If you’re planning to add decking to your caravan or mobile home you’ll be considering which material is the best choice. There are many factors to take into account such as longevity, maintenance, slip resistance, water resistance and costs.
Composite decking has advantages over all other materials in many of the most important metrics. This is due to the uniqueness of its composition and its amazing durability.
In this guide, we’re going to examine the reasons that composite decking is ideal for caravans and mobile homes. We’re also going to take a look at some other decking materials to see how they compare to composite.
What Is Composite Decking?
Composite decking boards are quickly becoming the most popular choice for home and caravan decking. They have a lot of advantages over traditional decking options that make them ideal for building decks anywhere.
Composite decking is made from a mixture of recycled wood fibres and plastic polymers. During the manufacturing process, this mixture is first melted down through a process called co-extrusion. The material is then passed through a ‘die’ which shapes it into decking boards.
This material makes composite decking boards much more durable than traditional decking materials such as wood. It also has many more benefits that we will take a close look at later in this article.
Composite decking boards can either be capped or uncapped. Capped boards have an extra layer of plastic polymer coated onto the outside of the panels. This increases their longevity and durability even more.
Although they are slightly more expensive than uncapped boards, the extra costs are usually worth it for the added protection.
Why Should You Add Static Caravan Decking?
There are many reasons to install decking around your static caravan. Static caravan decking will provide you with more space to relax outside and an area where you can arrange your garden furniture.
It also gives you a level surface so that you can easily step out of your static caravan onto your outside area without having to climb down any steps.
Installing static caravan decking is a great way to add value to your holiday home if you plan to sell it in the future. As composite decking lasts for a long time it makes your static caravan more desirable to prospective owners.
Adding composite caravan decking can also make your holiday home more accessible for disabled guests. An access ramp can be incorporated into your caravan decking meaning that your holiday home will be easy to access for those who use wheelchairs or elderly people.
Good for business
If you own a caravan or mobile home park then adding decking to your caravans will make them more appealing to your customers. Static caravans with an outside deck area are a much more alluring prospect than those without.
Although British weather is notoriously inconsistent, you want your guests to be able to enjoy the sun in comfort when it’s out.
Another perk of adding decking to your static caravan is that will give you a lot of extra storage space. If your decking area is raised then you will have a handy storage area where you can keep classic holiday items like wellies, boots, and fishing nets.
This will free up more space inside your holiday home and reduce the amount of dirt that’s carried inside after days out.
Why Is Composite The Best Choice For Caravan Decking?
So, adding caravan decking or mobile home decking clearly has many benefits, but why should you choose composite decking over the other options that are available?
There is a multitude of reasons why composite decking is the best choice for your static caravan. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant advantages it has over traditional decking.
Durability & longevity
As it’s made with a mixture of wood and plastic polymers, composite decking is very durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions. Composite is a dense and strong material that doesn’t split, crack or warp easily.
This amazing durability means that composite decking is also long-lasting and doesn’t need to be repaired or replaced for a very long time. On average, you can expect your composite deck to last for between 25 and 30 years.
If you choose capped decking boards instead of uncapped ones they will be even more durable. They also tend to have more longevity than uncapped boards meaning they will last even longer.
Virtually no maintenance
One of the biggest advantages of composite decking is that it is very low-maintenance. Unlike wood decking, it doesn’t need to be treated, stained, painted or sealed in order to maintain its durability and longevity.
You only need to clean it around once every six months with hot water, soap and a soft bristle brush, or a power washer.
This will save you a lot of hassle and time, and will also save you money in the long term. You won’t need to buy expensive paint, treatments or chemical cleaners in order to maintain your caravan decking.
The fact that composite decking boards require such little maintenance also means that you won’t need to waste any of the precious time you spend at your holiday home.
If you notice your caravan decking is dirty just give it a quick wash and then get back to enjoying yourself.
The mixture of wood and plastic that is used to make composite boards means that they are very resistant to UV light and fading. This means that your caravan decking boards will maintain their appearance over the course of their service life. If UV is an important factor then please choose our Forma or Grande composite decking range.
You may notice some slight fading during the first few months after they’re installed. However, this process will then slow down or stop altogether once they’ve been exposed to UV light for a short amount of time.
