Free Samples | Contact Us
News & Events

What You Need to Know Altogether-About Composite Decking Materials

Friday, August 26, 2022

Composite decking materials are a new type of material that is perfect for people who are conscious of aesthetics and performance. A composite material is a combination of two or more different types of materials. This is the main difference between composite materials and traditional materials. For example, WPC material is a composite material made of wood fiber and recyclable plastic. This type of material is widely used in many industries such as architectural decoration, automotive interiors, and furniture making.

outdoor composite decking decorative

Composites are revolutionary and have had a major impact on the materials science industry. Composite decking materials have many advantages over other typical building materials. This is the main reason why, for home improvement, composite decking material is becoming more and more popular. Today, let’s learn what composite materials are and all the information related to them.

What is a composite material?

Composites are usually made from a combination of two or more materials. These constituent materials have different chemical or physical properties. When they are combined, they become materials with unique physical or chemical properties. For example, this composite material becomes stronger, lighter, or more resistant to high temperatures, or has greater strength and stiffness than other materials. Composite materials are developed and used because traditional natural materials do not meet the demand. As a result, composite materials are being developed and used more and more widely.

History of composite materials

Humans have been using composite materials for thousands of years of human history. As early as thousands of years ago, ancient societies had the practice of gluing strips of wood together through different angles to form plywood. Since then, the ancient Egyptians mixed sand with natural resins to make concrete structures such as pyramids and obelisks. The Mongolian Empire, which had a vast territory, used to use composite bows made of wood, bone, cow tendons, cow horns, and silk. These composite bows had excellent flexibility, hardness, and longevity.

After the Industrial Revolution, synthetic resins began to form into solid form by polymerization. After this, the first composite material was developed in 1879 by Thomas Edison, who combined carbon black and rubber to create a high-quality filament. The first commercially successful composite material was Bakelite, invented by Leo Baekeland in 1909 and made from wood flour, phenol, and formaldehyde.

In the late 19th century, scientists began to investigate various ways to improve the mechanical strength of composites by combining different types of fibers with polymers. This led to the invention of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) by Roger Bacon of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in 1954. the first practical application of CFRP was in the aerospace industry, for ballistic protection and radomes. This was followed by automotive applications, where CFRP was used initially for bumpers and later for doors and roofs.

WPC materials

In the early 20th century, reinforced plastics were developed by combining organic fibers with various resin systems. Owens Corning produced the first commercially successful fiberglass in 1938 using phenolic resin as the binder material. By the 1950s, fiberglass was used in boat hulls and other marine applications because of its low density relative to steel hulls and its corrosion resistance relative to aluminum hulls.

Why use composites?

This is because composite decking materials can combine the advantages of constituent materials. Take composite wood decking for example. if you choose to use traditional wood decking, then you need regular maintenance, otherwise, it will be susceptible to moisture, mold, and even rot. And if you use plastic flooring or decking, it will not suffer from moisture, mold, and rot, but its appearance is not beautiful enough. When you combine plastic and wood fiber into a WPC material, the properties of the two materials will combine. You get a composite wood decking material that has the appearance of natural wood and is water and mildew-resistant.

composite decking vs wood decking

The greatest advantage of composite materials is the combination of strength and lightness. Based on scientific testing, manufacturers can produce materials perfectly suited for specific applications. Another advantage of composites is their customizability. Composites can produce in different molds to produce composite products of different sizes and appearances. So composites can match almost any design style.

Common types of composite materials

Typical engineered composites include reinforced concrete and masonry, composite decking, and composite wood such as plywood. Composites are cheaper, lighter, stronger, or more durable than common materials. Below we have listed the different types of composites to give you a comprehensive understanding of them.

  • Wood-plastic composites. It is made from a mix of recyclable plastic and wood fiber, and other additives. And they have commonly used it for outdoor decking and outdoor wall panels.
  • Ceramic matrix composites. This material has better resistance to thermal shock and fracture, so it is better than ordinary ceramics.
  • Metal matrix composites. Combining the excellent properties of different metals, they are mostly used in the aerospace industry.
  • Reinforced concrete. It’s concrete reinforced with high tensile strength materials such as steel bars, and mostly used in the engineering and construction industry.
  • Plywood. It is a composite material in which they glue together many thin layers of wood at different angles. We often use it for furniture decoration.
  • Glass fiber. An inorganic non-metallic material with excellent properties. They are commonly used as reinforcement in composite materials, electrical insulation, thermal insulation materials, circuit substrates, etc.
  • Carbon fiber reinforced polymers. This is polymer matrix composites with carbon fiber as reinforcing material are new engineering materials with excellent performance.
  • Synthetic foam. It is a lightweight material made of microspheres filled with metals, ceramics, or plastics.
product composite decking

The scope of application of composite wood decking

Now we’ve learned what composite wood decking is, so let’s move on to its range of applications. Composite wood decking has the look of natural wood and the durability of a composite material. It is also available in a variety of colors and finishes, making it suitable for most outdoor applications.

