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composite decking

How to deal with the scalloped end of composite decking?

Thursday, May 05, 2022

When you build your outdoor space with composite wood decking. What a beautiful composite decking material. It enhances the aesthetics of your outdoor space while increasing the value of your home. But composite wood decking doesn’t have enough scalloped ends to be aesthetically pleasing and requires finishing details. What should we do with the scalloped ends of composite decking?

There are many ways to deal with the scalloped ends of composite wood decking. But different methods have different advantages and disadvantages. We need to follow up on our actual situation to choose the right method.

Picture frame border

A picture frame border is an outdoor deck made of one or more layers of boards laid around the perimeter of the deck. Typically, the deck used as a border is perpendicular to the infill deck. A framed border is one of the most common options for finishing the ends of composite decking boards.

finish composite wood decking

A picture frame border provides additional benefits while covering the end cut of the outdoor deck. For example, making your outdoor deck more aesthetically pleasing. Whether you choose a single, two, or three board frame, it provides a polished, sophisticated look to your composite wood deck. In addition to this, it can also provide versatility in design appearance. You can choose boards of the same color for a subtle look, or use a contrasting color deck for a bold aesthetic.

The biggest disadvantage of a picture frame border is the cost. It requires the addition of an additional joist with blocking at the edge of the deck. This allows for additional decking to run perpendicular to the deck to hide the ends.

In addition, mitered cuts are also a problem with picture frame borders. If the mitered joints are not handled properly. Then as the board expands and contracts due to temperature changes, the mitered joints will open up and ruin the aesthetics of the outdoor composite deck.

Raised composite fascia board

Lintels are sometimes called “deck lintels” or “edge joist covers”. It is usually used to cover the end cutouts of the deck frame and the edge joists of the board. Lintels are relatively simple to install. During installation, the deck is mounted on the deck and cut flush with the edge joists. Simply install the composite fascia board flush with the top of the deck.

Lintels have an obvious drawback. Place the trim board flush with the end joists and cover it with the fascia board. The potential for water to get trapped between the fascia and joists is high. Standing water will corrode the deck.

While a joist membrane minimizes this risk, it is still a drawback of the design.

Paint the composite decking ends

The issue with composite wood decking ends is that they aren’t the same color as the decking. The composite decking material is wrapped in your favorite color. But the ends are the color of whatever plastic bags, and sawdust you have on hand. Which can differ from one board to the next. The solution is to paint all of the ends to match the decking color and color match the polymer cap. Keeping the composite decking ends in line with the rest of the deck.

For traditional wood decks, painting is a better treatment. But composite decks are not so suitable for the painting method. Applying paint to the end of the deck may result in an ugly appearance due to color differences.

Glued on veneer cap

Similar to painting, the decking boards end but take it to a whole new level. Attach a thin veneer to the cut end of the decking. The decking is not only the same color as the top, but it also has the same texture and color pattern.

Veneer caps are not easy to obtain. While a veneer can be cut from trim, it requires a high level of skill and additional labor. In addition, special care needs to be taken during installation, as if the glue fails, the finish will also fail. For this reason, you must use contact glue, which gives you only one chance to do it.

Screw end strip to ends

A combination of veneer and picture framing. Rip a composite deck board about an inch thick and screw it to the composite decking’s ends. Give the decking boards a nice clean rounded decking edge finish.
Without all of the extra substructure work, that picture framing the deck entails or the difficulty of attaching veneer to the ends of each deck board.

Vinyl stair nosing

The interior of the house provides an older solution for finishing composite decking ends. The ends of the composite decking are finished off with vinyl stair nosing. Inside the house, similar vinyl stairs were used to finish the deck’s edge.

No additional framing is required, and it is a fraction of the cost of picture framing a composite deck.

Plastic board decking ends

Only available as a finishing option for decking boards with hollow cylinders. Small taps are tapped into the cylinders with a rubber mallet to attach the plastic end caps to the end of the deck board. Using a similar color plastic to cover the holes on the ends of the decking boards.

In most cases, the picture frame border is suitable for handling the scalloped ends of composite decks. If you are on a tight budget, you can choose raised composite fascia board. So these two methods are the two best options for finishing the ends of composite decking.

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