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4 Misconceptions About Composite Products (That Need To Go Away)

Here at Composite Prime®, we live, breathe and eat composite products all day, every day. (To clarify, we don’t literally eat them. We prefer biscuits.) This means we’ve heard every false impression going about composite decking and other composite products. And since composite has been around for more than 50 years now, it’s time for these falsehoods to go away for good.

If you’ve heard cautionary tales about choosing composite for your garden or commercial project, then most likely it’s one of these top four culprits; we’re here to tell you nothing but the whole truth about composite. 

Composite decking looks plastic and tacky

Maybe the rumour here comes from the older composite decking products of yesterday or the lower-end composite products of today. Poorly manufactured composite decking can look tacky when the boards are identical or are unnaturally carved. Advances in technology mean that high-end composite products have subtle graining and nuanced whorls; details and colour variation that you would expect from natural timber. As a result, they can look almost indistinguishable from natural wood. With one exception: they stay that way! The appearance of timber can deteriorate very quickly when it’s exposed to the elements. 

If the question is, ‘Does Composite look like natural timber?’ then the answer is ‘Yes. And also no.’ Composite looks like composite – which gives the same effect as natural timber, enhanced by technology, and preserved for longevity.

Composite decking is crazy expensive

This depends on how you measure an expense. Yes, high-end composite products are luxury items. But, they are a long-term investment. Whilst there may be cheaper alternatives, the truth is it’s a matter of false economy. Timber is cheaper, but composite lasts longer. You can expect to replace your timber deck in about a decade, whereas composite decks can last for 30 years (and beyond) without splintering, warping, bowing, fading or cracking. Over time, with all things considered like factoring in maintenance costs, a composite deck is not more expensive than timber.

Composite decking gets too hot in the sun

This one is persistent. Maybe because there’s an element of truth. Some composite decks can get hot in the sun. But, so can timber decks, particularly dark-stained ones. And tarmac. And tiles. And certain pavers, or rubber flooring. Modern capped composite decking has a protective polymer coating that minimises the amount of heat your decking absorbs. Absorbing heat means absorbing light, and the darker a colour is the more light it absorbs. Lighter colours reflect light, so opting for lighter decking can also reduce the amount of light and heat it absorbs. So the truth is, that decking can get hot in the sun, but so can many garden items! If lots of direct sunlight is an issue you can opt for capped decking in lighter colours, and go for lighter colours in everything. If you’ve ever sat on a dark-coloured garden sofa cushion on a July afternoon, you’ll understand. Ouch.

The expansion and contraction of composite is a problem

Yep, composite materials expand and contract with heat fluctuations. But, this isn’t a problem. If it’s installed correctly, that is. Natural timber expands and contracts with heat even more than composite materials, and goes through further expansion when saturated with water due to its higher porosity. The only problem with composite materials expanding and contracting is if they are not installed with appropriate spacing. Spacing clips, rather than screws, are recommended to securely fix boards together as they provide expansion gaps. So, the truth is that improper installation is a problem, not the boards themselves.

If you’re still not convinced, then we urge you to see for yourself the truth about high-quality composite products. Order free samples of our products here.

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