Outdoor Decking Decorations

One of the most common ways for individual homeowners to build their own outdoor decks is with composite decking. With composite decking material, a deck surface that won’t crack or chip will allow your family to walk barefoot. Not only does a maintenance-free composite decking board reduce maintenance efforts but also increases the resale value of your home. Beautifying your outdoor space with composite materials is a cost-effective and modern way to do so.

Balcony Decoration

Installing composite decking on a balcony is one great way to add some outdoor space. Traditional wood decking can also be used to decorate a balcony. But since wood decking requires a lot of annual maintenance, using traditional wood or hardwood can become expensive and time-consuming.

composite decking colors

Trestle Decking

Composite wood decking is durable and low maintenance, ideal for high-traffic deck applications. The easy-to-clean composite deck board is an excellent choice for commercial projects.

Garden Decoration

COOWIN® wood composite decking has a beautiful wood look. So you can choose different colors to decorate your garden. No matter what design style your garden has, you can always find the right composite decking for your garden. Composite decking has excellent durability and is virtually maintenance-free. This means you can have more time to enjoy your garden deck.

composite decking boards

Garden room

Not only does COOWIN® have a composite decking range but also offers you a composite wall cladding range. It allows you to better decorate your garden room or house exterior wall. This will give you a better house decoration effect and allow you to enjoy your outdoor life even more.

Beach Deck

COOWIN®‘s composite deck boards will not crack or crumble and can walk on barefoot. It is especially suitable for beach areas so that visitors can walk barefoot without worrying.

Dock and Waterfront Decking

Composite deck flooring has excellent water and mildew resistance. So it is an ideal alternative to traditional wood in wet environments. It completely helps you avoid the hassle of maintenance during its lifespan.

Park decoration

Rugged composite wood decking is an excellent long-term investment. It is an attractive, low-maintenance solution that simplifies park finances and eliminates the expensive maintenance costs associated with traditional wood.

Commercial Projects

Composite decking materials are well suited for a variety of commercial applications. From outdoor restaurants to shopping stores, they provide an easy way to mark specific areas. You can build walkways with distinct areas and install some outdoor seating for pedestrians to rest.

Pool decking

Composite materials offer excellent water resistance. The extremely low water absorption means that any water on the surface of the pool deck will evaporate quickly. This prevents the pool deck from getting moldy and rotting due to moisture. 3D wood grain series and groove series composite decking have excellent anti-slip effects, allowing people to walk on it with confidence.

composite decking swimming pool

What is COOWIN® composite decking made of?

COOWIN® Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) is made from a combination of 85% recycled material and HDPE, hardwood powder, and a number of performance-optimized additives (e.g., UV resistance, anti-aging). Through our patented extrusion technology, which perfectly wraps wood powder products with HDPE, COOWIN® WPC maintains the natural impression of wood and the rich colors of plastic.

WPC materials

COOWIN® wood plastic products have outstanding characteristics such as high strength, high stiffness, acid resistance, erosion resistance, no deformation, no formaldehyde, and easy recycling. We can make it into various profiles to imitate the natural characteristics of wood. Meanwhile, the disadvantages of wood, such as cracking, insect infestation, and poor durability, can be well overcome by COOWIN® composite materials. In addition, the excellent performance of WPC makes it unnecessary to paint or maintain.

advantage of composite decking

3D wood grain series composite decking

Through years of research and development of uncovered WPC production technology, COOWIN® has successfully introduced 3D embossed and striped coloring into its decorative panels and cladding. COOWIN®‘s patented 3D wood grain surface art color looks far better than the traditional WPC decorative panels.

3D wood grain composite decking has deeper grain, better durability, and wear resistance. Perfectly imitating wood grain, it explains the significance of WPC composite decking as an alternative to solid wood decking.

composite wood decking

Capped composite decking

COOWIN® capped composite decking features four-sided capped technology for better scratch resistance as well as superior resistance to sunlight, stains, mold and mildew, and bacteria.

Capped composite decking, thanks to an exclusive coating formula, has none of the drawbacks of other materials, such as the unwelcome plastic feel of PVC flooring, the unwelcome fading nature of traditional laminate flooring, and the annoying splintering and cracking of solid wood. COOWIN®‘s unique coating technology gives you an extra contact experience with antistatic, comfortable softness, and low thermal conductivity.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Composite decking

Composite decking is very widely used, but what are the reasons for its wide application? Next, let’s understand the advantages of composite wood decking. Then you will understand why composite decking boards are the best alternative to wood decking.

