In recent years, composite deck boards have gained popularity due to their ruggedness, low maintenance, and longevity. With its many benefits, composite decking allows people to enjoy the outdoors more comfortably. However, like any other building material, composite decking has its own set of problems.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the problems that can be encountered when using composite decking. At the same time, we will look at how these problems can be solved. By recognizing and proactively addressing these issues, you can ensure that your composite decking remains beautiful and long-lasting in your outdoor space.
Table of Contents
Common Composite Decking Problems and Solutions
1. Discoloration and Fading
The surface of some composite decking will fade over time. This problem is exacerbated in areas with strong sunlight exposure, resulting in a deteriorated appearance of the decking.
Choose high-quality composite decking boards that contain UV inhibitors or protective coatings. in areas with high levels of sunlight, consider choosing lighter-colored composite deck boards because they fade less than darker colors and also do not absorb as much heat.
Although composite decking materials are fairly durable, scratches and abrasions can occur when sharp objects slide by, especially in high-traffic areas or when moving furniture.
To avoid scratches on the decking surface, use furniture pads or coasters under heavy objects. Avoid dragging on the deck surface when moving furniture or other items.
If scratches occur, simply sand the damaged area to blend in with the surrounding surface. To minimize further damage, always follow the manufacturer’s repair and maintenance requirements.
3. Mold and Mildew Growth
Composite decking materials have excellent water and mold resistance. However, mold and mildew can be found on decking surfaces, especially in areas of high humidity.
Composite decking does not suffer from moisture, mold, and rot like wood decking. If it has mold growing on its surface, then it could be caused by organic debris that has accumulated on the surface of the deck.
Therefore, regular cleaning of the deck surface to remove organic matter that can harbor mold is a must. Use a broom to thoroughly sweep leaves and food debris from the top of the composite decking.
Then use a soft brush and mild soapy water to clean off any remaining traces. To avoid moisture buildup, make sure there is proper air circulation around the deck.
Spills, grease, and other contaminants can leave unsightly marks on the surface of composite decking.
Clean up spills in a timely manner and scrub with soapy water to avoid staining the decking surface. For stubborn stains, use a specialized composite decking cleaner. It is important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools as they can damage the decking surface.
5. Absorb Heat
In sunny places with strong sunlight, composite decking boards absorb the heat from the sun. This makes it impossible for people to walk on the deck surface.
In sunny areas, choose light-colored composite decking boards, which absorb less heat than darker colors. In high-traffic areas, consider using outdoor carpeting or mats to avoid direct exposure to the hot deck surface.
6. Expansion and Contraction
Composite decking boards, like all materials, expand and contract with temperature changes, which can lead to bending or warping.
Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and allow composite decking boards to sit for one week prior to installation. This will allow the composite decking to acclimatize to the local temperature and humidity and avoid large changes after installation.
When installing composite decking, make sure there is adequate spacing between decks. Use recommended fasteners for normal expansion and contraction.
7. Structural Stability
In some cases, composite decking may face sagging or structural problems, especially if proper repair or construction of the substructure is required.
Ensure that composite decking has a strong and well-supported underframe. Use pressure-treated lumber or composite joists that are properly secured to support posts.
Regularly inspect the decking for signs of sagging or structural problems and take remedial action as soon as possible.
8. Bending and Warping
Over time, composite decking boards may bend and warp, especially where there are large temperature changes or inadequate substructure support. Warping and buckling can result in an uneven and unsightly deck surface, jeopardizing the use and appearance of the deck.
To avoid buckling and warping, proper installation methods are critical. Install the subframe at the proper joist spacing according to the installation instructions provided by the composite decking manufacturer. Then anchor the decking boards securely to the support posts.
Given the expansion and contraction of composite decking boards, it is recommended that you use the fasteners recommended by the composite decking manufacturer. Regularly inspect the decking for symptoms of warping and correct any problems as soon as possible. If warping occurs, consult a professional to determine the best repair or replacement option.
9. Slippery When Wet
When wet, composite decking surfaces can become slippery just like any other outdoor decking material. Slippery deck surfaces can pose a safety hazard, especially in areas with frequent rain or high humidity.
If you live in a coastal area or an area with a lot of rain. To prevent your outdoor deck from becoming slippery when wet, choose composite decking with a non-slip woodgrain or grooved surface. woodgrain and grooved surfaces increase friction and prevent the deck surface from becoming slippery when wet.
If you already have composite decking installed, to improve the grip of the deck surface, consider using a non-slip deck coating or adding non-slip strips. Clean your deck regularly to remove algae and mold that can cause the deck surface to become slippery.
10. Environmental Concerns
Although composite decking is made from recyclable materials. However, the composite decking material will not naturally degrade after use.
Look for composite decking brands that emphasize sustainability. Some composite decking manufacturers recycle expired composite decking materials.
11. Regular Cleaning
Neglecting regular cleaning of composite decking can also create problems such as stains, mold, and mildew on the deck surface.
Maintain the nice appearance of composite decking by regular cleaning. Regularly sweep away trash and dirt, and use mild soapy water to rinse the decking surface.
For a more thorough cleaning, use composite decking cleaner and a soft brush. Pressure washers should be avoided as they may damage the decking surface.
While composite decking is stronger and more durable than wood decking. However, it is also important to understand and deal with the problems that may arise with it. Avoiding and dealing with possible problems with composite decking in a timely manner is beneficial in keeping it looking great.
Choosing high-quality composite decking materials, using proper installation procedures, and cleaning the deck frequently will make it beautiful, functional, and durable for many years.