How long has composite decking been around?
Composite decking has been available for less than a quarter-century, appearing on the market in the 1990s. It is impressive how it has taken off, but not surprising.
Backyard decks are for relaxing and recreation, after all—the barbeque, cocktail party, quiet lunch, and of course naps. That made most unwelcome to homeowners the constant maintenance required by decks made of timber, which needed to be scrubbed, bleached, and stained. And periodically woods boards that had splintered, warped, or rotten needed to be replaced. Natural materials exposed to the elements through every season simply take a beating.
Composites – then and now
The new plastic composite decking did cost somewhat more than woods. In the early days there relatively few colour choices, but builders and homeowners opted for easy to maintain, long-lived, resistant to insect pests, and even relatively more fire resistant composites (which kindle at a much higher temperature than woods). Honestly, in the early days of composite decking, there were some problems with mould build-up and mildew. Nevertheless, use of composite wood soared. Then companies began to offer much better new products.
The new offerings looked like newly cut cedar or Brazilian walnut and they never turned grey. (All woods unless treated and maintained eventually go grey.) Sales took off to the point where last year they amounted to about $1 billion. That is what is called a big consumer market vote of confidence in composites.
Today, durability, colours, patterns, and ease of installation are a whole new world from the first composites. The capping on our Fiberon Composite Decking has a non-porous surface layer that is co-extruded into the wood fibre. The same as golf ball technology. And installation requires no nails.
The maintenance required by composites, as compared with wood, amounts to virtually zilch. A once a year washdown does it. Occasionally, vacuuming the space between boards may help a bit.
Just consider that composite, which comes in long straight lengths that are easy to install, never warps or rots. It is free of splinters, unlike aging wood decks. It requires no paint, sealer, or stain, yet is extremely scratch-resistant and termite resistant. It’s no wonder that increasingly it is the choice of homeowners and builders in Australia and across the world.
As for cost, the best composites are more expensive than some woods, but about the same cost as hardwood timber. Hardwood timbers are increasingly scarce and expensive as the world’s forests keep shrinking. At the same time, however, the savings on finishes, cleaning, maintenance work, and earlier need to replace a wooden deck mean that that on average the deck constructed of composite materials makes up for its extra cost in five years or less.
A design advantage
Because materials for composite decks can be ordered cut to your specifications, such decks require some advanced planning. And that planning stage, with which we can work with you, offers a host of design choices not always available with timber. Beautiful deck patterns are possible and they are enhanced by the no-nails method of construction (no rusting nails, for one thing). Also, materials like pre-grooved deck boards, if that is your choice, save a great deal of your time in the installing of your desk. With good pre-planning assisted by our expert sales force, we are able to provide you with detailed instructions for each step in building your new deck. Upscale projects such as decks with accommodating for tree trunks are a natural choice with composites.
Although composites are not wood, they actually offer the opportunity for a wider choice of textures, surfaces, and colours. For example, our Select Range of products are given a distinctive matte surface with our proprietary low-gloss treatment and micro-texturing process. As for colour, we have taken our lead from natural elements and pigments. A virtual Australian colour palette of earthy hues and tones. And our boards are subtly streaked with multiple tones that give your deck a sense of depth and visual impact. Finally, our process of manufacturing ensures a natural graining the you will not find in other deck boards; there is no easy-to-discern patterns that suggest the artificial.
Meeting the environmental imperative
At the same time composite woods improved and their used soared, the industry ran right into the environmental recycling imperative that faces our planet. That beautiful, durable, splinter-free decking material called “composite” can be made of wood scraps and sawdust otherwise wasted and of recyclable plastic such as bags and bottles. The amount used in each board foot is impressive and in an entire deck, the recycling is truly significant.
If you enjoy nature in your backyard, you are helping to protect and sustain it when you use composite wood for your deck. It is estimated that every 6 meters of decking board uses up about 13 Kilograms of material that otherwise would go straight to a landfill. We are talking a total of millions of pounds every year that are used and enjoyed by homeowners instead of dumped into the landscape.
The quality and the amazing warranty
The manufacturers and retailers of composite decking believe in their product. Our boards are made in North Carolina USA by Fiberon Composites. The Select range of products is backed by a lifetime performance warranty and 50-year stain and fade warranty. No other brand or company can match our warranty.
Call us to discuss your plans and choices for a composite deck. Let our experts work with you to make choices for your distinctive deck design and other requirements. Select from products with dramatic colour tones and an array of wood-grain patterns. All are polished and protected by Permatech capping. Composite decking like this is for builders and homeowners who won’t compromise with quality. In Australia, we distribute Fiberon Capped Composites through our representatives in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.
Be sure to check back here regularly for insights, information, and updates on all you need to know about how to plan and build a composite deck. A deck of lasting beauty, extraordinary durability, and almost no required maintenance.