If you have decided that composite decking is the decking material for you, you might want to learn more about it.
As one of the most durable and long decking options, composite decking has grown in popularity across the UK.
The low-maintenance option allows homeowners to enjoy their outdoor space without spending days staining, painting and treating the deck boards like you would with timber decking.
This guide will take you through how composite decking is made and what it is made of.
What is Composite Decking Made of, and How is it Made?
Composite decking is made by mixing wood fibres with plastic and a bonding agent before being shaped to resemble traditional wooden decking boards.
A colouring agent can be added to dictate the overall colour of the finished deck board.
Ecoscape composite decking is made from 45% recycled HDPE, and reclaimed wood fibres account for 55%, making it an eco-friendly option.
Composite decking material uses reclaimed wood fibres such as sawdust and wood chips that would normally be landfilled and mix it with recycled plastics and bonding agents. All the wood sourced by Ecoscape is FSC certified.
The mixture is then extruded or moulded into the decking boards. The boards that are created resemble traditional wood decking boards but offer greater resilience and durability.
Ecoscape produce both capped and uncapped composite decking boards. The outer layer of the capped decking boards greater protection against staining and scratching. It also offers UV stability.
Composite deck boards can also be created by using a method known as compression moulding, which uses heat and pressure to mould and bond the raw materials in a wood grain mould.
Different finishes can be created with smooth, wood grain effects and grooved boards available. We have been working on our techniques for years. The colour agents are added to the process in a way to create a natural streaking process to replicate timber decking but without the drawbacks. We also brush the decking once extruded to give the board a matte timber like finish.
What is Co-Extruded Decking?
Co-extruded boards are second-generation WPC decking boards that are capped.
This process covers the surface with a durable membrane that typically uses UV inhibitors, colourants, and antioxidants to conserve the materials and ensure the boards last longer.
Capped composite decking boards that have been covered on all four sides provide greater protection and longer-lasting boards.
While co-extruded decking boards are more expensive, they are high-quality, long-lasting boards that offer impressive performance. Investing in the best decking boards when installing a decking area is a cost-effective option that minimises maintenance needs.
Benefits of Composite Decking
The state-of-the-art techniques for creating composite decking can result in a more costly option than wood, but there are numerous benefits that can make it a worthwhile investment.
The popularity of composite decking has grown significantly in the UK in recent years. Here are some of the main benefits composite decking provides property owners;
Composite decking is extremely durable, especially capped composite decking options.
Composite decking won’t splinter or split and does not rot like traditional timber decking. It won’t warp if it has been properly installed with adequate spacing to allow for thermal expansion.
Easy to Maintain
Maintenance is simple; you should only have to sweep the deck regularly to keep it free from dirt and debris.
Cleaning with warm soapy water will keep it in good condition and ensure gaps don’t get clogged and compromise drainage and ventilation.
Timber decking will require treatments, stains, and paints to protect it from moisture, wear and tear, and wood boring pests. Composite decking does not require any of this.
Composite decking is an excellent option if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint and lead a green life.
Despite containing plastics, composite decking is made up of a lot of recycled materials, minimising waste and maximising performance.
Consumers might have concerns that composite decking will have an unnatural appearance and prefer the idea of timber decking. Thankfully, composite decking has a great, long-lasting appearance.
You will be able to choose from a variety of colours to compliment any property or colour scheme. Finishes include natural wood grain, wide groove, and narrow groove.
Composite decking provides an excellent long-lasting decking solution. Properly installed and well-maintained composite decking will typically last over 25 years.
Ecoscape offers two warranty lengths for the Clarity and Forma composite decking options. First-generation Clarity composite decking boards by Ecoscape come with a 20-year warranty, and Second-generation Forma composite decking boards by Ecoscape come with a 25-year warranty.
This protection will give peace of mind to anyone thinking about installing a decking area in their home.
Increased Property Value
Investing in high-quality materials and following the supplier’s installation guide will result in a decking area that has the potential to add value to your property.
Some properties in desirable areas that install decking or roof terraces have seen their property value increase by as much as 25%. A more typical figure would be around 10%, providing a great return on investment.
One of the most common reasons that property owners install decking areas is to enjoy their outside space.
A decking area provides space that can be used year-round and is a versatile space that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Properties with steep or uneven gardens can enjoy an outdoor living space by installing composite decks on sturdy subframes.
Types of Composite Decking
Investing in composite decking boards provides numerous benefits, as we have just covered. While installing composite decking can be more expensive than traditional wood decking, it can last two to three times longer in some cases.
Minimising the time, effort, and cost of deck maintenance is another benefit that high-quality composite deck boards provide.
Choosing the perfect composite deck boards for your needs is essential, and the following options are available;
Solid Composite Decking
Solid composite deck boards are the first generation composite options that offer low maintenance, long-lasting alternative to wooden decking.
