how long does composite decking last

How Long Does Composite Decking Last?

As homeowners create personal paradises from their outdoor spaces, they consider which decking materials show the most durability. Composite decking has grown in popularity for its longevity and sustainability. So, how long does composite decking last?

As expert contractors who build composite decks in Fishers, IN, and the Greater Indianapolis area, we answer this and other questions in this post. Composite decking materials might offer the perfect option for your next home improvement project. Continue reading to learn why you should consider composite decking for your porch or patio. 

What Is Composite Decking?

Most composite material contains wood fibers encased in plastic. It has a history dating back to the 1980s; however, earlier formulations had an unappealing plastic appearance that often put some homeowners off.

Now, more recent formulations mimic authentic wooden deck boards more effectively, making them more attractive. Composite decking materials generally use both recycled wood and plastic. Therefore, they reduce wasted wood and prevent tree-cutting while lessening plastic pollution. 

composite decking

Composite Decking vs. Wood Decking

So, how does composite decking compare to wooden deck boards? You might lean toward wooden decking due to your familiarity with it. Lots of homeowners use wood to complete their outdoor living spaces.

However, composite decking material offers more than wooden boards, such as a longer lifespan.

Wooden decking usually lasts up to 20 years. They also require lots of extra care and maintenance to last the maximum amount of years. In addition, the wood remains exposed to harsh elements, including:

  • Temperature fluctuations, which cause the boards to expand, contract, and warp
  • Direct sunlight causing the boards to dry to the point of splintering
  • Rain, which soaks into the boards and encourages mold and algae

Each of these elements damages the exposed wooden boards. As a result, you could spend hundreds on treating, repainting, cleaning, and replacing the boards throughout your deck’s lifespan.

So, you’ll put more effort and money into a wooden deck with less return on your investment. Plus, wooden decks don’t typically come with warranties. As such, you have one less safety net after your deck installation.

But how does composite decking measure up to classic wooden decking? And how long does composite decking last? The long list of advantages will surprise you. 

Warranties

Most composite deck materials come with a 25-year warranty. Meanwhile, wooden decks last around 20 years with no warranty. So, you might enjoy a warranty that lasts longer than the average wooden deck.

The duration of each warranty depends on the quality of the materials you use. When you purchase a higher-quality material, you’ll enjoy a longer warranty. This means the manufacturer will handle any issues with the material itself per the warranty stipulations. 

Damage-Resistant

Composite decking boasts greater durability than wooden decking. Wooden decking warps and splinters, causing nails to come loose. As a result, you’ll have to paint and retreat the deck and replace boards to prolong its lifespan.

With composite decking, you choose a material that resists damage more easily. Its durability can outlast temperature fluctuations and exposure to sun and rain. Unlike wooden boards, it doesn’t readily absorb moisture since it doesn’t have a porous surface.

Therefore, it doesn’t endure the same drying and soaking process time and time again. This quality prevents mold or algae from growing in areas that don’t get sunlight. You also won’t have to worry about damage from termites or rodents. 

Sustainability

Composite decking consists of recycled wooden fibers encased in recycled plastic. So it uses materials that would otherwise go to waste. This quality, coupled with its durability, makes it an eco-friendly material.

Choosing composite decking means using fewer trees. It also means using old plastic as a resource for building materials. Thus, you help the environment and make your home a little greener, one board at a time. 

Versatility

You can use composite decking for various outdoor spaces. You already considered it for your deck, patio, and porch, but you can also use it to build:

  • Hot tub decks
  • Yard paths
  • Box gardens
  • Fencing
  • Small storage sheds
  • Tool shelving
  • Deck chairs
  • Benches

Additionally, you’ll reap the same durable benefits. If you want your exposed outdoor structures to last with minimal maintenance or future expenses, you want composite decking for every structure. 

Maintenance

You already know that wooden decking requires a plethora of regular maintenance tasks, such as:

  • Wood treatment
  • Repainting
  • Board replacement
  • Sealing
  • Pest defense 
  • Cleaning

The maintenance effort and product costs add up. But how do you maintain composite decking?

You only have to sweep debris off of the surface; you can also occasionally pressure wash it. These chores have no bearing on the material’s structural integrity. They only keep your deck looking nice for guests and foot traffic. 

Cost Effectiveness

The lower upfront cost of wooden decking boards might tempt you at first, but the overall cost of composite decking is significantly less.

Yes, it costs more upfront.

However, composite decking practically pays for itself in durability, low maintenance requirements, and longevity. You’ll use fewer resources to maintain it while enjoying a longer lifespan. 

Appearance

If you want a certain color or stain for wooden boards, you’ll have to hire a painter. Keeping this color requires regular repainting jobs. However, composite decking material comes in myriad colors and stains.

You probably won’t need a separate paint job with all the options available. Plus, composite materials more closely resemble wooden boards than when they arrived in the 80s.  

How Long Does Composite Decking Last?

Most warranties for composite decks last about 25 years. You immediately enjoy at least five years more than the average wooden deck. Composite decks typically outlast their warranties, providing at least 30 years or more of low-maintenance use. 

composite deck

Get Our Specialists to Build Your Dream Deck in Fishers, IN

So, how long does composite decking last? It lasts far longer than its wooden counterpart with significantly less effort from you. At Artisan Outdoor Craftsman, we recommend only the best available materials for our custom deck design and construction projects in Fishers, IN.

Ready to make your dream deck a reality? Call us for a free estimate at (317) 342-5955 today.