If you are looking at building a new deck, you will more than likely be considering different options for materials. Timber and composite are constantly compared with each other as people look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one. Timber is renowned for being more competitive in terms of price but notorious for its poor durability and longevity when compared with composite. A factor that will dictate what material you purchase will be the life expectancy of the material.

Timber decking life expectancy

The use of timber for construction purposes dates all the way back to 100 B.C. Timber was used for roof infrastructure by the ancient Romans and Egyptian civilizations, and timber cladding was also used a lot during the Anglo-Saxon period. Given that chemical treatment and tanalised timber were not available during this period, timber structures started to rot as quickly as 50 days after being built. This would cause a lot of timber structures to fail completely in less than three years. This was obviously a big problem as this meant buildings were constantly having to be rebuilt if the infrastructure was exposed to moisture and humid conditions.

In the modern day, timber that is used for decking boards is pressured and treated to be ready for use. Regular staining and sealing also drastically increase the longevity of the material, meaning consumers can enjoy extended use. Timber decking structures can last roughly 15 years as long as they are maintained and treated on an annual basis. 

Composite decking life expectancy

Composite decking boards have a longer life expectancy than timber decking boards due to their plastic composition. They are produced with 60% plastic, 30% timber and 10% bonding agents to bring it all together. The material’s plastic nature gives it a better level of durability against mother nature’s elements meaning rotting will not occur even when exposed to moisture. As long as the installation guidelines are followed, such as including a slight gradient on the decking running away from the property, there will not be a build of water on the decking.

When looking at the life expectancy of a composite decking board, you first need to look at what generation of composite decking you are purchasing. Depending on the decking supplier, first-generation decking boards have a warranty of 10-15 years, whereas second-generation decking boards have a warranty of 25-30 years. If maintained to a good standard, the products will last longer than their stated warranties.

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