Stuart Burns, Director at Dura Composites, looks at the reasons why demand for composite decking is growing over natural wood alternatives.
Composites still represent less than 10% of the overall decking market but demand is growing at a rapid rate as end users and contractors realise the benefits to them.
This is thanks to two factors – enhanced product quality and an emerging willingness from key timber distributors to offer it alongside timber alternatives.
To demonstrate, Dura Composites struck a distribution deal with national timber importer and merchant Arnold Laver and its’ Dura Deck is proving popular at all of their depots nationally where its products have been socked since April 2012.
Dura Deck is a timber composite decking solution; It features a high percentage of reclaimed hard wood which gives it such a natural look but it’s high density polyethylene content and other inhibitors and stabilisers means that it doesn’t suffer any of the pitfalls of natural wood decking.
The great thing about an engineered product such as Dura Deck means that highly developed additional ingredients can be added at point of manufacture to stabilise the decking and protect it from various threats including moisture, mould and UV.
This means that, unlike natural wood, it won’t crack, shrink, warp or rot. It is also highly resistant to light degradation thanks to UV inhibitors added during manufacturing, which ensure Dura Deck retains around 90% of its original colour after a massive 5000 hours exposure, and then remains colour stable throughout its entire life cycle.
Many don’t realise that Dura Deck is just as ‘green’ as traditional wood. In fact, it is made of 87% recycled materials and can also be recycled after use. In addition, Dura achieved a world first earlier this year when we became the first timber composite supplier to become FSC ® 100% certified, guaranteeing the use of FSC ® certified forests in our production chain when this option is ordered.
The biggest advantage of Dura Deck has to be the incredible cost-savings that it can bring. Dura Deck comes with a warranty of up to 25 years, 10 years longer than the average life of hardwood decking and more than 15 years longer than the life of softwood decking. When looking at initial outlay, Dura Deck is slightly more expensive than traditional wood decking but it is often cheaper to use because it lasts so much longer and doesn’t require any painting or staining. In fact, an independent report that compared whole life cycle costs over a 25 year period confirmed that a square metre of Dura Deck is £136.14 cheaper than softwood and £381.18 cheaper than hardwood.
Specially designed subsurface fixings make the deck quick and easy to install, not to mention barefoot friendly. A deck installer can lay the deck very quickly and thanks to the 6mm spacer clips will deliver consistent gapping much more easily than natural wood planks. These characteristics mean that Dura Deck is suitable to be specified on large or small projects, be they commercial or residential and is why we the customer base ranges from the largest contractors to private individuals.