On Decking - Part 2

The Composite Debunk - From - Part 2

Myth: Composite Decks are Maintenance Free

Composite decking manufacturers stopped claiming “Maintenance Free” when describing their products due to court settlements early on. Currently they refer to their decking as “Low Maintenance”.

They will tell you that their products will require cleaning a couple of times a year to make it look good again. 

The cleaners leave the decking looking powdery. They are acidic and chemically strip the finish and kill the mold for a time. Green clients should be aware that to “maintain” these products it involves splashing chemicals around your yard. A good stiff brush is required to physically scrub the decking, so it isn’t like mopping a floor in your house. 


Myth: Composite is Better than Wood for Decks

If it is better than wood—why are they trying to emulate the look of wood. The new products are quite convincing. Big hunks of plastic with wood grain and variable coloring to emulate the look of wood. Sure, it will likely fade, but when it is installed it looks just like wood.


Only wood is wood. Ipe or Mahogany will likely have a durability of 40 years if oiled yearly. A wood deck can be refinished every few years to look like new again.


Refinishing a composite deck is now possible, but with varying results—Normally if it gets too tough looking you replace the decking. 5 years from now, your composite deck will look like a 5 year old composite deck—with scratches and stains. When you attempt to change a board or two–it is more than likely that the new boards will be an entirely different color than the faded boards you have presently.


scratches on composite decking stain on composite decking stains on composite decking click to enlarge


Myth: Composite Decking Lasts Forever

When buried in a landfill—composite decking may very well last forever. They say a plastic shopping bag will last 1000 years underground, it is a safe bet that composite boards will also do just as well when buried. Long after you have tired of your stylish composite deck, it won’t be recycled; it will go to the landfill with plastic patio chairs and the rest of the non-recyclables. This deck was photographed by Glenn Stewart a home inspector in California. . 


We don’t know what brand of composite the photo below is. These are photos that no Composite Company wants you to see. 


 old composite decking  Composite Decking Failures