Capped composite boards are even more UV-resistant than uncapped boards. The extra layer of polymer coating prevents fading and means that your caravan decking will hold its colour for even longer than it would with uncapped boards.
The plastic polymers inside composite decking mean that it’s a very water-resistant material. The plastic content prevents moisture from penetrating into the core of the boards. This makes composite decking resistant to rot, mould, and algae.
Being resistant to rot greatly increases the longevity of composite caravan decking and means that it doesn’t need to be treated in order to prevent rot from taking hold.
This is particularly beneficial for static caravan decking as you may not visit your holiday home very often. Composite caravan decking means you won’t have to worry about any rotting taking place whilst you’re away.
Composite boards are also slip-resistant making them the ideal choice for wet climates, such as the UK. They come with a textured finish that provides a good grip underfoot and minimises the risk of slipping on them when they’re wet.
The material used to make composite decking also means that surface water evaporates very quickly from the boards. After heavy rainfall, you can expect your composite caravan decking to be dry within around 30 minutes.
Slippery decking boards can be very hazardous, especially if you also install steps into your caravan decking. Using composite will give you peace of mind whilst enjoying your time away, without having to worry about any potential slip hazards. Ecoscape composite decking boards exceed the BS EN15534 pendulum test in both wet and dry conditions. Please refer to our technical specifications.
Composite caravan decking boards can be installed without the use of nails or screws. Hidden fasteners can instead be used to secure the boards. This means that there is no risk of injury from loose or protruding nails and screws.
The sturdy and durable nature of composite boards also means they’re very unlikely to buckle or collapse when used in areas with high footfall. This is particularly important if you’re planning on building a raised deck outside of your static caravan.
The synthetic material contained in composite boards makes them inedible to wood-burrowing insects. Imagine arriving at your holiday home to find that your deck is infested with insects and has been hollowed out from the inside.
This won’t be a worry if you choose composite when you install decking around your static caravan. The plastic polymers inside the boards mean that insects can’t penetrate into the core and would be repelled by the material anyway.
Contraction & expansion
As with all other decking boards, composite boards do expand and contract due to temperature fluctuations. However, due to their water resistance, they expand and contract far less than other materials such as wood decking.
Composite boards expand in high temperatures and contract in low temperatures, but only by a small amount. This means that they are not prone to warping, splitting or cracking over time.
An important thing to consider when adding decking to your caravan is that you need to leave the right amount of space in between the composite boards.
This will give the board enough room to expand and contract without the risk of there being friction which can lead to damage. As a rule, you should always leave between 3mm and 6mm of space between composite boards when installing them.
In the current climate, the eco-friendliness of the products we use has become a very important consideration. One of the many benefits of composite decking is that it’s one of the most environmentally-friendly materials currently available.
The plastic and wood that are used to make composite decking come from recycled material. This helps to reduce waste and keep plastic out of landfills.
Our composite decking products are made using up to 95% recycled material and the wood we use is FSC-certified. Using composite decking is one of the ways in which you can contribute to a more sustainable future.
As composite boards don’t need to be treated, stained or sealed there is also no risk of harmful chemicals being released into the environment. This greatly limits the ecological impact that composite boards have over the course of their lifespan.
As well as having practicality, you also want your holiday home to look the best that it can. Composite boards come in a wide range of colours that can compliment any caravan and revitalise the look of your outdoor area.
Composite boards are also easy to cut and have a huge amount of versatility. This means that they can be used in almost any outdoor space and can be modified to fit around caravans and mobile homes of all shapes and sizes.
Composite decking has a natural wood finish that gives a traditional look to your deck but with all the modern-day benefits of composite. This is guaranteed to improve the aesthetic appeal of any caravan or mobile home.
It will also add value to your holiday home and make it easier to sell if you wish to do so.
Although composite decking may be slightly more expensive than other materials such as wood, you will save money over time. This is largely due to the lack of maintenance that is required to keep composite boards at their best.
There’s no need to spend money on things like treatments or staining products. The only real expense will be the upfront cost of the boards and the installation.
As composite boards last for such a long time you also won’t have the added expense of repairs and replacements during your deck’s lifespan. All of these factors mean that composite is a very cost-effective material in the long term.
How Does Composite Decking Compare To Other Types Of Caravan Decking?
