What is the best Composite Decking?
After Learning all about the different types of composite decking boards you may now be considering what is the best composite decking for your project. Here at Ultra-Decking, we like to be open and honest regarding the type of composite decking best suited to your project and personal requirements.
When choosing composite decking boards there are many aspects of your project you need to consider. Such as budget, maintenance, quality, fade, slip resistance, the project installation area and its surroundings. To help you further and guide you in the right direction of which decking boards to consider when purchasing, we have detailed below what we believe are the best composite decking boards to use depending on your personal requirements.
The wood fibres, plastics and bonding agents are mixed and heated to be made into board length shapes. The boards are further pressed with a wood grain onto the surface and then cooled.
After the bonding and shaping process depending on the manufacturing quality required, each individual board is brushed, sanded and treated. The end result is the creation of a wood plastic composite decking board (WPC Decking) that looks and feels like authentic wood without the drawbacks of regular maintenance, warping, splinters or cracking
If budget and cost is your main focus and you’re in limbo between the cost of wood and composite wood, we would recommend the first-generation composite decking boards from our home choice range.
Our home choice range ensures you get all the benefits of composite decking with a similar upfront cost to wood. The new first-generation boards recently developed by Ultra Decking are the first of its kind and exclusive to Ultra Decking here in the UK. Many of our competitors are producing a like for like board, albeit with questionable quality at a considerably higher square meter price. Ultra-Decking’s home choice first-generation composite decking is being offered at an ultra-low cost without losing any of the same benefits, warranty and strength.
The home choice range has been designed and developed exclusively for UK residential customers with a square hollow core of 25mm depth with 5mm side wall structures to ensure strength and durability for any residential project. The warranty covers 10 years and will last beyond this time if installed correctly and regularly cleaned and maintained as recommended.
If little or no maintenance is your focus when purchasing your new composite decking, then our second generation capped or shielded co-extrusion composite decking is our recommendation.
The Ultra-Decking signature collection range offers ultra-low maintenance requiring a regular clean with a soft brush and warm soapy water once a year. A quick hose down two to three times a year to ensure it will look its best for 25 years and beyond.
The natural authentic wood surface texture and appearance comes with the latest shielded technology to not only provide ultra-low maintenance but to ensure its colour lasts for decades to come, the shielded surface texture also resists staining, mould and mildew with anti-scratch properties.
All composite decking if manufactured correctly with due diligence placed on quality control and the use of grade A recycled materials will provide the long-lasting quality you require offering up excellent value for money.
A good question to ask your installer or supplier is, where do the raw materials in the manufacturing process originate from, which country? It would be unprofessional of us to slander some competitors’ products, however, if the answer of the raw materials origination is from Europe or the USA and are grade A certified for quality, this makes all the difference with the structural strength and fade resistance during the decades of your composite decking’s lifespan.
Most suppliers and manufacturers should be able to produce copies of test reports and certification that grades the quality of the raw materials used in their manufacturing process.
A quick home-made test as advised on composite decking quality is to boil test in water for a minimum period of 12-24 hours. The boiling test will confirm the decking boards core strength. A substandard composite decking board during the boiling test should produce some cracks in its core, confirming the board’s structural strength will be compromised. It will also give you a good indication of the decking boards fade rate and how the board will look after the first 3 to 5 years of its life after initial installation.
Taking into consideration all the benefits of composite decking boards and the differences in quality, fade rate, strength and durability our overall recommend solution that ticks all the boxes would be our Signature collection of shielded second generation co-extrusion decking. As the author of this article, I purchased the Signature collection opting to spend the little extra money with the knowledge and peace of mind knowing that I have purchased a high-end quality composite decking solution that offers a long life span that provides a natural wood grain appearance without any of the regular cleaning or maintenance due to its shielded core. By opting to spend a little extra for a second-generation composite decking board you will not experience any of the colour fade, maintenance and strength issues associated with first-generation composite decking boards.
It is worth noting that shielded co-extrusion second-generation composite decking boards are the only types of composite decking boards that are sold in the USA. Our American cousins lead the market in terms of quality and durability. They are the most demanding consumers in the world and have completely rejected first-generation composite decking boards. Mainly due to the highlighted problems associated with first generation composite decking boards. They expect high value for their money with products that will stand up to the test of time.
If anti-slip is your key buying factor, we assume the deck will be close to a swimming pool or jacuzzi. The strength of the board and its water retention properties, or lack thereof should be the main consideration when choosing a composite decking board in a mostly wet area. Due to the strength required for the placement of a hot tub/jacuzzi on top of the deck, this will require a board with either a hollow circular or solid core. Ultra Deckings professional recommendation would be a circular hollow core due to its flexibility for thermal expansion and contraction but does not compromise on the decking boards strength.
Regarding anti-slip resistance, the recommendation would be for a first-generation composite decking board, such as Ultra Decking’s Premier collection. The Premier collections surface has benefited from a brushed treatment during its manufacturing process. This provides improved scratch and anti-slip resistant properties. Also due to the wood fibre surface, the Premier board will repel surface water and less likely to freeze during winter periods improving slip resistance. This, in our opinion, gives Ultra Decking’s Premier range the slight edge when considering anti-slip as a key purchasing decision.
If retaining the decking boards colour during its lifetime is a key consideration during your decision process when purchasing decking buying, then hands down the Ultra-Decking Signature collection range of shielded second generation wood plastic composite decking is our recommendation.
As a guide, first-generation composite decking does offer up fade resistance benefits, however as these decking boards don’t have a protective shield, they will go through a natural weathering process during the first 3 months of its life. In short, the colour will lighten slightly and then settle down over the deck’s life. Don’t panic on this, as by no means will these first-generation decking boards lose their colour, it’s as mentioned beforehand, it is a natural weathering process with and most customers not even noticing the colour difference at all. Indeed, some customers do prefer this natural process, as feedback suggests, that this natural weathering process on the colour of first-generation decking boards gives it a more natural appeal.
Second-generation shielded or capped co-extrusion composite decking boards do not go through this colour change retaining its colour for decades. As previously advised, this is mainly due to the shielded core which offers increased UV resistance to ensure the colour purchased retains and stays with the decking boards.
Surroundings & Project
If your decking project focus is the natural surroundings, e.g. climate, close to sea location, forest, jacuzzi, pools or water features you will need to truly focus on the pros and cons of all features of composite decking such as fade, maintenance and strength. If the decking project is going to be installed in high vegetation areas (trees, bushes and plants) these areas are a breeding ground for mould and mildew. The recommendation would be for a capped co-extrusion composite decking board. Ultra Deckings Signature collection is recommended. Mainly as leaves, dirt and pollen will fall onto the deck if not regularly removed and washed approximately 3-4 times a year for first-generation composite decking boards. First generation boards are known to suffer from mould spots, this is due to the surface texture which is made from wood fibres to provide a more authentic wood appearance, but offers up more regular maintenance when the deck is close to forest or farmland areas, therefore you will need to do slightly more work to keep your deck looking as good as new.
Second-generation capped composite decking benefits from a shielded core and resists mould and mildew, meaning a lot less maintenance. A quick hose down twice a year and once a year with hot soapy water and a soft brush is all this is required to keep your new composite deck looking good.
Your choice of composite decking is mainly down to personal requirements. If you have a low budget with low maintenance requirements a first-generation grooved deck like Ultra Decking’s home choice range, this will fit your needs. If its high-end quality and finish with everlasting beauty and appearance to match with little to no maintenance, then it’s the Signature collection from Ultra Decking that’s best suited to this type of project.