WHAT IS COMPOSITE DECKING?
Composite decking is an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance alternative to traditional wood decking, and it’s an excellent option for Colorado homeowners who want to build a new deck or upgrade their old one.
Popularized in the 1990s, composite decking combines plastic and wood fibers into tough, scratch-resistant planks. From spring hailstorms to winter snowmakers, a composite deck is designed to withstand anything Colorado can throw at it — and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, an afternoon barbecue, or an evening dinner with friends.
If you’re thinking about transforming your home with a beautiful new deck but you’re on the fence about which material to use, the composite decking experts at Krueger Brothers Construction are here to help. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about composite decking: the cost, the pros and cons, the best brands, and plenty more.
Let’s get started.
TYPES OF COMPOSITE DECKING
Composite decking comes in all shapes and sizes! Whether you build your own composite deck or hire a professional team to do it for you, you’ll have to make a few choices about the style of your deck boards. Depending on the scope of your project, you might use the same boards from start to finish, or you could combine different styles for a personalized look and feel.
Here are the main decisions you’ll run into:
SOLID, SCALLOPED, OR HOLLOW
As you can imagine, solid deck boards are heavier, stronger, and longer lasting than other types of boards. On the flip side, they’re prone to warping in extreme weather and harder to install — so it’s crucial that you’re teaming up with experienced deck installers. Solid boards are often used to make permanent floors, pathways, or swimming pool decks.
Scalloped deck boards — so named because of the grooves in their undersides — are slightly lighter than solid deck boards and a good deal less expensive. Though they’re just as strong as solid boards, you’ll have to do a bit of extra work to cover up the edges of your deck once it’s built. If you love the modern aesthetic of composite decking but need some breathing room in your budget, scalloped boards are a cost-efficient way to get the job done.
Like scalloped boards, hollow deck boards have gaps running down the middle, so they weigh and cost less than solid boards. Though they aren’t as impact-resistant as solid boards, hollow decking is a great option for homeowners who want a low-cost board that’s usable on both sides.
UNCAPPED OR CAPPED
For most homeowners, the next decision will be an easier one. Here’s why: Though uncapped decking is still offered by a few leading brands, capped decking is stronger, more durable, and less likely to lose its color
Capped decking is encased by a layer of synthetic material, shielding it from rot, mold, and damaging weather. As icing on the cake, capped decking is also available in a wider variety of styles, colors, and textures.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours — but our professional recommendation is to choose capped composite decking. That way, your dream deck won’t just look good when it’s built; it’ll be just as impressive years down the road.
GROOVED OR SQUARE EDGES
We’ll keep this one simple. Deck boards with grooved edges can be installed with hidden fasteners, so you don’t have to worry about unsightly screw heads on the surface of your deck. However, grooved boards tend to be more expensive than boards with square edges.
If you don’t mind seeing screw heads on your deck (or if you believe a deck isn’t a real deck without a hefty helping of screws), square edges are the way to go. You’ll enjoy an authentic, rugged deck while saving a bit of cash on your home improvement project.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN COMPARING DECKING MATERIALS
It’s not easy to pick the right materials for your new deck, especially when there are enough options to make a homeowner’s head spin! For example, how do you choose between composite decking boards and pressure-treated wood? Cedar vs. redwood? PVC decking vs. aluminum?
We can’t tell you exactly which material is right for your decking project, but we can give you some useful tools to make an informed decision. When you’re making your choice, keep these categories in mind.
First things first: What’s your decking budget? If you’re looking to save money on your project, pressure-treated wood is a fantastic option. For homeowners with a sky-high budget, aluminum boards are the last word in luxurious decking.
Composite decking prices strike a nice balance between the two. Composite boards are sturdy and stylish, with a price tag that won’t break the bank.
What good is a gorgeous deck if it falls apart after a few years? Though it depends on the type of wood, most traditional wood decks last for 10 to 20 years. Pressure-treated wood might start to deteriorate after just 10 years, but stronger woods (for example, cedar and redwood) can last for two decades or more.
Composite decking takes durability to the next level. Many composite decks last between 25 and 50 years — and high-end capped polymer decks can stay in great shape for generations!
For many homeowners, maintenance can make or break the decision of which material to use.
If you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, wood decks require sanding, staining, and sealing every few years. Composite decking, on the other hand, rarely requires maintenance. Better still is aluminum decking, which staves off UV rays, insects, mold, and extreme weather.
No doubt, you’ll want a deck that you’re proud to show off to your friends, family, and neighbors. Check out these descriptions to ensure that you pick the right style:
Traditional wood has a warm, natural feel. From western softwoods like cedar or redwood to exotic hardwoods like Philippine mahogany, you’re sure to find the right look for your personality, home design, and budget.
Composite decking is the most versatile material for your deck. Though it’s a modern invention, the experts at Trex, TimberTech, and other leading composite brands have figured out how to make composite decking look just like natural wood grain, so you can opt for an old- or new-school style that will complement your home.
