Composite decking Melbourne has been gaining popularity and is now the preferred material for homeowners. Combining timber fibers with recycled plastics (or UPVC) creates a perfect combination of rigidity and durability, as well as a surface that is easy to maintain. But how much does composite decking cost? This page will cover everything you need to know regarding composite decking. We’ll also explain why composite wood decking is better than solid timber and the cost of composite decking.
What is composite decking?
Composite decking is a popular alternative to solid wood and replicates the look and feel of real woods. It is smoother than solid wood decking and requires less maintenance. Composite decking is usually made from recycled plastic and timber pulp. Composite decking is made from wood pulp, which is used for the core. Recycled plastics are used outside. Capped composite decking is an extra layer added to the boards during manufacture, making them more stain and fade-resistant. Composite decking that is not capped tends to be more affordable.
Composite decking vs. timber decking
Composite decking is more expensive than natural timber, so why would you want to install it? Here are some of the major advantages that composite decking offers over using solid timber for the deck.
- Low maintenance: Timber decks require regular sanding and repainting, while composite decking requires only occasional pressure cleaning.
- Composite decking looks great! It won’t fade nearly as fast as timber decking.
- Durability: Composite decks can be made from plastic or pulped wood, but are not as strong as hardwoods such as Ironbark and Tallow-wood.
- Composite decks are resistant to mold, stain, and scratch: Although they can stain and scratch, composite decks are extremely resistant due to the factory manufacturing process.
- Composite decks are water- and fireproof: They can be used near gardens or pools. You can also find fireproof composite decking boards that can be used in areas prone to bushfires.
- Made from recycled materials: Composite decking is made with recycled materials
There are downsides to composite decking. Composite decking can stain from fatty materials due to their inherent nature. Composite decks can be hotter than natural timber underfoot.
What kinds of composite decking are available?
Future-Wood and Trex are some of the most popular brands for composite decking. Each company offers a different range of products with a 10–25-year warranty. Not all decking materials are suitable for every home. However, a decking specialist can give you personalized advice. These are the main differences among composite decking products.
- Capping: Composite decking with a cap is a layer that’s added to the manufacturing process. This makes the boards more durable and stain-resistant, but also more costly.
- Fastening: Composite boards are as easy to drill and screw as timber boards. However, more expensive boards often come with hidden fasteners.
- Finish: Composite decking with a higher price tag will have more complex grain and color patterns. This will match the appearance of real timber more closely.
- Scalloping: Composite decking can have a scalloped or unfinished base, which can lower the cost but also decrease its durability.
- Waterproofing/Fireproofing: Fully waterproof and fireproof composite decking can be more expensive than basic products, depending on the brand.
How much does composite decking cost?
Prices for composite decking vary from $100 to $350+ per square foot, depending on which brand (in Australian dollars). Many factors can impact the cost of your decking project. These are:
- Materials: Although composite wood decking is more expensive than hardwood timber, this trend is slowly changing. The more expensive brands will offer a wider range of colors and finer details that resemble timber grain. Hidden fasteners, which provide a seamless appearance to your deck’s surface, will cost you more. You can use the area you have in mind to determine the cost of your project. The average composite decking contractor will give you a complete price for the project, as well as a breakdown of all costs.
- Permits or permissions: Permits required in your area will be charged to your local council.
- Design: An accredited professional must approve the design of your deck, particularly if it is a substantial structure. This is necessary to ensure long-term safety and structural integrity. The guidelines that govern the construction of decks include minimum construction standards. These guidelines will ensure that your deck complies with local laws. These details can be taken care of by any licensed or accredited decking contractor.
Is composite wood decking durable?
Composite decking can be considered eco-friendly and sustainable due to its almost exclusive use of recycled materials. However, it is still up for debate whether composite decking can be more sustainable than timber decking. Also, sustainably harvested timber, especially fast-growing timbers such as Blackbutt, is a sustainable resource and helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Recycled composite wood decking does not require any new raw materials and is, therefore, more sustainable.
Decking safety and regulations
Qualified trades are required to complete projects exceeding a certain amount in many states and territories. They are qualified and trained to help make your decking project happen. If your local regulations prohibit you from building a DIY deck, it is illegal. To build your deck, you might need to get council approval. It depends on where you live, the size of your deck, and whether it is raised. Handrail regulations vary depending on the deck’s height. There are specific rules for decking construction in bushfire and cyclone zones, depending on where you live. Before you start your decking project, it is a good idea to do all of this. If you have any questions, speak to your local councilor or deck builder.