All you need to know about installing composite decking, including costs of installation, materials, labour and time frames.
Composite decking (aka Wood-Plastic decking) is a recent material which offers the beauty of modern decking but without the typical work and maintenance required. Composite decking is a man-made material that has the natural look of hardwood and has become the fastest growing decking material in the UK. Composite decking is usually made from a recycled plastic and wood, which in practice comes from discarded plastics which have been recycled and wood chippings/sawdust, so this is much less harmful to the environment than other types of decking. But the main reason people buy composite decking is for the convenience, this material needs virtually zero maintenance as there is no need to sand or treat the surface regularly. Plus, the composite boards don't fade in the sun and really only need a wipe down with soapy water once every year.
The majority of retailers are so confident in the quality of composite decking that they offer a guarantee of quality for 10 years or more. Because of the plastic component, composite decking is highly resistant to rot and damp, plus is also incredibly strong so won't warp, twist or splinter. Composite decking is also highly resistant to UV rays so won't fade in the sun, but unfortunately all of this does come at a cost. Composite decking board for board is more expensive than wooden decking and it can't be sanded-down or stained a different colour if you decide you fancy a change! Some may also argue that composite decking doesn't have the same traditional feel of a timber structure, there is some truth to this, but on the whole, it does a pretty good job and you would need to have a serious good look to tell the difference.
Installation of composite decking generally costs the same as traditional wooden decking. However different composite manufacturers have different fitting guidelines, so the instructions need to be carefully followed to avoid problems using the included fasteners and parts for your chosen boards. Composite decking is not a strong or as stable as wood decking and it is vital that you leave the correct spacing between boards to compensate for this additional movement. You also need to leave a specific gap between the decking boards and any abutting wall to allow for expansion during hot weather. Failure to leave sufficient expansion gaps will lead to warping and buckling of decking boards in hot weather.
Because of the wood and plastic composition, composite decking is particularly susceptible to mildew if your boards are uncapped. Keeping surfaces dry and clean is the most effective way to fight mildew so a basic power washer with a specialised decking cleaning product can used to combat the growth of mould and mildew. Capped composite decking products are effectively sealed so mildew and mould cannot attack the wood. But these capped decking products are more expensive.
Typically, the cost for composite decking will be around £100 for 1 metre squared - however, this may vary depending on quality of flooring or specific suppliers. Based on this, the overall cost of the flooring will be dependant largely on the size of the decking area being produced. Tradespeople may aso include the cost of some additional costs for other materials (adhesives, sealants, etc), but these are likely to be nominal except in some larger projects.
The time for the labour involved is typically a few days, but this could be less depending on the size/complexity of the installation. If it was a smaller decking size, it may well be possible to be installed within 1 day, which could also save money on the time to complete. For the tradesperson, they would typically charge their normal day-rate for this type of job - commonly around £200. For any additional complexity or issues that may arise, this could incur additional costs where more time has been spent by the tradesperson to complete the work.
Below are some estimated costs of installing composite decking.
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Hardwood Timber Decking Area 15 Square Metres - Single Level||£1500||1-3 Days|
|Solid Core Composite Decking Area 15 Square Metres - Single Level||£1600||1-3 Days|
|Solid Core Composite Decking Area 30 Square Metres - Single Level||£2750||1-3 Days|
Individual costs of installing composite decking (15 square metres ) - Total Cost: £1600