If you’re wondering to yourself, how real can a composite deck actually feel? You’re in good company. The question comes up a lot and has far more to do with the type of composite decking material you select than it does with composite decking material in general. The reality is, there are far more options when it comes to composite decks relative to wood decks. After you dive into the world of composite, you likely won’t want to leave…
The top concern for most clients is a deck that is as low maintenance as humanly possible. The obvious choice of material, then, is something composite. But people are always worried that low-maintenance composite material cannot be made to look authentic.
People love the look and feel of wood. Many clients ask for the “rustic” look, and believe they cannot attain it without the use of actual lumber. In 2020, this is simply not true.
Once we suggest composite material, many people will respond with something like “doesn’t it feel funny?” The truth is, this question has more to do with the fact people love wood than people’s distaste for synthetic material. The first composite decking material on the market didn’t do a very good job of selling the appearance of wood, and that experience is still stuck in the collective minds of consumers. Today, however, composite materials commonly keep you guessing, even when up close. You may find yourself methodically looking for repeated patterns in the wood grain to tell.
One of the early issues with composite material that was meant to look like wood is that it gave off a sheen that seemed unnatural. Wood typically has a matte reflection (or non-reflection), unless it had a shellac applied to it. Shiny surfaces are circumspect to anyone who knows what wood looks like in its natural state. The second issue is the wood grain itself. Not the repetition of pattern, which is unavoidable when being mass produced, but the visibility of the grain. If the wood grain is too pronounced, it’s apparent that someone is trying to mimic wood (almost as though they’re trying too hard). If the wood grain isn’t visible enough, it’s clear the material isn’t actually wood. This is the delicate balance the composite material industry has had to contend with through trial and error, but today they’ve more or less hit the mark with balance.
The above notwithstanding, one of the unspoken issues with composite decking has always been the “feel” of composite material. Too firm, and it doesn’t have enough give to feel believable. Too much give, and it will feel like rubber. This is a concern that’s dealt with differently from one manufacturer to another. But on the whole, this particular predicament has been solved. You simply need to sample the decking material prior to using it to ensure it has the requisite firmness you’re after.
The fact is, composite decking will allow you to retain that look and feel that makes wood decks so enjoyable, while significantly decreasing the amount of maintenance involved. By keeping your deck free from moisture, and protected from UV rays, you will save significant time and money throughout each year. If you’re after that “rustic” look and feel, it’s still attainable with composite decking. If you’d like to discuss a new composite deck that looks and feels like wood, click the green “Contact Us Today” button below.