The Ecoscape Clarity composite deck board range is 95% recycled and available in 3000 mm and 4800 mm lengths.
Ecoscape Clarity composite boards have a wide 25 mm groove on one side and a narrow 6 mm groove pattern on the reverse.
Colours include ash, autumn, charcoal, graphite, and walnut and the boards come with a 20-year warranty. Installation must follow the supplier guidelines and use the accessories provided to ensure the warranty is valid.
Ecoscape used almost 4,500 tons of recycled plastic in 2021 alone and is dedicated to using ethically sourced materials.
Each Ecoscape Clarity composite decking board undergoes rigorous testing to ensure its quality and suitability.
Tests are carried out to ensure high levels of slip resistance, abrasion resistance, mould resistance, and impact resistance.
A variety of other tests are also carried out and can be checked in full on the Clarity technical specifications page.
Capped Composite Decking
Capped composite decking boards are typically more expensive because they have an additional outer layer that provides added durability.
The Ecoscape Forma composite deck board range offers the same high-quality boards as the Clarity range, with added benefits.
Ecoscape Forma decking boards are UV stable, stain and scratch resistant, and have a 25-year colour guarantee to protect against fading.
Forma composite deck boards are also available in 3000 mm and 4800 mm lengths and are available in six colours; midnight, argent, flint, silver birch, spiced oak, and Havana.
The boards come with a natural wood grain finish on one side with a wide groove pattern on the reverse.
The 25-year product warranty is valid on decks that are installed following the guidelines provided and that use the provided accessories.
Ecoscape Forma and Clarity decking boards come with hidden fasteners that allow for natural thermal expansion and a secure fit.
These low-maintenance boards won’t suffer from warping, splitting, or splintering. They do not require the regular treatments that timber decking does, and they will not rot or suffer from attacks by wood-boring insects.
Hollow Composite Decking
Hollow composite decking is a lighter and cheaper option that uses a honeycomb structure to provide strength.
Hollow composite decking boards can take on water because of their hollow core but have greater flexibility and are a great option for warmer climates.
They will typically offer similar benefits to a solid composite decking board. However, it may require more maintenance to ensure it does not become waterlogged.
Is composite decking environmentally friendly?
Yes, composite decking is environmentally friendly. Ecoscape composite decking uses 95% recycled materials, and the wood used is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved. This guarantees it is sourced from economically viable and environmentally conscious sources.
How much does composite cost?
Composite decking is typically more expensive than traditional wood decking. This is because you will enjoy a more durable, long-lasting decking board.
Forma-capped composite decking boards by Ecoscape cost £66.12 per square meter.
The cost of a small 15-square meter decking area would work out at around £991.80.
Ecoscape’s Clarity composite decking boards cost £41.55 per square meter.
The cost of a small 15-square meter decking area using Clarity composite deck boards will cost around £623.25.
You should also factor in labour costs of around £200 per day in the UK, as well as the cost of materials and labour for a high-quality subframe to support the structure.
What testing is carried out on composite decking?
Ecoscape tests for composite decking include;
- Abrasion Resistance
- Bond Strength
- Thermal Expansion
- Creep Recovery
- Degree of Chalking
- Fire Resistance
- Flexural Properties
- Impact Resistance
- Mould Resistance
- Resistance to Scratch
- UV Weathering Test
What is the best way to clean composite decking?
You should regularly sweep composite decking with a soft bristle brush to remove dirt and debris. Failure to do this can result in the gaps becoming clogged.
The gaps between composite decking allow drainage and ventilation, and this minimises the risk of standing water, mould, and mildew staining the decking or causing a slip risk.
Composite decking can be cleaned with warm soapy water or a power washer. If a power washer is used, you must check the pressure the supplier advises.
Is composite decking worth the additional cost?
Yes, composite decking is worth paying extra for. High-quality composite decking will last longer than other decking materials and require less maintenance.
The plastic components used in composite decking protect the wood fibres from moisture. This stops them from rotting and ensures long-term high performance.
As one of the most popular choices in the UK decking industry, composite decking is an excellent choice for anyone interested in improving their outside area.
Composite decking provides consumers with solid boards that require significantly less maintenance. This is due to the construction of the boards and the different materials used to create the resulting boards.
Extreme heat is used to bond the synthetic materials and real wood fibres into a desired shape to provide a finished product with solid structural integrity.
Paying more for composite decking can be a wise investment as it will last longer and minimise upkeep costs. You will be able to increase the value of a property with a well-designed deck area.
Composite deck boards are relatively straightforward to install, meaning small areas can be completed in one to two days.
Composite is an environmentally friendly option that minimises industry waste and has an excellent natural-looking finish that is available in a range of colours.