For more than 10 years, M.E. Contracting has provided the residents of Toronto with high-end landscaping, deck design, and construction services. Over that time, deck preferences have changed almost as frequently as the springtime weather. Fortunately, our team of highly qualified professionals takes pride in staying up to date with the latest trends in deck design and decking materials. This guarantees the success of every Toronto decking project completed by M.E. Contracting.
That said, when looking to ensure the success of your next decking project, the first thing you need to consider, in accordance with our experts, is the type of decking material that will be used. Considering that, the durability and functionality of the deck you create will be greatly influenced by the decking material you choose. That said, we understand that choosing the right product for your project can often be difficult with the variety of decking materials that are currently available on the market
With that in mind, customers looking for alternatives to conventional wood decks continue to favor composite decking materials. Composite decking materials offer an unmatched combination of durability and beauty, with high performance and low maintenance compared to of traditional wood. To that end, one of the best home improvements Toronto homeowners can make is adding a composite deck to their property.
To learn more about why so many customers favor composite decking materials, M.E. Contracting has put together this thorough “Guide to Composite Decking for Toronto Homeowners.” By the time you finish reading this guide, you will know everything there is to know about composite decking. Specifically, you will learn what composite decking is, the different types of decking available, and the benefits. For more information, please read on.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Composite Decking?
- The 3 Best Composite Decking Brands to Consider
- The Different Color & Shape Options of Composite Decking
- The Life Expectancy of Composite Decking Materials
What Is Composite Decking?
Composite decking, technically known as “composite wood decking”, is a man-made alternative to traditional lumber, composed of a precise blend of plastic polymers and recycled wood fibers. It’s also crucial to note that composite decking comes in two basic varieties: uncapped and capped. Uncapped composite decking frequently has a more organic appearance but can be more susceptible to mold and mildew growth, necessitating more frequent cleaning. Meanwhile, capped composite decking is produced with a hard cap stock shell and provides enhanced resistance and durability.
What’s more, composite decking is simple to install and cuts and handles like wood. Every manufacturer of composite decking offers a selection of hues, tones, and patterns in varying widths and lengths. When building a new deck or replacing an old one, composite decking uses different construction methods than standard wood decking since the composite boards are attached to a sub-structure made of pressure-treated lumber. Composite decking is slick to the touch, comfortable for bare feet, and offers superior traction for homeowners.
Composite Decking Composition
In gaining a greater understanding of what composite decking is, it’s important to note its composition. That said, composite decking consists of natural and synthetic materials, with most boards including a mixture of virgin or recycled plastic and chemical additives. That said, the major components of composite decking are either wood flour, which is created from recycled post-industrial materials, or polyethylene, polypropylene, crushed minerals, or PVC. These materials are then used to create planks that can be assembled together to form a sturdy deck with a smooth, consistent finish. Perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying a nice relaxing evening outdoors.
The Key Benefits of Composite Decking
Gone are the days of constructing decks exclusively out of wood. Over the years, composite decks have become incredibly popular, ranking as one of the best decking materials among Toronto homeowners. Unlike other more conventional decking materials, composite decking doesn’t require nearly as much maintenance. In fact, composite decking is resistant to moisture, which results in shriveling or expansion in timber materials, because the material is not actually composed of wood.
Having said that, while wood is undoubtedly a staple and has its own merits, it is difficult to compete with the numerous advantages of composite decking, which include:
- Stain, scratch, slip, and weather resistance
- Superior durability (free from rotting, splintering, cracking, warping, or insect damage)
- Ultra-low maintenance (easy to install and clean)
- Environmentally Friendliness
- Enhanced sustainability
- Strong warranties
- Budget friendliness
- Aesthetically appealing
- A vast assortment of colors & styles
Having said that, when it comes to building a strong, durable deck, composite decking is well worth your while. It is also the most economical choice among decking materials because you won’t have to worry about the price of repairs or upkeep. Not to mention, it is designed to accommodate the furniture and equipment you might want to put on it, and it will last you and your family for years to come without a scratch, no matter how big or tiny the deck is. To that end, based on what we’ve discussed, constructing a composite deck on your property is easily one of the best home improvements a Toronto homeowner can undertake.
