It’s easy to assume that all synthetic decking is the same as composite decking, but they are two very different types of wood and require additional care and upkeep. The most significant difference between the two is the chemical makeup of the product. Read on to learn more.
The main ingredient in synthetic decking is manufactured plastic lumber specially treated with resins and UV stabilizers to resist weathering and remain durable. This synthetic material is stronger than real wood and requires almost no maintenance to keep its beauty and durability. There are a few differences between actual and synthetic decking, however. Although both are treated, real wood has been processed to make it smoother and less knotty, while synthetic decking is made in the same way but with resins and UV inhibitors. Since synthetic decking can’t handle as much moisture, it is recommended that it be left outdoors for the winter.
Another difference between synthetic decking and composite decking lies in the manufacturing process. Though both contain wood pulp or tree fibers as their main ingredients, synthetic decking is produced in a large factory where the wood fibers are extruded and woven together using a heat press. Using this high-speed production method, manufacturers can create a higher density of fiber and, therefore, more durable decking than could ever be possible with the traditional way. They also can produce various colors and patterns to go with any decking style.
Both synthetic decking and composite decking are available in a wide array of styles and colors. The hardest part of installing synthetic decking may be deciding which kind you want. The most common colors are white, black, brown, cherry red, walnut, birch, oak, bamboo, and teak, with more exotic choices such as blue, pink, green, and silver. Synthetic decking can be purchased ready-made or in customized lengths. Many composite decking manufacturers offer to create custom decks as well.
Composite decking is made from recycled plastics waste products, such as plastic bottles and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) cans. This decking is highly durable and attractive and comes in a variety of natural colors and textures. While several people have concerns about the effect plastic materials have on the environment, experts say that using recycled plastics in synthetic decking significantly reduces this worry. Another advantage of synthetic decking is its affordability. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average homeowner can install synthetic decking for less than it would cost to install a comparable wood deck. However, the installation of composite decking may be more expensive than that of other decking types because of all the special techniques and materials used.
One disadvantage of synthetic decking is that it can not be installed in areas where there is extreme weather damage. If your local area has seen significant rain or wind damage, you should check with your decking manufacturer to find out if you can have your deck replaced with an eco-friendly product. Many manufacturers of composite decking can help you meet regulations regarding stormwater runoff prevention. For example, if you live in a coastal area, your decking should feature an interlocking design to make it more water-resistant. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, your decking should be designed to withstand pressure from the hurricane’s strong winds. Manufacturers of composite decking are continually researching new ways to improve their products, so there will be plenty of improvements soon.
Synthetic decking also has many positive environmental benefits. It is more durable and requires less maintenance than wood, which is why it is the most popular type of decking in residential communities. It can also be easily cleaned, unlike wood, and most decking products have a limited lifetime warranty.
In addition to saving money and helping the environment, synthetic decking can also save you money in the long run. It is less likely to rot or warp, so it will last longer and retain its resale value. Synthetic decking can also be installed on any wood frame, so you won’t have to worry about changing your original wood. You can also find great deals on synthetic decking at any home improvement store or home improvement contractor.