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If you’re considering installing new decking boards, you’re probably weighing up your choice of what materials to use. Timber and composite are often pitted against each other as people weigh the pros and cons of each.

Timber is known for being more budget-friendly but has a reputation for lacking durability and longevity compared to composite. One crucial factor in deciding which material to go for is its life expectancy.

 

Timber decking life expectancy

When considering timber which has been used in construction since ancient times, both the Romans and Egyptians utilised timber for roof infrastructure and was prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon period. However, without chemical treatment, timber structures back then would start to rot within months of construction leading to complete failure within two to three years. This posed a significant issue, requiring constant rebuilding when exposed to moisture and humidity.

In the modern era, timber used for decking boards undergoes pressure and chemical treatment, making it ready for use. Regular staining and sealing significantly increase the material’s service life. With proper maintenance and treatment, softwood timber decking structures can last for up to 15 years and beyond.

Composite decking life expectancy

Shifting the focus to composite decking boards that boast a longer life expectancy than timber boards, thanks to modern manufacturing techniques. With the use of recycled plastics and reclaimed wood fibres during the production of composite cladding enhances the material’s strength and durability against the elements, preventing rot even when exposed to moisture.

By carefully following the manufacturer’s installation guidelines, such as incorporating a slight gradient away from fixed structures such as walls or fencing, ensures water doesn’t accumulate on the decking to prevent the building of moisture.

Conclusion

When considering the life expectancy of composite decking, it’s essential to look at the generation of decking you’re purchasing. First-generation decking boards typically come with a warranty of 10-15 years, while second-generation boards boast warranties of 25-30 years. With proper care and maintenance, composite decking can surpass their stated warranties in terms of expected lifespan.

 

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