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January 16, 2014

How to Compare Composite Decking?


1.Review appearance options. Some composite decking materials look very similar to wood, and have an authentic-looking grain pattern or finish. Others are easily identified as composite materials, and have a more plastic-like appearance. Order samples from different manufacturers and examine them outside in the sunlight to get a true idea of their finish and appearance.

2.Compare finish options. Composite decking may be factory- or field-finished. If you choose a factory finish, find a manufacturer that offers a color you like. If you choose to finish the product yourself, determine whether you will use paint or stain, then find a product designed for use with this type of finish.

3.Check the installation requirements for each product. Composite decking generally has a shorter span than wood, though the exact length can vary between products. This means that one product may be able to extend 8 feet without intermediate supports, while others may only extend 6 feet without additional supports. Choose a material that will work with your existing supports, or plan to build new supports to accommodate a shorter span. Some manufacturers also recommend that pressure-treated lumber be used to support composite decks, which can greatly increase total construction costs. Keep this in mind when comparing different materials.

4.Evaluate different fastening systems. Some composite products are fastened using mechanical fasteners like screws, while others are clipped on using specialty installation systems. If you plan to install the deck yourself, choose a system that you are comfortable with. If you’d prefer not to have visible fasteners, look for a system with hidden clips that won’t affect your deck’s appearance.

5.Look beyond the deck itself. If you plan to have rails, steps, posts or other special features, choose a brand that offers a wide product range. Some manufacturers only offer deck boards, and may not supply these extra features. Keep your total building plan in mind when choosing composite decking materials.

6.Consider quality. The biggest sign of wear on a composite deck is visible wood fibers. If you can see wood chips or fibers on the material before it is installed, your deck is likely to show wear fairly quickly. Look for a product with a protective plastic coating, which keeps wood fibers concealed and protected from moisture for a longer period.

7.Check the warranty for each product. Protechwood is among the most popular brands of composite decking in China, and offers a 25-year residential warranty on materials and finish. According to the company’s website, the Company offers a limited lifetime warranty for its decking materials, though some restrictions may apply. Compare warranty durations and check to see what’s covered before choosing your product.

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