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Timber vs Composite Decking: Understanding the Differences

Biscayne - Trex Transcend® Lineage™ decking with Trex Signature Railing Glass

The decking market in the UK is experiencing a surge in interest, particularly with the advent of composite decking. While timber decking continues to hold a significant share of the market, the benefits of composite decks are capturing the attention of timber merchants, design magazines, and even radio presenters across the country. Here, we delve into the specifics to help you understand the fundamental differences between traditional timber and modern composite.

Materials Used in Decking

Timber Decking

Traditionally, timber decking comes in softwood and hardwood variants. Popular choices include Scandinavian Redwood, Spruce, and Larch—softwoods known for their robustness. These timbers are pressure-treated to withstand the elements and can be stained in a variety of colours to suit personal tastes.

Multi-level deck reclaims space on a sloping site with decking boards

Composite Decking

On the other hand, composite decking is crafted from a blend of recycled plastics and wood fibres, encased in a hard plastic shell. This innovative material is available in an array of colours, providing versatility for aesthetic preferences. Brands like Trex offer composite decking that not only looks stylish but is incredibly durable.Trex decking balcony

Durability and Performance of Composite Decking

Composite decking, such as Trex products, is designed for exceptional durability. These decks are specifically engineered to be fade, stain, scratch, and mold-resistant. Trex backs this quality with a robust limited warranty, which is supported directly by Trex Company LLC. Depending on the product line, the warranty terms vary:

  • Trex Signature and Transcend decking come with a 50-year limited warranty for residential use, reflecting their premium quality and long-term durability.
  • Trex Enhance decking offers a 25-year limited warranty for residential settings, ensuring reliable performance for a significant duration.
  • For commercial installations, all Trex decking products are covered by a 10-year limited warranty, accommodating the demands of commercial use.

These warranty periods underscore Trex’s commitment to providing high-quality, long-lasting products. Terms and conditions apply to these warranties, and full details are available in the Trex warranty document. For more specific information or to discuss your decking needs, please contact us directly.

Sustainability of Decking Materials

The appeal of composite decking extends to its sustainability. Trex, for example, utilises 1.5 billion recycled shopping bags annually in their manufacturing process, proudly noting that no trees have been felled for their decking in over 20 years. Conversely, the timber industry has long prioritised sustainable practices. Arbordeck ensures all timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests, with certifications to guarantee traceability and environmental responsibility.

Maintenance Requirements

Owning a timber deck often involves regular staining and cleaning to maintain its appearance and longevity. For enthusiasts, this maintenance is considered a worthwhile endeavour. However, composite offers a low-maintenance alternative, needing just occasional cleaning with a simple solution of soap and water. This makes composite decking an appealing option for those looking for minimal upkeep.

Installation, Cost, and Overall Quality

Installation of composite can be quicker due to innovative fitting systems that speed up the decking assembly. Although composite decking usually carries a higher upfront cost compared to timber, its long-term durability and low maintenance requirements can make it a cost-effective choice over time. While composite decking continues to make strides in mimicking the authentic appearance of wood, many still prefer the classic look and feel of genuine timber decking.

Whether you lean towards the timeless appeal of timber or the innovative features of composite, Arbordeck provides expert advice and high-quality options for both. If you have any questions about choosing the right material for your decking project, our team is here to help you make an informed decision.

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