A deck is a perfect outdoor space for every your every mood – happiness, sadness, solemnness, and many more. Whether you want to celebrate various ceremonies with your family or find solitude every morning with a cup of coffee, the deck will always remain an ideal choice. If you desire to do so many activities in your outdoor space, then it’s clear that deck material should be the best one.
Composite decks are a great alternative to wood decks. Yes, that’s true, we aren’t talking in the air. It looks aesthetic, lifespan is long-lasting, and its maintenance is low. What else do you want for your outdoor space?
If your heart is melting (a little bit) for composite decks, then there are many other things that you need to know. Continue reading the blog to learn myths, facts, dos, and don’ts of composite decking before its installation.
Some of the myths of composite decks are…
Expensive: Composite decks are expensive – this is a story that has been coming from ages. With the introduction to new technology and various changes, the scenario is no more the same. The price of composite decks has significantly reduced.
Needs no maintenance: To be honest there are no decks built so far which need no maintenance. Minimal cleaning of dirt is always needed. Likewise, composite decks do require maintenance but very minimal than timber decks.
Hard to install: With advanced modifications to the hardware of composite decks, the installation process has become easier than before. It’s quicker to install than other decks because of its fastening system. It is that simple that even a non-technical person like you can do without any obstacles by following the manufacturer’s manual.
Will fade and scratch: The old composite decks’ colour used to get fade away and scratched. But, nowadays, the shell strength system prevents such things from occurring. Even many installers give you a warranty of 20-25 years to ensure the capacity to stand up to wear and tear.
There was a lot of miss information coming from here and there. Hopefully, after reading the common myths along with its facts, you must be feeling more confident for composite decks. If that is the case, then you need to know some of the unusual things about its installation process – the dos and don’ts. It will make your do-it-yourself (DIY) project smooth and successful.
Use the correct tools for installation:
Do you know how can any DIY project make an easy task difficult or difficult task easy? It’s simple by using the correct tools.
Composite boards consist of plastics, and therefore, it’s harder and denser than the regular timber. Hence, you will need a specific saw blade that is specially designed for cutting the composite materials. If you’ll use saw blades designed for timber, then it will slowly go unsharpened before the completion of your job. Therefore, we suggest you use the composite-cutting blade for cutting the deck boards.
Leave proper expansion gaps:
With the change in temperature, composite boards can expand and contract along the length of the board. For composite decks, you need to leave some gaps during installation. The fixing of composite boards is different from timber. They have a 10-15% moisture content during installation. Then they dry out and shrink, leading to opening up of gaps, cracking, and tearing.
A key to a successful installation of composite decks is proper gapping of the ends of the boards. Therefore, you should be aware of the temperature during which you are conducting the installation process. For instance, if you are installing composite decks on a hot day, then keep small gaps between the boards. Because when the temperature will drop, the gaps will open up.
Hence, to ensure your gaps aren’t too big or small, you need to understand how composite boards behave with the changing temperature.
Leave sufficient ground clearance:
Sufficient ground clearance ensures the proper flow of air underneath and around the deck boards. It also helps the boards to cool down during warmer days. If the deck doesn’t have proper ground clearance or boards are too close to each other, then it may lead to the integrity of its fixings. Therefore, certain manufacturers keep adequate ground clearance as a precondition to ensure warranty guidelines are adhered to.
Use the right fixings:
It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using specifically designed fixing systems. If it’s a top fixing system, then you need to pre-drill and counter-sink before fixing the screws. Since composite boards don’t consist of fibres like timber, you’ll fail to counter-sink your holes. And that means your deck boards can mushroom up over the screws and increase the possibility of splitting or cracking the board.
You should not…
Use a nail gun:
Composite boards need to be pre-drilled, as mentioned in the previous points. Hence, we do not recommend using a nail gun. They will reduce the likelihood of splitting and cracking. The natural expansion and contraction of composite boards can start to work nails free over time. To avoid such situations, use high-quality stainless steel or galvanised screws.
Cut boards at different times of the day:
Since composite boards expand and contract at different temperatures, we highly suggest cutting all the boards at the same time. If you cut boards on different days at a different temperature, then you may find them in separate lengths.
Build onto soil or grass:
Composite decks need a clear ground due to some reasons, as stated in the above points. Likewise, you should also avoid building directly onto soil or grass as it won’t create a stable structure to support the decking.
As you know, there is always a “give and take” relationship – you cannot expect to receive something if you don’t offer on your turn. But for composite decks, the case is slightly different. You can shower less love (maintenance), but in return, they will give you a lot of fun and will also save your time and money.
Additionally, the dos and don’ts mentioned above are a great start on the road of success for the installation of composite decks. Keep it in mind and get the best out of your decking for the generations to come.
Mike Morleye is a professional writer, He puts together his writing skills to share knowledge on diverse topics in a readable, understandable and appealing format. Follow him on Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Instagram