There are several other types of decking such as wood decking, UPVC decking, and aluminium decking that can also be used to build a deck for your caravan. Although they do have some benefits, the negatives mostly outweigh the positives when compared to composite decking.
As you’ve already seen, there are many pros to choosing composite when adding decking to your caravan but it’s always useful to compare it to other materials to see how they stack up against it. So, let’s take a look at how the three other most popular decking materials compare to composite.
Wood decking is the most traditional decking material and is still a very popular choice. Although it may be aesthetically pleasing it does have many downsides compared to composite.
Wood decking absorbs water very easily meaning that it’s susceptible to rot, splitting and mould. As a result, it has poor longevity and usually needs to be replaced every 10 years or so.
To try and prevent rot and mould in wood decking, it must be treated and stained at least once a year. This is time-consuming, costly, and bad for the environment. It would also mean that you may have to make trips to your caravan just to take care of your wooden deck.
Wood also contracts and expands far more than composite. This is because the moisture inside the boards freezes when it’s cold and evaporates very quickly when it’s hot. This means that wood decking warps and cracks over time which further reduces its longevity.
Another downside to wood decking is that it becomes very slippery when wet. This makes it a poor choice for wet climates like the UK as it can pose a significant safety risk after water exposure.
UPVC decking has some similar benefits to composite decking but there are also several downsides. As it’s made from 100% plastic, it is water-resistant and isn’t susceptible to mould and rot. It also requires little maintenance and doesn’t need to be stained, sealed or treated.
However, UPVC decking is much more difficult to install than composite. This is because it’s not as flexible meaning that special tools are often required to bend and fit it. Unlike composite boards, installing UPVC boards around your caravan may require a specialist contractor.
UPVC decking is also the least environmentally-friendly option when it comes to decking materials. When UPVC is manufactured, harmful toxins are released into the environment which contributes to air, land and water pollution.
In terms of slip resistance, UPVC decking doesn’t perform as well as composite decking. As UPVC boards often have a smooth finish they tend to become fairly slippery when wet which increases the risk of accidents.
Aluminium decking is possibly the least aesthetically pleasing of all the decking materials. Unlike composite, it doesn’t have a natural wood finish which means it doesn’t compliment caravans or mobile homes as well as composite does.
Aluminium is also notoriously slippery when exposed to water as ice can form on its surface quite easily. Clearly, this is not ideal for cold and wet climates such as we have in the UK.
An often overlooked downside to aluminium decking is also the amount of noise that it makes. As it’s metal, it tends to give off loud pinging noises when people walk across it.
Although this might not seem like a big issue it can become irritating, especially when you’re trying to relax outside your caravan.
Do Holiday Parks Allow Caravan Decking?
Before installing decking around your caravan, you’ll need to check that the holiday park or site will allow you to do it. In most places, it shouldn’t be an issue but many sites will have certain stipulations about how far you can extend your deck away from your caravan.
Sites in certain locations may also only allow you to use a specific type of decking material. So, before you begin, make sure you check everything with the site operator.
Can you seal composite decking?
Although there is no need to seal composite boards it doesn’t mean that you can’t. In fact, sealing them should add to their durability and longevity. If you decide to seal your composite deck make sure you use an eco-friendly sealer that doesn’t contain solvents, heavy metals or biocides.
Do composite boards get hot easily?
As with UPVC decking and wood decking, composite decking does get hot when exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Composite does not expand as significantly as wood decking in high temperatures though, and its longevity isn’t affected by sun exposure.
One way of mitigating heat retention is to choose a light colour for your composite boards, as dark colours absorb heat more easily.
Do composite boards scratch easily?
As composite boards aren’t painted they don’t scratch as easily as wooden boards do. They also don’t mark easily when heavy furniture or other items are dragged across their surface. If you have chosen the Clarity composite decking boards we advise that extra caution is taken when moving furniture or heavy items around your deck, in all its not as robust as the Forma or Grande range.
Composite has a huge number of benefits when it comes to choosing the ideal material for caravan decking. Composite boards are highly durable, water-resistant, and slip-resistant and will last for a very long time.
A holiday home should be a care-free environment where you can relax and not to have to worry about the little things.
Choose Ecoscape composite decking for your caravan, so you can rest assured that you’ll have a safe and pleasant deck area for many years to come.