If you've ever scrubbed mold, mildew, dust and dirt from your formerly pristine deck, or, worse yet, had to replace a rotten board or an entire deck surface, you'll be pleased to know there's a low-maintenance, long-lasting option out there: composite decking. Whether you're planning a new deck or ready to replace an existing one, this synthetic decking material could be right for you.
Composite decking's greatest advantage is also its greatest weakness, in the minds of some: it's not a natural material. Composed primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic, composite decking comes in a wide range of colors and stains, and it won't warp, split or crack. In trade for a long-lasting deck that will be relatively low-maintenance, you may have to sacrifice the look and feel of natural hardwood.
When it comes to composite decking, the best illustration of its value is probably in the warranty. Many brands of composite decking come with a 20-year or even lifetime warranty against degradation. Obviously, a natural wood deck wouldn't come with a similar guarantee, and would also require substantial labor to maintain.
Composite decking also comes in a variety of colors and textures that mimic the appearance and even the feel, to some degree, of real wood.
One thing to note regarding composite decking is that it's generally more expensive than low- to medium-tier natural wood decking—but it's reasonable to suggest that you're paying up front for less maintenance later.
See also: Deck and Patio Design Ideas
Learn about decking materials and the options available for your deck project
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