What is Composite Decking?
Updated: Mar 6
With all the different types of decking available, choosing the right product for your project can be a challenge. Composite decking continues to be a popular choice for buyers who desire an alternative to traditional wood. In this blog post, we define composite decking, explore the drawbacks, and explain how we designed WearDeck to fill in the gaps in the industry.
Defining composite decking
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines composite as "made of various parts or substances." To produce composite decking, manufacturers combine natural and synthetic ingredients. Most composite deck boards are a mixture of wood fiber, virgin or recycled plastic, and chemical additives.
Composite decking usually falls into two categories: uncapped wood composite and capped wood composite. Uncapped wood composite is the most susceptible to mold and mildew due to its exposed wood ingredients. Capped wood composite boards offer increased protection as they are sealed in a plastic shell.
Problems with Composite Decking
Though more durable than traditional wood lumber, builders and homeowners share common concerns about composite decking. Composite deck boards contain porous wood fibers that absorb moisture, fade, stain, swell and feed bacteria. Despite the synthetic ingredients and chemical additives, composite decking remains susceptible to the factors that inevitably deteriorate wood.
If you research the problems associated with composite decking, you will find a list of recurring issues. SFGATE cites three significant failures: persistent mold, delamination, and sunlight issues. Even in a plastic shell, capped wood composite risks molding with inadequate airflow or regular water exposure. Composite boards split, delaminate and peel due to thermal expansion and contraction. Composite generally weighs more than lumber yet provides less strength, causing boards to sag and bend. Composite decks tend to become slippery when wet, stained and faded over time, and unbearably hot on sunny days.
Advantages of WearDeck
Feeling discouraged by all the concerns that come along with composite decking? We were, too. That's why we created totally synthetic WearDeck using virgin High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) reinforced with fiberglass. Our founder worked in the plastics industry for over 20 years before he created WearDeck to overcome composite decking's shortcomings.
How does WearDeck outperform composite decking? Our completely synthetic boards are immune to water damage, rot, mold, mildew and insect infestation. WearDeck is rated for ground contact and underwater installation and boasts the highest live load rating in the industry. Our boards weigh less than most composite boards, add to the structural stability of projects, and experience minimal expansion and contraction. WearDeck includes a 25-year UV package to curtail fading and resists stains more effectively than most composite. Our heat-reflective boards have a wood grain finish for a non-slip surface that you will enjoy for generations to come.