Advantages of Composite wood decking

Natural wood grain appearance

Composite deck boards have an attractive appearance, which looks like real wood grain. Besides, depending on the surface treatment and production technology, composite decking can be produced in different colors and textures. Therefore, composite material is the perfect choice for your home decoration.

Low maintenance

Traditional wood decking has a beautiful appearance. But it can fade, crack or rot after long periods of exposure to the elements. Therefore, to keep your wood deck looking beautiful, you need to spend time on regular maintenance. Due to the advantages of composite materials, composite wood decking does not require as much regular maintenance, painting, or staining as wood decking. This eliminates the need for ongoing costs, later on, leaving you with more time to enjoy the outdoors. This is one of the biggest advantages of WPC decking.

Low maintenance decking

Durability

WPC material has higher durability than natural wood. It effectively resists fading, staining, scratching, and mildewing, as well as cracking, warping, and rotting. In addition, composite material is not afraid of water corrosion and has excellent durability. As a result, it has a long service life, and with good use, it can last you 30 years or more.

Cost-effective

Traditional wood decking is cheap. However, after the outdoor project is built, you still need to pay for regular maintenance. On the other hand, composite deck boards may cost more to install than pressure-treated wood decking. But when it is installed, you can go ahead and enjoy the outdoor life without paying maintenance costs. Therefore, composite decking is more cost-effective than wood decking.

Sustainability

As the world enters the 21st century, environmental protection and sustainability are becoming more and more accepted. Composite decking by COOWIN® is manufactured using wood flour and recyclable plastic. The wood powder can be made from tree branches and wood chips. The use of wood flour can improve the utilization of tree resources. And the use of recyclable plastic can effectively reduce plastic waste in our lives and protect our living environment. In other words, using composite wood decking to decorate your house and yard can save natural resources, and reduce pollution. And at the same time can create elegant and environmentally friendly architecture.

Good resistance to insects

Termites are a pest that plagues many people. It will gnaw the wood and breed more termites inside. Over time, it can damage the structure of your home and eventually cause safety hazards to you and your family. To avoid the damage caused by termites, traditional wood decks are treated with toxic chemicals and insecticides to keep the insects away. But this not only pollutes the environment, but the effectiveness of insect control decreases over time. Composite decking boards with good insect protection are ideal for areas where termites and other pests are present.

Easy to install

Composite decking is easy to install and its unique construction allows for better fastening of the deck. The joists, also made of composite material, allow composite deck flooring to be installed in a variety of applications. In addition, COOWIN® will provide you with detailed installation manuals and installation videos, even if you don’t have the relevant installation experience. You can still be able to install your outdoor composite deck boards yourself.

easy to install

Easy to clean

Both composite wood decking and coated capped composite decking have good water resistance. So we can simply remove any dirt or other debris from the surface of composite deck boards. When grease, wine stains, or other food residues fall on the surface of the deck, you only need to prepare warm soapy water to rinse it off.

Easy to clean

Customizable

As a man-made outdoor deck, composite deck flooring is available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures. You can also customize it with matching sizes, textures, and colors to suit your needs. So no matter what design style your house is, composite decking will match your style well and make your house more cozy and comfortable.

Customizable

Disadvantages of Composite decking

High purchase cost

Although composite decking boards do not require post-maintenance costs, however, it is more expensive to purchase than pressure-treated lumber. Composites can cost 15% to 20% more to purchase than pressure-treated pine decking.

Plastic texture  

The composite decking material is not natural wood. Early composite decking had a single color and a strong plastic feel. However, today’s composite wood decking has been significantly improved. Of course, when you look closely at it up close, you will still see the plastic texture.

Expansion and contraction cause damage

When the temperature fluctuates widely, composite deck boards will expand and contract. If your composite deck flooring is not installed properly and does not allow for proper expansion joints, then when it expands and contracts, they may squeeze together. This means that your outdoor deck may buckle, twist and bend. Damage to composite deck boards due to expansion and contraction may require immediate replacement.

How to install Composite decking

In the previous section, we’ve learned some information about composite decking. We have a preliminary understanding of the development, application, advantages, and disadvantages of this material. Now let’s learn more about how to install composite decking.

prepare to install Composite decking

Preparation before installation

  • Building Codes. The construction of any project must follow local building codes. Before starting an outdoor deck project, it is recommended that you draw a site plan for the project to obtain building department permits and avoid subsequent problems with project violations.
  • Design Planning. Before you start laying the outdoor deck, plan the layout of the flooring. It’s to ensure that your outdoor project can improve the aesthetics of the house.
  • Safety Equipment. When working on a construction project, it is necessary to wear proper safety equipment to protect your personal safety. The following safety equipment is recommended when handling, cutting, and installing: gloves, respiratory protection, long sleeves, long pants, and safety glasses.
  • Use of Tools. Standard carpentry tools may be used.
  • Installation Environment. A clean, smooth, level, and solid surface are required. The area where the deck is to be installed needs to be treated.
  • Product Prep. Composite products need to place on a flat surface. Also, composite deck boards need to be left for 3 to 5 days before they are installed. This is to allow the composite product to acclimate to the environment and to avoid expansion and contraction problems after installation.