The 3 Best Composite Decking Brands to Consider
Next up, this guide will go on to discuss the various types of composite decking materials that are available for you to purchase. This will ensure that you have all the information you need to choose the right decking material for your next project. So-called composite decking is available in a number of different forms, including solid PVC boards, solid composites made entirely of recycled plastic, and products that combine plastic and real wood or bamboo fibers. To that end, below, we have included the 3 most popular brands of composite lumber for decks and other outdoor construction projects as used by M.E. Contracting. Please read on to learn more.
1.Trex Decking Materials:
Trex is one of the largest manufacturers of outdoor composite materials and lumber, with some of the lowest prices. What’s more, Trex Composite Decking is made from a combination of reclaimed plastic and wood materials and can be manufactured into solid planks or tongue-and-groove planks. They offer a broad selection of composite decking materials, available in three different thickness ranges, and can accommodate special decking elements. Depending on your preferences, the cost of materials and installation is typically between $15-35 per square foot.
That said, Trex decking is designed to withstand the test of time and the elements just as well as ordinary wood. Although, as a testament to the quality of its products, Trex decking offers a 25-year limited warranty in addition to a 25-year home fade and stain warranty. It’s important to note that the majority of products can be cleaned with soap and water, a composite deck cleaner, or soft pressure washing. On a Trex deck, never use acetone or any other solvent cleaning agent since the chemicals could harm the composite.
2.TimberTech (AZEK) Decking Materials:
TimberTech deck boards are resistant to stains, scratches, cracks, mold, and mildew and have a remarkable resemblance to real wood. What’s more, TimberTech (AZEK) decking offers a wide selection of more than 40 colors and textures across their various product lines and is available in narrow, standard, and wide board widths. Their capped polymer deck boards are composed entirely of plastic polymers. Meanwhile, their capped composite boards are constructed from a combination of wood fibers and plastic polymers (a mix of organic and synthetic substances). Other product lines include TimberTech Pro, which has a 30-year warranty, and TimberTech Edge, which has a 25-year warranty.
That said, among all the producers of composite decking, TimberTech (AZEK) products are arguably the best (and most expensive). The average cost of their decking products ranges anywhere from $20 to $40 per square foot for parts and labor. That is roughly 20% to 40% higher than Trex’s decking. However, the company does offer a 50-year fade and stain warranty on all of its capped polymer boards. Moreover, for cleaning purposes, manufacturers advise using their exclusive deck cleaner to clean their goods, claiming you should not use other composite deck cleaners for cleaning their polymer boards.
3. Fiberon Decking Materials:
Fiberon offers decking products with a wood composite core and a solid PVC “Permatech” exterior shell, which makes them fade and stain-resistant. All Fiberon boards are made of a mix of 50% recycled plastic and 50% sawdust from either discarded wood or other sources and are constructed by compression molding with a surface cap applied to three or four sides. What’s more, Fiberon has several product lines that are available in 21 different hues. The company produces boards in four main color categories: gray, golden brown, traditional brown, and reddish brown.
Furthermore, all Fiberon products carry with it a 25-year limited warranty. Meanwhile, their top-of-the-line falls under a 50-year warranty. The cost of parts and labor can range from $15 to $22 per square foot. Additionally, when it comes to cleaning your Fiberon decking products, manufacturers and contractors alike recommend cleaning your Fiberon deck at least twice a year. Use a non-metal scrub brush and soap and water or a light home solution for general cleaning. Pressure cleaning under 2,500 psi is not advised by Fiberon.
The Different Color & Shape Options of Composite Decking
Colors and shapes for composite decking have advanced significantly over the years. Manufacturers of decking now offer a wide choice of colors and textures to cater to consumers’ preferences and stay current with design trends. However, for homeowners looking for the ideal tone and texture for their deck, this variety of options might be perplexing.
Currently, there are more than 50 different composite decking options available to you, all of which come in a range of widths, lengths, colors, tones, and patterns. That said, settling on the right color or style is really a matter of personal preference. Thus, consider the colors and styles you are drawn to naturally when choosing a color and style for your composite deck to assist you in making the process easier. After that, you can slowly whittle down your color selection by assessing how well they go with the hues of the outside, trim, and surroundings of your property.
