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How Long Does Composite Decking Last?

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The service life of composite decking materials varies depending on factors such as the quality of the material, the level of maintenance, and the local climate. However, on average, properly maintained composite decking can last 25 to 30 years or more.

Composite decking is prized for its durability, resistance to rot, insects, and moths, and low maintenance. Regular cleaning, avoiding heavy impacts, and timely maintenance can greatly extend the life of composite decking. Choosing high-quality composite decking board products and following the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines are important steps in ensuring the deck’s lasting beauty.

Lifespan of Different Deck Materials

Different decking materials are used to build outdoor living spaces, and it has varying lifespan. We’ll cover some common deck materials and their typical lifespans. Choose the deck material you need by understanding how long it lasts.

Pressure Treated Wood Decks

Most people on the market love the look of solid wood decks. But what you may not know is that most wood decks, except ipe, are not durable. Because of this, they should also have the shortest lifespan.

Biodegradable means that the wood can break down naturally. This means that the wood will decompose naturally when it dies and will not pile up in the forest like garbage.

For a wood deck to last long, it needs to be well cared for to keep it shining. First, the wood should be given a special treatment to make it stronger. Allow the treated wood deck to withstand the elements, rot, and insects. If properly cared for, most wood decks will last about 10-15 years.

PVC decking materials | trex composite decking products

Cedar

People who want their wood decks to last a long time usually choose cedar. Cedar is less likely to decompose in many ways. For example, cedarwood oil is an organic pesticide.

You must seal your wood deck every two years and keep it very clean. In addition, it is easy for pets or outdoor furniture to scratch it because it is so soft. However, if you are very careful and clean it the right way, your cedar deck can last up to 20 years.

IPE

As an imported hardwood from the rainforest, it is very strong and durable. This hardwood deck usually lasts for decades. In contrast, it is very expensive, much more so than common wood decking and composite decking.

Composite Decking

Composite decking does not require as much maintenance as wood decking. All you have to do is clean them thoroughly every six months.

Composite decking material is made from a blend of recycled plastic and wood fibers. As a result, it is not as susceptible to moisture, mold, and rot as traditional wood, and it is not subject to damage from insects such as termites. In addition, composite decking contains various additives such as UV inhibitors. This means that the composite material will maintain its good looks for a long time.

The total lifespan of composite decking should be between 25 and 30 years. If properly maintained, it can last 30 years or more. Many people choose composite decking over wood decking because it can be made to look like real wood.

Expand-Your-Outdoor-Deck-Space

Metal Decking

Metal decks can last up to sixty years, but very few people choose them. This is because they are expensive and most people don’t like the way they look.

In addition, steel is not a barrier like aluminum. Steel decks can get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. If you don’t worry about these issues, metal decks can still last a long time.

Why Does Composite Decking Last Long?

Moisture Affects the Longevity of Your Deck

Outdoor decks break down over time, and moisture is a big reason why. Traditional wood decks swell when exposed to water. Once it begins to swell, cracks appear in the deck boards, weakening the deck’s structure.

Even if the wood deck doesn’t develop cracks, prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to mold and rot. Moldy boards become brittle, further destabilizing the deck structure and ultimately jeopardizing pedestrian safety.

Because water and moisture can damage traditional wood decks, it is recommended that sealers be applied at least twice a year. Without regular sealing, wood decks can even warp and rot.

Composite decking materials contain a large amount of recyclable plastic. It is well known that plastic materials do not absorb water. Therefore, composite decking has good water and mold resistance. This is one of the reasons why composite decking lasts longer than wood decking.

Deckorators-composite-decking

Effect of Splitting on Decking Durability

In the case of regular wood decking, the wood will eventually begin to splinter. Whenever there are cracks or splits, there is a possibility of water ingress. Cracks in the wood can also make walking barefoot on the deck more dangerous, and some boards may need to be removed and replaced.

Composite decking boards have wood fibers inside that are covered with a polymer, so it is much less likely to splinter. Composite decking is trustworthy because it lasts for a long time and won’t splinter. It can be used for a long time, so you can be sure that it will be useful for your outdoor living projects.

Effect of Sunlight on the Appearance of Decking

Intense sunlight exposure can cause wood decking to fade, and excessive temperatures can cause the boards to swell and warp. Wood decks require restoration, staining, and sealing work every two years to prevent them from deteriorating. Even if your wood deck is properly maintained, you may still need to replace damaged wood decking after years of use.

