If you're thinking about something new for your garden, decking can really transform an outdoor space. Or perhaps you need to replace old decking and fencing with new? Whatever the reason, make sure you’re choosing the best option for your needs (and your pocket), which means asking questions.
Which got me thinking about my own customers. Over summer, I’ve spoken to more and more, and I’ve noticed some questions come up again and again when it comes to considering composite decking, fencing and balustrades. These are the top 3:
1. Is composite really low maintenance?
The short answer is yes. Once installed, the job’s done. No sealing or painting, no annual sanding or painting either. Generally speaking, the only maintenance you’ll need is a sweep or scrub now and then to remove any debris (this also reduces the risk of anything rotting and potentially causing a mark – so the more often you do it, the less likely you’ll have an issue).
If you want to, you can give your decking or fencing a power wash a couple of times a year, with a recommended composite decking cleaning solution. Just remember to make sure the nozzle isn’t too near your surface and first test a small area.
So, while you can’t say it’s ‘no maintenance’, composite is certainly very low maintenance compared to the work involved in keeping a pure timber board deck protected, painted and looking good every year.
2. How long does composite last?
Durability is a big advantage of composite: it lasts a long time, up to 20 years or more. It wears significantly better than traditional materials like timber – there’s no warping, splitting, rotting or woodworm you need to worry about. As I mentioned before, regularly brushing off or removing debris will reduce the number of times you might need a heavier clean.
Something to note though, composite colour may initially fade a small amount in the first 2-3 months of installation (10-15%), due to natural weathering. After this, the colour pigments stabilise and are actually more fade-resistant than real wood.
3. Is composite slippery?
No, not really. But it depends on the texture of your deck. Most composite decks have special
textures, designed to make them slip-resistant when wet. Real wood decks, on the other hand, lack this feature. So they can get quite slippery especially if mould develops.
Composite also absorbs significantly less water than traditional timber, which limits slippery fungi and mould growth. So on the whole, a textured composite board can give you a safe and secure platform to walk on.
Those are the most common questions my customers ask, but as well as practical stuff like this, I’m noticing more people are asking about the environmental side of composite and if it makes a ‘greener’ choice for gardens? I’ll save that one for my next blog!