Having said that, most retailers offer composite decking in one of three main color families. However, what distinguishes each of these three color groups for composite decking are their tonal differences. These color groups are as follows:
- Gray: ranges from light gray to deep charcoal
- Brown: ranges in temperature from the darkest tans to the lightest browns
- Red: ranges from flaming warmer tones or colder undertones
Along with the many varieties, composites also come in a variety of shapes, each with a particular function or advantage. There are three different shapes: solid, which resembles a plank of wood; slotted, which has a groove cut out of either side for attachment; and ridged, which only lets you utilize one side of the board for stairs and finishing.
NOTE: It makes sense to consider your surroundings and how the sun will affect the location where you’re creating your deck before deciding on gray decking with a gently weathered driftwood effect or a rich, warm brown.
The Life Expectancy of Composite Decking Materials
When choosing to construct your deck out of composite decking materials, it’s important to consider the life expectancy of the product. Homeowners shouldn’t have to worry about repairs or maintenance on their newly constructed deck after only a couple years of consistent use. Having said that, composite decking can endure for between 25 and 30 years with little maintenance.
However, it’s important to note that the geographic location and weather patterns can play a role in the overall life expectancy of your deck. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that outside of the given lifespan of your deck, you take into consideration whether or not the composite decking materials you use are backed by a product warranty. For instance, some manufacturers, like Trex, back their products with a 25-year limited warranty because they are so sure about their materials’ lasting 25 or longer. This will protect you from any and all unexpected damage, which might impact the life expectancy of your deck.
Composite Decking Maintenance Requirements
Generally, composite decking materials are known for their low maintenance requirements. This is often due to its composition, which on average makes it more resistant to cracks, splintering, expansion, rot, or mildew growth. What’s more, a composite deck never needs sanding, staining, or sealing to maintain its durability and appearance. To that end, Toronto homeowners who are considering building their decks out of composite decking materials are only required to clean their decks at least twice a year.
Is Composite Decking a Good Investment?
The last important factor we wish to cover in this thorough “Composite Decking Guide for Toronto Homeowners” is determining if composite decking is a good investment. That said, with the many benefits, vast color and shape options, increased life expectancy, and minimal maintenance requirements, composite decking is by far the superior choice of decking material for Toronto homeowners. With this in mind, at the most basic level, determining whether composite decking is worth it for you is a matter of defining what your priorities are. You may choose the ideal decking material for you after determining what matters to you most.
Although wood decking is popular among homeowners because it is well-known, easily accessible, and reasonably priced, composites, on the other hand, imitate the rich, organic beauty of wood without the headaches of maintaining a wood deck, thanks to advancements in manufacturing. To that end, one of the best home improvements Toronto homeowners can make is adding a composite deck to their property. Looking for a composite deck builder to help build your deck? Please don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts here at M.E. Contracting today.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this concluding section of our “Composite Decking Guide for Toronto Homeowners,” we aim to answer any and all frequently asked questions pertaining to composite decking. After all, our goal is to ensure that you have all the information you need to make a more informed decision when choosing the right decking material for your next decking project. Please read on to learn more.
The design of their sides is the primary distinction between grooved and ungrooved composite decking. A solid board lacks a groove, but a grooved board has a notch or channel down the edges. Although it does alter how you install the decking, this does not significantly modify how your deck looks overall.
When it comes to determining whether or not you can paint or stain composite decking boards, the answer is both yes and no. This is provided that composite decking wasn’t designed for the purpose of being stained or painted. They were made with a top color that would last as long as the material itself. However, you can still paint it, so long as you understand a few factors.First off, you cannot use a traditional stain on composite decking boards. It will not stick to the plastic or resin components of the board. Therefore, you must ensure that the primer and paint you use are both acrylic-based. Since composite doesn’t have a natural wood grain to come through, the fact that it will be a solid hue shouldn’t be as significant. Having said that, it’s important to note that if you do decide to paint your composite deck, you should be prepared to paint it again within a few years, as the paint won’t last as long as the original surface of the material.
