Composite decks and manufactured decking is quickly becoming the most popular choice. Manufactured decks are built of materials that just keeps improving. Through technological advances in the last two decades, these materials are some of the best available. But, most composite deck owners take for granted the ease-of-use that comes with composite decks. We will nine times out of ten recommend that new deck builds should be done using composite materials, simply for the durability and strength as well as the value it brings to a home. Since composite is made up of recycled materials, this is also an eco-friendly option!
New homeowners looking to replace a forgotten deck, or for long-time homeowners looking to renovate their yard should consider a composite deck. It’s a great opportunity to better utilize the space in your yard and focus on the aesthetic appeal outside of your home. There are a variety of materials used to deliver a visually outstanding deck for you to entertain friends and family with.
These materials are all used for the walking surface of the deck area. Each has its own pros and cons that come it. The surface area of decks is made of either composite, PVC or Cap-stock/hybrid. Some of these have protective shells or a coating.
“Composite” refers both to the category of decking materials that contain inorganic material and to a specific subset of that materials.
Most “composite” decking is now actually capped composite or pure PVC, though we still use the word composite as a shorthand to refer to these materials. Azek, Timbetech, and Trex are all good examples of this catergory of materials; our certified installers are knowledgeable in the installation of all of these brands as well as many more.
True composite, the wood-plastic mix favored in the 90’s, has fallen out of favor due to the many superior traits of it’s capped-composite cousin. It is still available on the market but it’s only used in the most budget-oriented projects.
This is what most people think of when they hear “Composite Decks” although there are a number of options available.
PVC and Cap-Stock
PVC and Cap-Stock decking have some advantages when compared with basic composite decking. It is far more resistant to fading and staining. So much so that most manufacturers will offer a fade and stain warranty. Speak with your composite deck builder if this is material you’re considering using PVC and cap-stock. These products have a bit more resistance to scratching. Where composite decking material is easily scratch from someone walking across it or dragging a chair, these materials aren’t so easily phased.
The downside of PVC and Cap-stock is that most of the time they don’t exactly look like wood. Some manufacturers are delivering higher quality deep wood tones. They retain their low-maintenance while appearing closer to that wood deck appeal that most homeowners want.
Aside from other composites available, PVC and cap-stock are more durable, cleans easier and is highly recommended by us and many other professional deck builders.
There isn’t just one reason that most people prefer the variety of composite materials when building their deck. Any general contractor will tell you that although the material itself isn’t superior to all forms of wood, they offer a unique set of benefits.
The composite material is known for its resistance to cracking or splitting. The only time you should see any type of cracks would be near the ends of a board. Usually, these occur from over-tightening a screw or if the railing is especially tight in this area. This isn’t an uncommon thing to come across and most of the time you’ll never notice. If you are concerned about small cracks, communicate with your composite deck builder that you don’t want to see these. That way they can take extra care around railing and drilling.
When using composite materials, you should expect your deck to last about thirty years or so. They usually stand up better to decay and rot when compared to wood decking options. Your local home improvement company can help you decide what the risk of rot and decay is in your area. For a long-lasting and beautiful composite deck, many deck builders will use manufacturers like Trex or Azek.
Many homeowners attempt to DIY a composite deck and realize halfway through that this is much more than a weekend project. Because composite decks are longer lasting, people usually buy up the expensive materials and either don’t have the equipment to work with them or don’t know how. A deck builder won’t recommend taking on this project yourself unless you have past experience working with composite materials.
Using these materials and tools, a composite deck builder will have no problem installing your deck:
These with the hard work of an experienced deck builder team, and you can have a deck in your backyard in just a few days.
Step One: Planning
A deck builder would meet with you first to identify where in your yard you want your deck to go up. In most cases, there is no problem with your selection. However, your local home improvement company may suggest different sizes or locations based on your yard’s layout or existing water systems.
Afterward, the deck builder will rope or mark off the area where your deck will be!
Step 2: Preparing
After the planning is done, your composite deck builder will start evaluating how to best prep the ground. Usually, this calls for laying out a weed-guard mat and digging holds where the primary posts will be set. Sometimes a deck builder will lay concrete in key areas. All of this is to ensure that your deck isn’t disturbed by unwanted growth or any ground shifting that happens. This is particularly important in areas that see excessive rain or are prone to excessive weed growth. You don’t want to have a deck installed only for the foundation to be infiltrated by unwanted plants or the ground literally falling out from underneath you.
Step 3: Framing
A professional framing job is essential for your deck. If the basic structure is faulty, the deck can fail inspection, have shortened life span, or be outright dangerous. We recommend using our qualified professionals for your deck framing; their decades of experience and mastery of building codes and techniques will ensure that you get the safe, sturdy structure you deserve. If you are handling your project as a DIY, we recommend consulting with a knowledgable builder and following a drawing produced by a design professional. Failure to size lumber appropriately or to use the proscribed connections and fasteners can lead to huge problems down the road.
If you’ve hired someone, relax and enjoy watching the structure go up. The columns, joists, and posts that they erect will be the bones of your new deck, and you’ll be able to see the form of your new outdoor space taking shape.
Step 4: Decking
The basic element of your deck is now ready for installation- the decking. Whether you’ve chosen a hardwood, composite, or pressure-treated deck, our installation experts handle your deck with care.
A few common options are available for the installation of your decking. For hardwood and composite decking hidden fasteners are commonly used, including the Timbertech ConceaLoc system or the Camo system. This yields a truly flawless surface which is as pleasing to the eye as it is durable.
Another option you might consider is the use of a border or accent boards. We “picture frame” the decking area in a secondary color to add a pleasing design element. Patterns or differently oriented boards are another available option to give you deck a unique look.
Railings and Steps for Composite Decks
Railing and steps are the areas to get creative and build a comfortable environment. Materials for railings and steps vary greatly from just the composite materials for the walking surface of the desk. The colors and materials can be blended to really customize your deck to your liking. Speak with your deck builder about what options are available and how they might work together visually.
Contact Our Deck Installation Service
Building a composite deck is no small task and is definitely not a weekend DIY project. Instead, hire a professional. As your composite deck builder we will finish the job in a timely manner with a focus on craftsmanship and quality. In the end, you want your deck to look professionally finished, so hire a professional.
A deck installation service can save you many weekends, your yard, and a lot of frustration. Deck Builders Mass can help you build a composite deck that fits your needs and your yard. Complete Deck Builders’ Mass’ quote form for a free, no-obligation estimate, or call to get your project started!