Composite decking is popular because it is sturdy and requires very little maintenance. However, that doesn't mean it's not prone to problems. If you are considering installing composite decking, you need to know how to prevent a few common problems that homeowners have experienced with this type of decking material. That way, you can enjoy your deck and get the most out of your investment. Here are 5 common problems, tips on how to prevent them, and things you can do in case they happen.
Problem—Composite decking stains easily from grease. The material absorbs the grease residue, which makes it difficult to remove. It's even more challenging to remove it after it sets in or bakes in from the sun.
Prevention—Prevent grease stains by using a non-rubber mat under your grill. Be sure to get one large enough to cover the area where you stand and prepare food, just in case you accidentally drop a hamburger patty. You don't want to use a rubber mat because it can trap moisture underneath, which can damage the decking.
Solution—It may be possible to remove grease stains, but you'll need to use a product that is specifically formulated for the job. If the grease stains are stubborn or you want an alternative solution, paint the decking with one that is designed for composite decking.
Problem—As durable as composite decking is, it can get scratched under extreme circumstances, such as if you drag heavy furniture with abrasive legs across your deck.
Prevention—Apply felt to the bottom of each leg to prevent them from scratching the surface. If that's not possible, be sure to lift furniture up instead of dragging or pushing it.
Solution—If you find scratches, you can purchase a composite deck repair kit and simply follow the instructions. You can purchase the kit at a home improvement store or through a composite decking supply company.
Problem—Cracks can form on the edges of each board of composite decking if they are under excessive strain. This can happen when the boards are installed too closely together, which prevents the boards from expanding due to heat.
Prevention—Make sure to install the composite decking boards with enough space in between them to allow for the material to expand and contract. The manufacturer's directions will tell you how wide the gaps should be for your particular decking.
Solution—If superficial cracks form, you can remove the damaged boards and flip them over. Of course, the opposite side may also be damaged. If so, replace the damaged boards with new ones.
Hot to the touch
Problem—Composite decking can get too hot for sensitive skin and feet to touch, especially when the sun is harsh. You may not be able to walk across the decking with bare feet on sunny days.
Prevention—If you prefer walking barefoot, place area rugs and/or carpeted runners on the deck. As stated above, don't use anything that has a rubber backing.
Solution—Choose a light color for your composite decking. Lighter colors don't get as hot as darker colors in direct sunlight.
Problem—Composite decking is water resistant; however, this means that water may get trapped underneath the boards. This can lead to water damage and wood rot in the wood posts and joists underneath the decking.
Prevention—Install flashing membrane in between the wood and the decking. This product is easy to apply because it, basically, is a double-sided tape and comes in widths appropriate for joists of decks.
Solution—If the wood posts and joists underneath your deck rot from water and moisture they will need to be replaced so the deck can be structurally sound.