The decking possibilities are truly endless for the lucky few who live in a moderate climate with comfortable temperatures and humidity levels year-round. For the rest of us that live in an imperfect world where the sun beats down in the summer, rainstorms last for days, and winter snows bury your yard until spring, you may need to be more particular in your choice of decking materials. The chemicals in pressure-treated lumber cannot protect the wood from this type of harsh weather for long. When the snow finally thaws in the spring, it can reveal cracked and warped boards, popped nails, and many necessary repairs.
Eliminating the headache of redoing your deck every spring can be as straightforward as choosing a decking material that will hold up to the harsh weather typical to Colorado and many other areas of the country.
Benefits of Composite Decking
Wood decking boards are beautiful in large part because they come from a living organism. The natural variation in knots and grains and the disorderly way the wood’s color changes from board to board are hard to mimic. Because the wood was once part of a living thing, it is not static. It expands and contracts as it comes in contact with water and in reaction to temperature changes. Over time, this cycle of expansion and contraction breaks down the structure of the wood, causing warping, cracking, and splintering.
Composite wood products are made from a mixture of natural and artificial products, usually sawdust and plastics. As such, the boards do not expand and contract as the temperature changes. The wood doesn’t swell during rainstorms either as it does not absorb the water. Thus, it avoids the main problems that lead to deck board replacement.
2. Resists Growth
The dust, pollen, leaves, and other organic matter that collects on the surface of your deck trap moisture on the surface of the boards. This moist organic layer is the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and algae. Not only are these growths unsightly, but they can cause damage to your wooden deck boards.
Decking boards made from composite materials resist this type of build-up. Most manufacturers coat their boards with a protective coating that makes removing dirt and pollen an easy job. In most cases, you can clean your deck by sweeping debris away, but we do recommend washing your deck once a year with water and mild soap to remove tougher dirt and grime.
Have you ever noticed that products seem to fail right about the time the warranty runs out? Products that offer an extended warranty period can usually be trusted to outlast their warranty. Most composite decking companies provide a 25-year warranty on their products. While the specifics vary from brand to brand, they cover manufacturing defects, fading, warping, and cracking. You can rest assured that your deck is covered for 25 years despite the weather.
Lumber companies are working hard to develop and maintain sustainable growing and harvesting practices to provide greener decking and fencing options for consumers. However, composite decking is already ahead of the curve, using recycled products in every part of their product. Most incorporate reclaimed wood and sawdust into their decking, and some even use recycled plastic in the packaging. They are not reliant on harvested wood to produce their product. The fact that the boards do not need replacing often is another win for the planet because you need less product to maintain your deck.
Colorado winter storms can hit hard and fast, piling up snow on everything in sight. Quality composite decking is strong enough to hold several feet of heavy snow. More importantly, it can endure the days of melting and refreezing that inevitably follow.
Wooden deck boards can absorb the moisture from the snow melting during the day and then freeze overnight, damaging them. Because the water runs off the composite boards, they are unphased by the thawing and refreezing that occurs when temperatures drop again.
While Trex is one of the most well-known composite decking companies, they don’t hold a monopoly on the market. There are many composite products available, and you should explore your options and decide which one will fit your needs the best.
One of our favorite products is TimberTech decking. Made in the United States, TimberTech offers a 30-year warranty against fading and staining. A durable polymer shell covers all four sides of the boards to protect them from the outdoor elements. Rather than sticking to solid earth tones, TimberTech offers boards that look like natural wood, adding variation and interest to the appearance of your deck. The grain and texture give you the beauty of hand-scraped hardwood floors that are suitable for the outdoors.
If you live in a climate like the Denver area that experiences the best and the worst of each season, you should consider building a composite deck. The added strength and durability of composite boards will serve you well for many years. The best part is that you don’t have to give up the beauty of natural wood in doing so.