The time has come. You’re ready to kit out your garden patio and you’re taking the leap towards composite decking. You may have heard lots of good things about traditional wooden decking and likewise, you may have heard about the huge benefits of composite decking. Which means you’re now probably wondering just exactly how composite decking is made. We’ll tell you.
More than wood
Obviously with wooden decking, you know what you’re going to get. It just depends on the type of wood you want, tailored to your size and specifications so you can install it. However, with the increasing rise in popularity of composite decking, what is it made of and why does it last so much longer compared to its wood counterpart?
Composite decking is actually made of wood and plastic, but these can be made up of many different materials, hence the name ‘composite’. For instance, the wood particles can be comprised of wood chips, wood fibre or even sawdust while the plastic parts can be recycled plastic materials. When looking for composite decking it’s important to look into what the composite parts are actually made of. The better, more durable the material, the longer the composite decking will last. At Dino Decking, our composite boards are made from 55% recycled wood, 40% recycled HDPE and 5% additives (such as colouring and bonding agents). This offers an environmental footprint smaller than traditional timber decking.
When composite decking is made, there are two main processes that can be used:
This is known as a ‘forming process’. The raw materials, all the wood and plastic components are mixed together. Included in this mix are certain colours to ensure the composite decking will end up with the desired colour. All the additives are non-corrosive and highly resistant to rot and decay, to make sure that the final composite decking product will be resistant as well, once it is laid down. The mixture is forced through a tooling shape and then re-melted and formed into the final shape, which will be the decking board. Usually afterwards, the boards are cooled using a water system and then cut accordingly to the lengths required.
This second technique takes the combined molten material and puts them on a wood grain mould. It is then compressed under extreme heat and pressure before being left to cool. This creates a physical bond and thus the shape of the deck.
Whichever method used, when the product has cooled to a certain point, it can be imprinted with a faux-wood finish. With the use of a big wheel that contains the pattern, it can be set up to repeat ingraining the pattern across the boards. This is how we, and many other manufacturers, design our composite decking to make it look as realistic to timber decking as possible.
There are two versions of composite decking to look out for – that’s capped and uncapped. The uncapped versions of composite decking, commonly found in earlier versions, would suffer from fading and staining. They also were more susceptible to mould and mildew. That’s why the capped version is now more prominent, as by ‘capping’ the composite decking on all four sides, it is more durable and of higher quality. Dino Decking sells both capped and uncapped decking.
These are the most popular methods used in the industry when it comes to manufacturing composite decking and are methods which we use here at Dino Decking. By doing so, we can keep up to industry standards. But with our use of additives within the mixture we go above and beyond to provide you with durable, long-lasting composite decking that looks good.