Composite decking material is sort of like the cellphone: In the late 1980s and early ’90s, both mobile phones and composite decking made marketplace inroads. Early versions of cellphones didn’t have cameras, and texting involved a lot more button punching. Initial lines of composite decking didn’t offer many color options, could be slippery and often got hot in the sun.
Fortunately, the past two decades have seen transformational technological advances in both phones and decking. Phones gave us selfies and Reels. Composite decking is now available in many colors and is manufactured to be slip-resistant and cooler on bare feet. Let’s be thankful for progress with these five game-changing innovations in composite decking:
- Advanced heat dissipation. When composite decking first appeared in backyards across America in the late 1980s, some homeowners (and barefoot kids) noticed that on hot summer days the deck would get a little toasty. Materials have advanced in the years since: Especially with PVC decking, such as Fiberon’s Paramount Decking and Promenade Decking, heat dissipation technology is built in. It’s designed to be easier to walk on with bare feet, and it cools down more quickly.
- Secure traction, even when wet. Traction is a big consideration for homeowners, especially if their deck surrounds a pool, and PVC decking offers better traction than most composite and wood varieties. For example, Fiberon’s Paramount Decking provides noticeably better grip than older composite or wood varieties. To promote traction, new materials have deep embossing (a design element that mimics wood grain) and a specialty gripping finish. One of the best things about new decks, meanwhile: no splinters.
- More natural, wood-grain appearance. Fiberon Concordia Decking is available in eight colors and has elegant, distinctive grain patterns similar to wood. To create that wood-grain look and texture, Fiberon developed capped composite decking. The cap is bonded to the core of the decking material via a manufacturing process called co-extrusion. To make installation easier for contractors, Fiberon’s unique Concordia decking is one of the few manufactured lines that is reversible, meaning the boards are embossed with wood-grain texture on both sides. For installers, this means less waste and faster installation.
- Numerous color choices. The first iterations of composite decking were a little blah: flat gray slats, mostly. Now, homeowners can choose from among different types of grain patterns and dozens of nature-inspired colors to match any style. For example, Fiberon’s Warm Sienna has rich, varied brown tones that replicate the look of natural wood such as cedar. Fiberon’s Concordia Astir Collection includes Mountain Ash, Seaside Mist and Prairie Wheat. And there’s no need to paint or stain because it . . .
- . . . Resists fading and sun damage. One of composite decking’s biggest advantages over wood is less maintenance. An annual cleaning is typically all composite decking needs to keep looking good. Innovations in manufacturing and materials have made composite decking resistant to moisture, weathering and fading. Anti-fading technology has advanced so far, in fact, that Fiberon backs its Concordia Symmetry Collection, Concordia Horizon Collection, Promenade and Paramount residential decking lines with 50-year stain- and fade-resistance warranties.