Buying composite decking
So you may have already arrived at the decision that composite decking is right for you. Perhaps you’ve weighed up the advantages of composite against those of timber and found that the low-maintenance modern alternative to wood is the way to go. But how do you know who to buy from? Given composite’s huge rise in popularity in recent years, the market is awash with a multitude of apparent composite firms offering a wide range of products – but it’s hugely important to do your research and choose a reputable brand from a reputable reseller or company. Unfortunately, the market is awash with pretenders, cheap imitations, scams and generally poor quality products so just because you’re offered ‘composite decking’ at what appears to be a price too good to be true, it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll get the bargain of the century. In fact, in most cases, it almost certainly will be too good to be true.
So ask yourself from the outset, can I be confident that the composite decking company is a respected firm selling branded products? At Composite Prime, we manufacture wood polymer composite products that importantly combine FSC® 100% certified hardwood timber with recycled plastic to offer composite decking products that have all the appealing benefits that recycled plastic has to offer but with the traditional feel of timber. Our products, including HD Deck Dual and HD Deck XS are stocked by trusted and respected retailers nationwide.
As mentioned, there’s a swathe of poor quality products in the composite market and many apparent composite suppliers will offer their own branded product – watch out for ‘own brand’ names that don’t immediately ring a bell and beware of new brands and products onto the market. If you’ve not heard of the brand of composite decking then we recommend digging a little deeper and searching out the company’s published technical specifications which should be standard practice for reputable firms. At Composite Prime, we offer all customers full downloadable technical specifications for all of our products, giving you peace of mind ahead of your purchase.
One of the key advantages of composite decking is its durability and longevity so when in the market for your product you should be confident that it’s guaranteed to look great in years to come – in fact, composite can last for over twenty years if maintained correctly. With that in mind, is the composite form offering a warranty? If not, walk away. At Composite Prime we offer a simple online form to register your decking or cladding warranty, making sure that you’re covered. That said, it’s always important to examine the details of the warranty – does the claims process require contact or approval from outside of the UK? Is it easy to claim? What does the warranty cover?
Another important factor to consider when shopping for your new composite decking is whether your intended manufacturer is a member of the Timber Trade Federation? The TTF is the UK’s biggest and most respected membership body for the timber supply chain. Its members – including Composite prime – account for around 80% of the £10 billion timber industry in the UK and that includes manufacturers and agents, as well as importers and merchants. Companies that are members of the TTF have to demonstrate their own supply chain, from the forest through to the product that you eventually lay on your new deck. Customers can be confident that when they see the TTF membership, that particular manufacturer has gone over and above with due diligence when ensuring a quality product for its customers.
The organisation – now the most respected in the world – was founded in 1993 after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit failed to reach an agreement on government intervention into tropical deforestation – much to the dismay of environmentalists. Instead, organisations within the sector came together to establish a system of improving logging practices and creating a way of certifying sustainable timber.
Instead of facing a backlash against bureaucracy, the timber industry embraced the council as it not only promised a better way of doing business but also helped to drive up prices for timber carrying the all-important FSC deal of approval. Environmental and social activists were clearly buoyed by the setting of standards.
Understandably, a factor that is becoming far more of a concern for consumers is ensuring that their composite decking is environmentally friendly and responsibly sourced. As well as the minimal maintenance, it’s one of the most common reasons why customers are moving away from traditional timber – which is not sustainable for decking projects – and towards composite. So when choosing the right composite for your project, ask yourself a couple of questions about the environmental impact of your purchase. Are the materials that the company are offering sustainably sourced? Is the decking FSC certified? Does it offer a long service life and warranty and could it be recycled again in the future? If everything is in order in this respect, then you can be confident that your purchase isn’t contributing to damaging the world’s forests and that the composite has been manufactured with timber from managed forests, meeting strict social and environmental standards.
Additionally, wood sourced from FSC certified forests is also a reusable resource and its recycling – once you’re ready to replace your composite decking – needs less energy in comparison to other materials such as aluminium or steel.
So the greatest piece of advice to customers in the market for composite decking is simply: be careful. Do your due diligence and ensure that the manufacturer of your materials is firstly a member of the FSC but is also offering a legitimate product, ideally with the customer reviews to back it up.