Installing the joist

When installing joists, they should lay as perpendicular to the floor as possible. The gap between joists should be no more than 14 inches (350 mm). If joists and decking cannot be perpendicular, select the appropriate joist clearance based on the angle between the joists and the decking.

Leave a gap of 1/4″ – 1/2″ (6-13 mm) between the end of the joist and the obstruction. Allow 1/5″ (5 m) between the two joists for ventilation and drainage. Use expansion screws to secure joists with no more than 2.0” (500mm) between expansion screws.

Installing the joist

Start Clip Installation

Pre-drill the guide holes and secure the starter clips to the middle of the joists with screws. Make sure each starting clip is installed in a straight line, then slide the trim board into the starter clip. It is important to note that the first board must be straight and secure.

Start Clip Installation

Start Board Installation

Identify and mark the location of the starter clips with a short piece of composite decking board. Secure the starter clips to the joists with screws at the marked locations.

Then place the starter board on all the starter clips and push forward to the end. Finally, fix the starter plate on the joists by fixing the screws at an angle of 90° to the middle of the joists. The distance between the screws and the side ends of the joists should be at least 1″ (25 mm). It is important to note that the guide holes must be pre-drilled before securing the screws to avoid damage to the composite decking product.

Start Board Installation

Decking installation

Once the starting board has been installed, we need to move on to the composite wood decking. Place two composite deck boards close to each other, keeping them at a proper distance. Then attach them to the joists using the appropriate fittings or screws. Then install the rest of the composite decking boards in the same order on top of the joists. Finally, slide the last decking board into the clips and secure it in the middle of the joist by placing screws at an angle through the edges of the notches in the board.

Decking installation

It is important to note that gaps need to be left when installing composite decking to prevent deformation and warping caused by thermal expansion and contraction. Choose the correct pre-gap during installation based on the length of the composite decking and the temperature at the time of installation. The clearance between the floor and solid objects (i.e., walls) should be 1/4″-1/2″ (6-13 mm). The maximum allowable vertical overhang of the floor is 2″ (50mm).

install composite decking

How to buy composite decking?

We already know a lot about composite decking boards. Finally, it’s all about choosing the right color, surface, and type of decking for your situation.

Do you live in a sunny area?

A darker composite decking will absorb more heat. If you live in a sunny area, choose a lighter-colored deck. Lighter-colored composite wood decking does not retain too much heat, which prevents the outdoor deck from reflecting heat and making you feel too hot.

For the same reason, if you live in an area that is colder. Then we recommend that you use composite deck boards in a darker color range. When you are relaxing outdoors, a darker outdoor deck can make you feel warmer.

Do you live in a humid area?

If you live in a coastal city, or in an area where it rains a lot, Then when you choose composite decking, please give preference to groove composite decking. Groove decking surface can provide good anti-slip performance and avoid the surface of the decking from becoming slippery due to moisture.

If you’re still torn between groove and wood grain, it doesn’t matter – COOWIN® offers a variety of double-sided decking with the groove on one side and 3D wood grain on the other. It simply gives you more options so you can better decorate your patio.

Hollow or solid composite decking?

As an artificially manufactured outdoor deck, hollow composite decking also exists. Compared to solid composite decking boards, hollow decking is lower in weight and easier to transport. And its hollow structure facilitates air circulation and drainage.

While solid composite wood decking is much heavier, it is more like solid wood decking. In addition, solid composite decking has higher strength, so it is stronger and can absorb noise better.

Uncapped or Capped Composite Decking?

Capped composite decking materials are also low maintenance, easy to install, and easy to clean. Unlike the composite deck board generation, capped composite decking has a polymer shell. This polymer shell provides additional protection with a higher level of water and mildew resistance. Therefore, you can choose the type of composite decking you need according to your actual needs.

capped composite decking
Related Article
Read More >>
10 Ways to Reuse Composite Decking Boards
Monday, September 19, 2022
Have wondered what to do with composite decking boards that you don't need? Here are 10 creative ideas for using leftover composite decking.
Small backyard deck ideas and designs
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
With these small backyard deck design ideas below. And you can learn how to make the most of your small outdoor space.
How to Build a Raised Deck on the Ground?
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
The raised deck is great for outdoor entertaining, and they bring fun outside. This way you can enjoy the fresh air and beautiful views.
Design ideas for brown composite decking
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
When you are building an outdoor deck with composite decking, you may want to consider brown composite decking.