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20th August 2020

When doing any sort of home improvement you’re faced with a myriad of choices, and it can be hard to
decide between features that are purely aesthetic and ones that are entirely functional (or better yet finding
ones that are a perfect balance of the two). As well as the many choices you have to make, planning out
features for your garden can be a time consuming experience.


One of our most popular design requests is for a decked area using composite decking - perfect for
families, people who like entertaining, and most importantly anyone who likes to spend as much time
enjoying their garden and as little time maintaining it as possible. We’re here to discuss 5 reasons why
composite decking is such a popular choice, why it would be a fantastic addition to any garden, and how
you should take care of it once it’s part of your lovely home.


First, what is composite decking?


Composite decking looks just like-real wood decking in many cases, but it’s made from a mix of different
materials. In most cases it’s 60% real wood fibres, 30% high quality plastics, and 10% bonding agents.
Learning that composite decking not only contains plastic, but also isn’t as pure as wood alone can put
some people off, but there are important reasons why this shouldn’t affect your choice.


We’re going to discuss 5 of the best reasons in detail below, but the key takeaway is that the combination
of those three ingredients makes composite decking stronger, more durable, and easier to maintain than
pure wood decking. Plus, the best manufacturers use 100% recycled plastics in their composite decking,
reducing waste and contributing to the environment in a positive way. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint,
while using a product that could be better for your garden overall.

So, let’s take a look at 5 reasons you should choose composite decking.

1. Composite decking is low-maintenance


This is always the first feature we focus on, because it can make such a huge difference to homeowners.
Having a low-maintenance garden can give you the gift of time, which is so important in the busy lives we
live. Your time is valuable to you and it’s important to us too, which is why we love a product that helps you
to have much more time relaxing in your garden, rather than cleaning and repairing it.


What makes composite decking low-maintenance? As we’ve mentioned, the unique composition of this
product makes it easier to maintain than 100% wood decking. To clarify, here are a few side-by-side
comparisons:

TIMBER DECKING

COMPOSITE DECKING

Wood needs painting or staining, and regular, sometimes yearly treatments to keep it looking fresh.

Composite decking comes in whichever colour and finish you choose, and doesn’t need any painting,
staining, or treating… at all.

Wood will degrade over time due to sun exposure (yes even in Britain), excessive moisture (that sounds
more like it), and general wear and tear. The lifespan of purely wooden decking is on average about 10
years, at which point the visual quality will degrade noticeably.

Composite decking usually comes with an
extensive warranty because it lasts 20+ years without deteriorating.

Wood can be susceptible to mould and mildew, meaning you have to figure out how to prevent and deal
with said mould and mildew to keep the decking safe.

Composite decking is not susceptible to mould or
mildew, and needs nothing more than a light clean every now and again.

Speaking of nature, wood can also be a breeding ground for creepy crawlies when it gets damp, or is left
untreated for too long, which can be a time-consuming pain to fix.

Composite decking does not entertain
insect lodgers, so this shouldn’t be something you have to worry about at all.

Hopefully that comparison wasn’t too long for you! But, if you thought reading a list of what kind of
treatments wood needs took too long, imagine having to do them?

2 . There are loads of different designs and finishes

Have you ever heard the phrase there’s nothing better than the real thing? You’ll be happy to know that it
doesn’t apply to decking! Many feel that they can only get the finish of wood by using the “real thing”, but
composite decking comes in a myriad of colours and finishes, many of which are indistinguishable from the
natural grain of real wood.
You could choose a finish that looks just like natural wood, or you could choose a block colour for a more
minimal aesthetic. Either way, you won’t be able to tell it’s not real wood unless you’re using a microscope.


3. Composite decking is more eco-friendly


As lovers of the natural world, we try to incorporate it into our garden designs as much as possible.
Unfortunately, many people hear the word “plastic” and instantly think that composite decking is an inferior
product, or something to be avoided. While plastic is a global issue, composite decking is not contributing
to the problem; instead it’s helping to solve it!
As we mentioned earlier, while the bulk of composite decking is made from real wood fibres, part of it is
made from recycled plastics. Rather than creating new materials that eventually become a scourge on the
environment, manufacturers remove plastics from the environment and use them to make the decking
stronger and weather resistant. All the while you can’t tell they’re in there!
Not only is the product itself more eco-friendly, but consider the fact that you won’t need to use paints,
varnishes, and other maintenance products over the years - composite decking will help you reduce your
carbon footprint for decades to come. Plus, the products we recommend use 95% sustainably sourced
materials, as opposed to pure wood decking which often sources hard and softwoods to the detriment of
their original environment.


4. Composites are safer, and easier to install


Now, if you’re hiring somebody to landscape your garden then you shouldn’t have to worry about which
method is more difficult to install (because that’s what you’re paying us for)! But the reason composites are
easier to install is because their “fixings” are very easy to use, and are invisible from the outside! Rather
than having ugly screws along your decking, you’ll have invisible fixtures that are made to allow for any
expansion or contraction in the changing weather temperatures.
This also means you won’t have any rogue or loose screws that could trip or hurt any family or visitors. And
unlike pure wood decking, which gets slippery when wet, composite decking is generally made to be non-
slip, so it’s far safer in our wet, quintessentially British weather.


5. Composite decking is much more cost-effective


Initially, yes – composite decking costs more than traditional wood to buy and install. But when you
consider the cost of maintaining natural wood over the years (every single year), the cost starts to even out
after just a few years. After around five years, you’ll start saving yourself money, and when you consider
you’d have to be considering replacements for real wood after 10-12 years, you’re “quids in”. Plus, you’ll
save your precious time, and who can put a price on that (we’re looking at you freelancers and self-
employed people).


One recommendation most composite decking companies will advise is that you hire a professional to fit
your decking, so your warranty stays intact and the product is fitted to a very high standard. It goes without
saying that we’re proud of the work we’ve done on composite decking in the past, but you don’t have to
take our word for it – head to this page (https://www.firstlightlandscaping.co.uk/portfolio) to see some of the
gardens we’ve done that utilise composite decking.


Do you need to do anything to composite decking once it’s installed?

Composite decking is definitely built to be anti-slip, and is resistant to any mould, damp, and insects, but
you’re still going to need to keep it clean from debris, as with any product in your garden. While you’re not
likely to slip on the decking itself, a few rogue wet leaves could send you flying. Ultimately though, while
they’re not completely invincible, composites need very little maintenance.


Simply clean it once in a while, and keep an eye out for any damage that may be done by falling objects or
accidents, and your composite decking will continue to look fresh for decades after you’ve installed it.
If you’d like any more information on any of the materials we use, and whether they’d be right for your
project – get in touch! Contact