Composite decking has grown in popularity over recent years because it offers some advantages over other hard surfaces. Like any kind of decking, a composite deck will need less ground preparation than laying a patio. This means it can be a good option for you if your outside space is uneven, if you have tree roots in the way, or if you’re looking to create more than one level.
Ultimately whether you choose composite decking, timber decking or paving for your garden will be a personal choice, depending on your budget and your views about maintenance, looks and sustainability.
Why choose composite over timber decking?
Softwood and some hardwood decking options can cost less initially than composite decking. However, with composite boards there’s no need to regularly stain or treat the boards as you would do with timber. And with an expected lifespan of at least 20 years, you’re likely to save money on repairs and replacement in the long run. Composite boards also tend to be splinter-free, have no toxic additives and won’t warp or rot.
SAiGE composite deck boards are made from 95% recycled materials (wood fibre from furniture factories which would otherwise be scrapped, and waste plastic bottles) so they’re a great option if you’re keen to reduce your environmental impact.
Composite boards can give you a wider range of colours and finishes than timber decking; for example, SAiGE composite decking is available in a contemporary board and a more traditional rustic option, each with a grooved side on the reverse, and with a choice of colours to suit your garden design.
Is composite decking slippery?
Composite decking has low absorbency which limits how much mould and algae can grow. It will still benefit from cleaning, but you won’t have to worry about it getting slippery when it’s wet. This makes it especially suitable for using round pools and by water. SAiGE composite decking also has an anti-slip textured surface.
Will composite decking fade?
As with many materials exposed to daylight, you can expect a degree of fading. With SAiGE composite decking, the boards will fade by approximately 10%-15% within the first 2-3 months after installation. After this the colour pigments stabilise.
Can composite decking be cut?
Composite decking is easy to cut like wood using a saw and doesn’t need any specialist tools. We recommend a circular saw blade with 48-72 teeth. This is because saw blades with fewer teeth stay cooler and last longer.
What composite decking is best?
With many suppliers and products on the market, how do you know which composite decking is right for you? As well as thinking about budget and style, make sure you get value for money by looking at the structural properties and quality of the boards you are considering.
Hollow or solid boards?
Both can handle considerable weight for every day use. Hollow boards have the advantage of being lighter than solid boards. However, if you are considering putting weighty objects on your decking, like a hot tub or furniture, solid boards would offer more stability. Solid decking can also be more suitable for sunken decking areas or areas with limited air flow. This is because you can adjust the gap between solid boards to 5mm, which will allow for better air circulation than the 2mm gap required between hollow boards.
Test results for anti-slip and strength
Manufacturers’ should be able to provide test data that tells you about the strength and anti-slip properties of their decking. Watch out for composite decking boards with very low anti-slip test results and strength ratings. SAiGE composite decking boards are one of the market leaders in terms of tensile strength and anti- slip test results. Check out the SAiGE test data.
How materials affect durability and aesthetics
SAiGE composite boards are made up of 50% recycled wood fibres and 45% recycled plastic. This gives them excellent strength and low water absorption.
If boards have a higher proportion of wood fibres or if they haven’t been mixed properly, they will often have white wood flecks running through them. A higher percentage of wood will also increase the chances of water absorption and rotting.
On the other hand, boards which have a high percentage of plastic can look a lot more artificial than traditional timber decking. SAiGE boards also have a brushed finish on both sides to take off the shiny plastic effect, giving them a much higher quality finish.
Quality of fixings
Hollow decking boards tend to be fixed with either plastic or powder coated aluminium fixings. Aluminium is longer lasting and can allow for tighter, less visible joints.
Solid boards tend to be fixed with screws. For a neat-looking finish, choose decking that can be installed with colour-coded stainless steel screws that will not rust and look discrete.