Plastic decking is extremely safe and requires next to no upkeep, but it doesn’t always look, sound, or feel like real wood. Unless safety is your highest priority, we’d go for a more robust material.
Aluminum decking isn’t the most popular option, but it’s excellent for folks who want their home to give off a contemporary vibe. If you want a material that’s on the cutting edge (with a sweet, silver sheen!), think about using aluminum for your decking project.
If you’re unsure about which material will look the best with your home, our team at Krueger Brothers is happy to help. We build custom decking projects that are seamlessly integrated with their surroundings, and we’d love to give you our expert opinion.
A final factor to consider when choosing a material is its environmental impact. Because they’re recyclable, wooden planks are generally considered to be a win for the environment — but the supply of certain woods is limited and transportation requires lots of fossil fuels!
As the years have passed, composite deck boards have evolved into an increasingly sustainable option. For example, Trex boards use 95% recycled materials, and Fortress Infinity boards utilize a unique blend of bamboo and recycled plastics, resulting in an eco-friendly and toxin-free board.
PROS AND CONS OF COMPOSITE DECKING
Finally, it’s time to tackle the million-dollar question: Is composite decking worth it?
For our money, we think the answer is a resounding “yes” — but we’ll break down the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself.
Better durability: Because of their tough core and protective cap, many composite decks last 25 years or more.
Less upkeep: With composite decking, you don’t have to worry about painting, sanding, staining, or sealing. Just pick a few sunny days each year to clean and sweep the boards, and your deck will look as good as new.
Resists damage from water, insects, and harmful UV rays: As a Colorado Springs company through and through, we know that Colorado’s storms are the real deal. Thankfully, composite decking fends off damage from water and insects. Plus, it’s designed to deflect harsh UV light — perfect for a place that gets 300 days of sun each year!
Barefoot-friendly: The wood fibers that comprise composite deck boards are encased in plastic, so you can kick back and relax with your shoes off while your kids play in the backyard.
Customization options: Composite decking comes in a wide array of colors, shapes, and textures. Whether you’re tucked between the Colorado pines in a log cabin or living in a ranch house on the eastern plains, you’ll have no problem finding a style that suits your home.
Increased home value: Sure, a custom deck project will cause your home value to leap right away. But it’s also a long-term investment in your home: one you can enjoy for generations.
Higher price: It’s not as expensive as aluminum, but composite decking does lose ground to traditional wood in the realm of price. If you’re hoping to construct a custom deck without putting a big dent in your savings account, other materials might be cheaper.
Less natural: Some homeowners love the tried-and-true nature of wooden boards. As the look, feel, and sound of composites have continued to improve, though, many Colorado homeowners are switching to composite materials.
Risk of scratches: Though it’s remarkably tough, composite decking isn’t completely impervious to dents, scrapes, and scratches — so be careful when you’re shifting outdoor furniture!
COMPOSITE DECKING VS. WOOD DECKING
BEST COMPOSITE DECKING BRANDS
TimberTech is the gold standard for durability. Their boards can withstand hail, rain, sleet, and a healthy dose of Colorado sunshine.
As the only TimberTech Platinum Certified installer in Colorado Springs, Krueger Brothers Construction is equipped to do an outstanding job on your deck. We endorse TimberTech materials for composite decks because they:
Are 30 degrees cooler than competing composite products.
Offer 40% more traction than competing composite products.
Are made with up to 80% recycled material.
Founded in the mid-90s, Trex was early to the composite decking game, and they’re still a top choice for many homeowners in Colorado. Their boards consist of 95% recycled materials, including reclaimed wood fiber, sawdust, and various types of recycled plastic. In other words, they’re a rugged option and a triumph for the environment.
Fiberon boards are renowned for their customizability. From deep umber to light grey, Fiberon’s eco-friendly boards come in a variety of colors, so you can personalize your deck with an elegant natural tone.
Bolstered by a bamboo-plastic cap, Fortress Infinity boards are environmentally friendly, high-performing, and delightfully lightweight.
PLANNING YOUR COMPOSITE DECK
No matter what brand you go with, building a composite deck is a serious undertaking. To guarantee that the finished product is everything you dreamed it would be, follow these steps from the experts at Krueger Brothers.
Make a budget. While $7,000 might get you an enjoyable yet modest deck, a full-scale wraparound project could set you back $30,000 or more.
Choose a location. Krueger Brothers installs decks of every type: wraparound, multi-tier, attached, detached, and rooftop. If you want to soak up the sun, a rooftop deck could be your best bet — but most homeowners opt for a classic attached deck.
Decide on a size. An attached deck is the perfect size for a set of outdoor furniture and a grill, but a wraparound deck will give you ample access to natural light and an unbeatable view of Colorado’s breathtaking scenery.
Pick a color. Whether it’s a bold white or a subtle brown, be sure to integrate your deck’s color with your home and your surroundings.
Consider hiring a general contractor. General contractors like Krueger Brothers have experience in every facet of deck building: choosing and transporting materials, planning, designing, installing, and double-checking for quality. If you want a world-class custom decking project, a contractor may be the best route to take.