Composite decking materials contain UV inhibitors and other additives inside. This ensures that composite decking is not afraid of UV rays and will not fade even after being exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. When you install composite decking, just follow the manufacturer’s installation requirements. With the proper gaps reserved between adjacent decking boards, you won’t but the boards to expand with heat and eventually cause warping.

Composite pool decking

Impact of Pests on Deck Life

Termites are another major concern for the longevity of wood decks. Painting and sealing help prevent termites from entering the deck. However, the damage caused by termites is often very serious in the long run. Professional pest control services are needed to remove termite colonies from wood decks before they spread to the home.

Composite decking is not infested by termites because of the materials used in its manufacture. The chances of termites starting to feed on composite decking materials are slim, but they will almost always choose real wood. This is because wood contains cellulose, which termites like to eat, and composite deck boards do not.

These reasons are more detailed as to why composite decking lasts longer than wood decking. This is more of a positive impact of the materials used in the manufacture of composite decking.

Common Factors That Limit the Lifespan of Composite Decking

Many people think that composite deck boards are very sturdy, but there are actually a lot of things that can damage them. These things can make the life of your outdoor deck shorter. Keep the following points in mind to avoid damage.

outdoor-composite-decking

Moisture

Excess moisture can have an effect on all kinds of decks. Water is not good for wood decks. While composite decking materials have superior waterproofing properties than wood decks. However, prolonged exposure to excessive moisture can still affect composite decking boards.

Mold and Rot

Although mold will not grow on top of composite decking boards. But if you have too many leaves or other organic waste left on the surface of your deck. Then mold can grow on top of this organic waste as well. Over time, this mold can cause damage to your composite decking.

Moving Heavy Objects

Composite decking has excellent anti-slip properties. But that’s not to say it won’t get damaged. If you drag heavy metal furniture on top of your composite decking. Then there is a good chance that you will scratch the surface of the decking.

Right-for-Your-Outdoor-Space

How to Extend the Life of Composite Decking

Even though composite decking can keep good performance and appearance for a long time. But we know that with occasional attention, our outdoor decks can get a longer life. Below you will find tips on how to care for your composite decking boards.

Regular Cleaning

Composite decking manufacturers recommend cleaning your deck every three to six months to remove dirt, leaves, and other organic debris from your deck. We recommend that you use warm soapy water and a soft-bristled brush for general cleaning of your composite decking boards.

You can use a jet washer with a pressure of no more than 3100 PSI to remove surface dirt from your deck for better cleaning results. If you are going to use a fan connection, make sure that the distance between the fan and the boards is at least 250 mm. If you follow these tips, you will be able to maintain a long-lasting finish on your deck surface.

Whatever method you use to clean your deck planks, make sure you clean along the length of the planks so that nothing builds up and clogs the drain.

garden composite decking

Remove Ice and Snow

We recommend that you make sure that all snow and ice are removed from the surface of your deck to keep composite decking safe for the winter. When removing snow and ice from your deck, do not use a metal shovel, rake, hoe, ice breaker, or any other sharp tool. Instead, use a plastic shovel. Failure to do so can damage or scratch the surface of the boards.

We recommend using an ice melt that does not contain salt or corrosives. This type of ice melt does not leave any residue on the boards and in most cases works better than ice melts containing salt. This type of ice melt can be used before frost arrives or in areas that are already frozen.

To prevent damage or scratches to the surface of composite decking, we recommend cleaning up the rock salt as soon as possible after application.

Using Furniture Pads

When you’re enjoying life on your outdoor deck, it’s common to add some deck furniture to make you more comfortable. However, heavier furniture can damage composite decking surfaces. Therefore, pairing it with the right home cushions can protect your deck.

Outdoor-Deck-Planter-Box

Summing Up

In conclusion, the durability and adaptability of composite decking prove that it has a long lifespan. With proper care, composite decking can stand the test of time and provide a functional and aesthetically pleasing space for outdoor living.

While the lifespan of composite decking may vary from region to region. However, an average lifespan of 25 to 30 years or more demonstrates the durability of this decking material. Invest in high-quality composite decking boards, coupled with regular maintenance and adherence to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Doing this will ensure that your composite decking material not only stands up to the elements but continues to be a source of enjoyment and relaxation for decades to come.

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