Considering Adding a Deck to Your Green Home?
Photo via Fiberon
Find out why composite decks are the smarter, more eco-friendly choice
Today’s responsible homeowners are continually looking for ways to make their homes, and their lifestyles, more environmentally friendly, efficient and enjoyable. One cost effective way many homeowners are achieving this is by expanding their living space outdoors.
Decks have truly become extensions of our homes—the perfect place to enjoy time with family and friends, cook meals on the grill, relax in nature and even watch TV. The advantages of adding a deck are even greater for smaller homes, where adding a deck can make you feel like your home has a lot more space, with little to no impact on your home’s energy efficiency.
This feeling of added space does not go unnoticed if you decide to sell your home. According to the 2015 “Cost vs. Value Report” from “Remodeling” magazine, adding a deck to your home will give you an 80.5% return on your investment, depending on the location of your home and size of your deck.
Fortunately, as home building materials have evolved over the past several years, there have been major advances in decking materials as well. Wood is no longer the only – or the best – option. When it comes to durability, eco-friendliness, maintenance, and value, environmentally conscious homeowners and builders find composites are the smarter choice.
What is Composite Decking?
Composite decking is a manmade product comprising of wood and plastic. It offers the look and feel of wood without all the maintenance. Composite decking company, Fiberon®, gets its wood from ground window trim, doorframes, lumber and cabinet pieces. Recycled milk jugs, shampoo and detergent bottles, and plastic bags comprise the bulk of plastic content. Capped composite decking refers to composite decking with a cap stock (or cover) over it. Unlike many first generation composites that were uncapped, capped composite decking won’t splinter, crack or rot, and is highly resistant to staining, fading, and mold.
What are the Main Benefits of Composite Decking?
Beautiful Design- Today’s composite decks are more beautiful than ever before, with a wide variety of colors and textures allowing you to get the exact look that you want for your outdoor space. Fiberon’s composite decking materials are produced in solid colors or multi-chromatic colors that feature nuanced tones and streaking, just like real wood.
Eco-friendly and Chemical Free- Outdoor living is about appreciating nature, which is why Fiberon ensures that all of the processes used to create their decks are sustainable and eco-friendly. Fiberon’s manufacturing process is energy efficient and virtually waste free:
- 100% of polyethylene material is reclaimed in the manufacturing process.
- 98.5% of all material waste is recovered.
- No water is discharged, thanks to closed-loop water cooling systems.
- The extrusion process works via electricity on-demand, minimizing energy waste and environmental impact.
- Fiberon diverts 50,000 tons of wood and plastics from landfills and incinerators each year.
Fiberon’s composite products are also free of harmful chemicals and their materials contribute toward points in LEED and other green building rating systems. Find out more HERE.
Easy Maintenance & Durability- No need for paint brushes, stain or scrapers! Composite decking is a lot like prefinished flooring. It arrives as a finished product and NEVER needs sanding, staining, or painting -- just an occasional soap and water cleaning. Unlike wood, which needs to be finished after installation and then refinished every 1-2 years, composite decking requires only 2-4 hours of maintenance per year, giving you more time to spend doing the things you love.
Safety- Wood-plastic composite decks are splinter-free and slip-resistant, making your home safer for children and pets (not to mention your bare feet). No need for tears OR tweezers!
How is Composite Decking Made?
Watch this video to learn more about the manufacturing process for Fiberon composite decking.
How Does Composite Decking Compare to Wood?
One of the main reasons composite decking has become the clear choice for green builders is that it does not have to undergo the pressure treating process necessary to make wood products last longer and look good.
Pressure treatment involves soaking wood in a chemical preservative and then placing it into a pressure chamber. The chamber forces the chemical preservatives into the wood fibers to help protect it from insects and fungal decay. These chemicals are considered dangerous (that’s why you never burn pressure treated wood, for instance) and don’t ensure lasting protection against decay. Additional preservatives must be applied regularly or the wood will succumb to insect infestation and decay.
In addition, the process used to cut wood decking materials is not as eco-friendly as composite decking. According to the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory, wood residue from lumber mills is one of the top three sources of wood waste in the United States.
Another clear advantage of using composite decking over wood is the difference in the maintenance time you’ll have to spend to keep your deck safe and looking beautiful:
• Regular staining and periodic overhauls (sanding, stripping and re-staining) are needed.
• Maintenance is time-consuming. If done professionally, it’s also expensive.
• The average wood deck lasts 10-15 years.
• Cleaning with soap and water is usually sufficient.
• If leaves or other seasonal debris accumulate, simply sweep it off.
• A Fiberon composite deck can last decades and longer.
When it comes to eco-friendliness and value, composite decking has become an easy choice for smart homeowners. Decks have become an even more reliable investment with composite materials that remain beautiful and safe for years to come without all of the timely maintenance.
Interested in seeing what a Composite deck would look like on your home? Visit the ‘Design Tools’ page. You can test out decking and railing combinations using the Product Visualizer, design a custom deck with the Deck Design Tool, or download the ultimate deck planning guide.
If you have additional questions, you can also contact one of Fiberon’s experts.
Guest Blogger These columns are the work of our guest bloggers who want to share their expert green opinions on a range of topics.