It is well known that composite decking contracts and expands along its length, not its width (or a very small amount throughout the width). Carpenters with experience will be aware that this is the polar opposite of what real wood does. Wood can grow between 6 and 8 percent across its width but only 2% along its length.
The simple answer to this question is no. Even with water on the surface, composite decks are not slick. The issue arises, though, when your composite decking picks up water and ice at the same time. Ice, and the removal of it, can harm your patio in addition to causing accidents.
Although early composite decks were renowned for getting extremely hot, new composite decking materials are significantly more heat resistant. Modern composite deck boards of the highest caliber do not heat up faster than conventional hardwood deck boards. In addition, composite deck boards will stay cooler in direct sunlight, the lighter the color you choose.Having said that, composite decking boards that are dense and dark can get very hot in the sun. The heat from the plastic can cause you to sizzle like the meat on your grill if you’re sitting in a deck chair on top of it all. To that end, you may want to consider getting composite samples in various colors and placing them outside on the location of your deck. If your composite boards are hot enough to cook an egg, think about using a lighter color or a different composite material.
When it comes to properly cleaning your composite deck, there are a few different approaches you can take. A yard hose and a soapy mop are effective. Alternatively, you can also use a power washer with low pressure. When using a power washer to remove any pollen, dirt, or other organic debris, spray some soap on your deck, then use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub each deck board. Utilizing a fan tip, spray or rinse each individual deck board up to 8 inches (203 mm) away from the decking surface. THOROUGHLY RINSE.
Yes, you can sand down your composite deck. However, while you can sand down composite decking materials it is not recommended by manufacturers. As sanding will alter the surface’s look and void any warranty that you might have from the manufacturer, for any problems brought on as a result of sanding down your deck.
The quick answer is that yes, you can use salt to melt any ice that accumulates on your composite decking. You can sprinkle salt on the surface of your composite decking to hasten the melting of the ice.
The majority of North American building standards require that span charts be developed to take into consideration a 40-pound live deck load and a 10-pound dead load. This indicates that the entire structure can hold a load of people, or “things,” on top of your deck that weighs at least 40 pounds per square foot. Just keep in mind that a normal deck is made to hold 40 pounds per square foot, and that its design carries a body-weight stress throughout the span of 12 to 16 inches.
If a heat-resistant barrier is used between the fireplace or barbeque and the deck to minimize potential structural and aesthetic damage, which may be brought on by the high-heat environment, fireplaces, both gas and wood-burning, or barbeques can be used safely on wood or composite decks.
Composite wood can be cut with almost any power saw blade that is suggested for timber. Some blades, however, work better when cutting composite wood. Before choosing the blade for your project, you should be aware of which blades are better for different cutting tasks because having the appropriate equipment for the job is crucial. That said, contractors and retailers recommend cutting your composite decking boards with a circular saw and a 40-tooth alternate top bevel finish blade for the best results.
In short, you most certainly can install composite decking overtop of an existing wood deck. In fact, instead of installing a brand-new frame, you can save time and money by laying composite deck planks over the existing wooden ones. However, whether or not you should is a whole other question on its own.
You should consider the quality of the current wood deck before starting any rebuilding work. What age is it? Is it not too old? Or has it already begun to degrade and need to be replaced? These are really important questions to address because when you start adding new materials on top of already-existing decking, the latter may have a negative effect on the former. When it comes to wooden decking, the new composite boards on top will last less time if the older, rotting boards are present. Although composite deck planks have excellent rot resistance, the nearby structure will inevitably suffer.
As we stated earlier in our thorough “Composite Decking Guide for Toronto Homeowners,” you can install a composite deck yourself. Although installing composite decking is manageable, installing modern composites and PVC can be heavier than pressure-treated pine and may require assistance when muscling 12- or 16-foot lengths. To that end, you may wish to seek assistance from a licensed professional if you don’t have the tools or knowledge required to build a composite deck on your own.
Contact M.E. Contracting to know more about Landscaping Design & Construction Ideas @(416) 238-6700