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Composite decks can last 25 years if well maintained. Most composite deck manufacturers offer warranties of 25 years or longer.
Composite decks are most susceptible to color fading, stains, mold and algae, which if severe, may cause homeowners to consider deck replacement sooner than 25 years.
"Does all composite decking material fade?"
Composite decks of the past tended to fade noticeably, sometimes just a few months after installation. However, substantial strides have been made in composite deck technology. Today, some manufacturers offer composite boards with an outer layer specifically designed to resist fading and mold. Also, many composite boards are now colored throughout, instead of just on the surface, so scratches won't show as much as in the past.
Fading also depends on exposure: the more a deck is exposed to sunlight the more likely it is to fade over time, even if only a small amount.
Also, color choice may matter, since some homeowners report that fading is less apparent in lighter-colored decks.
Finally, don't clean composite decks with harsh materials like bleach (which can fade the color), or with power washers set to high pressure (which can damage the surface of the deck and make it look washed out).
"Does composite decking get hotter than wood?"
In most cases, composite decking does get at least a little hotter than wood. Factors that affect composite decking temperatures include: color: darker boards hold more heat than lighter-colored boards, weight and thickness: heavier boards retain more heat than lighter boards, ventilation: distance of the deck from the ground, and whether the sides of the deck are open enough for air to flow through, exposure: decks exposed to full sunlight all day long get substantially hotter than decks that enjoy full or partial shade for some or all of the day, geographic location: the farther south you are, the stronger the sun and UV rays.
Some composite deck manufacturers now offer so-called "low temperature" decking options.
"What's the best way to refurbish or repair composite decking?"
Before repairing your composite deck, review any relevant information provided by the manufacturer. The best refurbishment and repair methods depend on the specific issue:
Stubborn dirt, mold, mildew, algae
Clean with warm soapy water. Use a brush if necessary, to remove debris.
Oil and grease stains
Clean with warm soapy water and a brush. The soap should contain a degreasing agent – any mild dishwashing soap will do. Some manufacturers recommend specific brands of deck cleaners for stubborn stains, so again, check with your manufacturer.
Other stubborn stains
Some composite deck companies recommend specific brands of deck cleaners for stubborn stains, so check with your manufacturer.
Dents and scratches
Very small dents or scratches may fade over time. If the dents or scratches are noticeable enough to require attention, repair them with a filler or deck repair kit from the manufacturer. Local DIY home stores also sell deck repair kits.
Deeper scratches or damage may require you to replace the plank.
Fading and weathering
Older composite decks are likely to need refurbishment at some point. Start by checking with the manufacturer, who is in the best position to advise on possible solutions for your particular deck.
You can also purchase composite deck restoration products at local DIY home stores. Many claim to fully restore older composite decks to their original appearance, but that may be a bit of an overpromise. Still, most composite deck restoration products do help improve a deck's appearance. If you go this route make sure to clean your deck thoroughly before refinishing, and carefully follow all instructions.
If one or more deck boards are suffering from significant damage, you may need to replace the boards. Of course, replacement of some boards is an easier call when only minimal fading has occurred, and the same product/color is still available from the manufacturer. If enough damage has occurred on various boards, it may be time to replace the entire deck.
If you need help with deck refurbishment or repair, contact one of our local professionals today!
"Who installs composite decks?"
Composite deck installation can be installed by a variety of different contractor types: Deck builders – specialize mainly in deck building; Residential builder/contractors with deck installation expertise – typically install decks, fences, stairs and landings, sheds, tree houses, and other outdoor structures; Residential general contractors – experienced in many different kinds of residential construction projects from large to small; Manufacturer-recommended pros – who know the installation requirements specific to your chosen manufacturer's brand; and, Local handyman services – with deck-building expertise.
Before you hire, be sure you understand your installer's experience with composite decks, and ideally, with your preferred brand of composite decking.
If you are ready to get going, use the form on this page to contact local pros for more information.