Use money-saving tips:
Take advantage of special offers. Deck building is seasonal. If you’re willing to build a deck in late fall or early winter, you could save several thousand dollars on materials.
Buy in bulk. As a rule of thumb, companies offer discounts on large orders. If you’re buying hundreds of screws or fasteners, keep an eye out for bulk discounts.
Strike a deal with your contractor. Most general contractors have special offers! For example, when you hire Krueger Brothers, we’ll work with you to find the right price for your budget.
BUILDING YOUR COMPOSITE DECK
PREPARING TO BUILD
Comply with building regulations. In most Colorado counties, you’ll need a permit to build a composite deck (unless it’s a small, freestanding deck that’s shorter than 30 inches). If it’s connected to water, electricity, or gas, additional permits might be required — so be sure to check local laws before you build.
Avoid underground utilities. Colorado homeowners can confirm the location of utility lines using this website or by calling 811.
Gather your materials. Based on the dimensions of your deck, calculate the number of boards, screws, fasteners, and other building materials you might need. And don’t forget your tools! A standard set of deck-building tools will include a circular saw, hand saw, miter saw, hammer, electric drill, level, shovel, hammer, tape measure, and trowel.
INSTALLING THE DECK
Prepare the footings. After spacing and digging the footing holes (making sure they’re at least six inches below your city’s frost depth), pour concrete into a cardboard tube to ensure that each footing is cylindrical.
Attach the ledger board and install deck posts. The ledger board connects your deck to your home, so it’s crucial to the structural integrity of your deck. It also acts as a guide when you drop your deck posts into the concrete footings.
Reinforce the deck with a center beam and joists. As the name suggests, the center beam runs down the middle of your deck, providing support for the joists. Joists run perpendicular to your deck boards, adding strength to the deck as a whole.
Install the composite decking, fascia boards, and end caps. Depending on the type of decking you’re using, you’ll likely have to slide your deck boards onto the foundation and screw them into place. To protect the edges of your composite deck, you should add caps to any exposed portions of the boards.
We won’t get into the nitty-gritty details, but no deck is complete without a suite of awesome features. Some of our favorites include railings, a privacy fence, lighting accessories, and a deck kitchen. Of course, when it comes to deck features, the possibilities are nearly endless.
At Krueger Brothers, we live by a motto: You dream it, we build it. Our professional deck designers will walk you through every step, helping you to land on the right array of features.
Double-check the deck’s structural integrity. Before you finish the job, conduct a thorough visual inspection of your deck, looking for signs of wear, decay, or faulty installation. Nothing ruins a spectacular composite deck like a structural issue in its first year!
Add a splash of personality. From charcoal grills to electric heat lamps, personalizing your deck is the final step before you can showcase it to your friends.
MAINTAINING YOUR COMPOSITE DECK
Once you’ve wrapped up your composite decking project, we’re sure that you’ll be looking for ways to protect your investment. After all, you wouldn’t drive a brand-new Ford F-150 without getting the oil changed and tires rotated from time to time, right?
With that in mind, we’ve compiled five ways to keep your composite deck in tip-top shape, even in Colorado’s relentless climate.
Sweep regularly. We recommend sweeping once a month or more — especially if pine needles, pine cones, or leaves are drifting onto your deck each day!
Clear out the gaps between the boards. Debris that’s trapped between deck boards can speed up the formation of rot and decay. Remove the detritus with a broom or blast it with a garden hose to keep the deck clean.
Remove salt and dirt. Some homeowners in Colorado use rock salt to melt ice and snow. While that’s a great way to stay ahead of the state’s blizzards, be sure to shovel or sweep that salt away after the storm.
Clean up food stains — ASAP! Greasy foods are notorious for causing stains to composite decking.
Protect your deck from water leaks. Thankfully, composite decking is water-resistant. Still, you shouldn’t let excess water spill onto your deck. Don’t let your gutters leak onto your deck, and try to keep sprinkler systems from reaching the boards.
IS COMPOSITE DECKING FOR YOU?
Though the best decking material for you will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and personal preferences, we think composite decking is worthy of serious consideration.
Because of Colorado’s harsh and diverse weather patterns, we recommend composite products over traditional wood (which falls apart quicker than composite) and aluminum (which costs significantly more than composite). Plus, composite brands offer a huge selection of hues and finishes, so picking the right one for your home will be a breeze.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re looking for an ultra-durable, stylish, and low-maintenance decking option, composite decking is the way to go.
BUILD YOUR DREAM COMPOSITE DECK
Krueger Brothers Construction specializes in composite deck building. From the first planks to the finishing touches, you can expect unwavering care and precision from our experienced team.
If you’re ready to turn your vision for outdoor living into a reality, get in touch with us today.
Plan your dream deck with one of our expert designers
Get a quick, competitive quote
Expect efficient and respectful deck installation
Receive real-time progress updates through our digital portal
Enjoy better outdoor living, backed by our two-year workmanship warranty
Last Modified on 30 November 2022