say the straightness and overall consistent look of the boards are worth the tradeoffs.

The bottom line is, you should research thoroughly before deciding on a composite decking manufacturer. These products have not been on the market long so there is not a long history of use. Read the manufacturer's brochure and warranty carefully and be sure to ask what your deck will look like after a few years. 

For more information on using composite deck materials, please read these articles:

Benefits of Composite Decking Materials

Using Composite Decking

More Articles...


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