Responsible and savvy homeowners are doing their research when it comes to composite decking problems and drawbacks. Composite decking reviews all over the internet show that there is a clear distinction between composite decking and other hardwood decking materials.
Although composite decking materials are heavily marketed and popular due its low cost, the fact of the matter is that composite decking cannot compare to hardwoods like ipe . But, what about the long term costs? To put it simply, those that say that composite wood is a viable and more eco-friendly alternative wood are not seeing the bigger picture.
Composite wood is detrimental to the environment due to the ingredients used to create it. In addition, the cost to constantly maintain, repair, and in many instances replace a composite deck means that your return on investment is actually worse than if you went ahead and installed an ipe deck instead.
When you do research on composite decking reviews, you are certain to find the following complaints:
- Absorbs water like a sponge
- Composite materials are made of oil-based products like polyethylene
- Susceptible to mold, mildew, and fungi
- Photodegradation – composite decks degrade due to UV exposure
- The more plastic used in the composite decking, the more likely it is to warp
- The less plastic used in the composite decking, the faster it rots
- Termites and other insects feast on composite deck materials
- Due to substandard construction process, planks and sometimes the whole deck needs to be replaced
- Many lawsuits have been filed because of injuries
- Use of resin may lead to the release of formaldehyde in the finished product
While it would be nice to say to your neighbors that you saved money with your brand new composite deck. I highly doubt you would be gloating if, after a couple of years your deck looked like the picture above.
In fact, I’d bet that you’d even stop inviting the neighbors over at all because you’d be worried about what people would think. Or worse, that someone would get injured on your property. The savings are short term, yet long regretted. When it comes to composite decking, the saying is definitely true, “You get what you pay for.”
Check out this video below which shows just some of the problems associated with various composite decking materials:
Update: Composite decking has changed a lot over the years, and manufacturers are constantly improving the product. Many of the problems that plagued synthetic decking in the past have been solved. But not all companies and products are equal; always do your research, and only buy composite decking from reputable brands!