Why is my composite decking cracking?
Composite decks have become popular due to their outstanding durability and low maintenance. Modern and stylish, composite decking can add more beauty and functionality to your outdoor space. But in actual daily use, some people still experience problems with composite deck board cracking and warping. Many homeowners want to ask, why is my composite decking cracking?
Although composite decking has good durability and resistance, some factors can still lead to damage. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why is your composite decking cracking. And offer some insights and options on preventing cracking in your deck.
Table of Contents
Understanding composite decking boards
Composite decks are a new type of deck made from a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastic. The unique design provides a more durable deck material with outstanding performance. The mix of plastic and wood fibers gives the deck the advantage of being moisture, rot, and insect-resistant. It is therefore highly resistant to extreme environments and weather. In addition to outstanding performance, composite decks are available in a wide variety of looks and finishes. The durability and variety of looks make it an ideal choice for outdoor spaces.
Why is your composite decking cracking?
Composite material has become very popular because of its durability. However improper use or maintenance can cause composite decks to crack.
Heat expansion and cold expansion
Composite decking boards expand and contract with temperature changes. Extreme heat and cold in extreme environments can cause a deck to expand and contract. Constant expansion and contraction can then cause cracking and warping of the decking material. This problem can be even worse if your deck is installed in an environment with wide temperature fluctuations.
Proper installation directly affects the longevity and performance of your outdoor space. Improper installation can lead to cracking and damage to composite decking. For example, improperly spaced decking may not contract and expand properly, leading to cracking. Inadequate support structures or improper fastening may also result in uneven stresses on the decking. Leading to severe damage and cracking.
Composite deck boards are well protected from moisture. But constant exposure to moisture or prolonged exposure to water can also cause the deck to swell and warp. If your composite decking absorbs water due to poor drainage, it can cause the deck to swell, crack, or even rot. However, manufacturers add water repellents to the composite material during the manufacturing process. So that moisture won’t cause serious damage to the decking.
Overweight or impact can cause cracking and damage to composite decks. Excessively heavy furniture or frequent moving of furniture may cause wear and scratches on the deck. Heavy objects dropped on the deck may cause damage to the overall structure.
While the impact of this factor is not significant, the material composition of composite material does affect the performance of the deck. Different materials and compositions have different resistances and properties. Generally speaking, high-quality, name-brand decks offer greater performance and longevity. But of course, their price tag increases as well. However, EVODEK utilizes industry-leading technology and can also offer more affordable prices. Homeowners need to carefully consider the process of choosing a composite decking brand.
How to prevent composite decking from cracking
Ensure that the deck is installed following the manufacturer’s installation instructions and guidelines. And that it is secured using specialist fasteners supplied by the manufacturer. Maintain proper expansion gaps, support structure, and secure fastening during installation. If you are not experienced in installation, then we recommend that you hire a professional installer. So that the decking can be installed correctly.
Proper ventilation and drainage
Proper air circulation and drainage is essential to maintaining the life and performance of your composite deck. Ensure proper air circulation underneath the deck. And install a reliable drainage system to avoid swelling and cracking.
Purchase a quality deck
As we mentioned above, the materials used in the manufacture of composite decks also affect their performance. Many manufacturers are not technically sophisticated and use inferior materials in the manufacturing process, resulting in poor-quality composite decks on the market. Poor-quality decks are prone to cracking, damage, and warping during use. Therefore homeowners are advised to carefully research the deck brand before purchasing a composite decking board.
Focus on the weight of the deck surface and avoid placing heavy objects in the same area. Distribute heavy items or heavy furniture evenly on the deck, or consider using furniture pads and protectors. Excess weight can cause severe impact and stress on composite decking, leading to damage to the overall structure.
Regularly maintain and clean your deck. Keep the composite decking board in good condition. Regularly clean the surface of your deck to remove any dirt and debris that could damage the integrity of your deck. Check for any signs of damage. Address these issues promptly to avoid further damage and cracking.
How to repair damaged composite decking
Over time, the surface of composite decks may have developed cracks. Cracked decks can seriously affect the appearance and functionality of your outdoor space. So you need to take the proper steps to repair them.
Assessing the damage
Thoroughly assess the extent of cracking in the composite deck before proceeding with the repair. Distinguish between minor cracks and severe cracking that affects integrity. Evaluating the damage will help determine the correct repair method to extend the life and performance of the deck.
Prepare the proper tools and materials
To repair cracked composite decking, you need to prepare the right tools and materials.
- Safety gear: gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask.
- Vacuum cleaner and soft brush: for cleaning debris and dirt from cracks.
- Professional composite decking cleaner: for de-staining the deck surface.
- Putty knife: for applying filler and sealant.
- Composite deck filler: Please choose professional composite material filler.
- Sandpaper: Sandpaper is mainly used to sand the repaired area.
Clean up the cracked area
Before you begin repairing the crack, use a vacuum cleaner and soft brush to remove debris from the crack. Ensure a tight bond to the deck surface when subsequently filling the crack.
Cleaning the surface
To ensure optimum adhesion of the filler, clean the surface of the composite decking thoroughly.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning with a composite deck cleaner. This will remove any dirt and residue interfering with the restoration process. Next, use a garden hose to thoroughly clean the decking and allow it to dry completely.
Applying the filler
Once the surface has been thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to apply a professional filler for deck restoration. Please follow the following steps strictly for restoration and operation.
Read the use and instructions of the filler. Make sure that the composite decking repair can be done correctly.
Use a putty knife to apply the filler into the gap until it is filled. Make sure the filled area is flush with the surrounding surface.
Smooth the filler completely to keep the decking surface level.
Follow the instructions and recommendations for the filler. Allow enough time for the filler to set and harden.
Sanding the filled area
Sand the filler area to repair the appearance of the filled area further, if desired.
Once the filler is completely dry, use sandpaper to lightly sand the repair area. Remember to sand in the direction of the grain of the composite decking to avoid damage to the deck surface.
Next, clean the sanded area thoroughly to remove dust and debris.
For more serious damage or damage that affects the overall structural integrity, consider replacing the decking. Minor damage can be repaired using the methods described above. While severe damage will require complete replacement. Replace severely damaged decks promptly to ensure overall safety and integrity.
To prevent future cracking in the repaired area and to maintain the overall integrity of the deck. Keep up with regular maintenance. Clean composite wood decking regularly to prevent damage to the deck from dirt, debris, and moisture. And regularly inspect the deck for any signs of damage and deterioration. Deal with it promptly to prevent further damage.
While composite material is known for its excellent durability, damage, and cracking can occur in some cases. Understanding the factors that can cause composite decking to crack. This is essential for proper use and maintenance in the future.
Regular inspections, timely repairs, and proper installation and maintenance. All of these actions are effective in prolonging the life and performance of the composite deck. If your composite wood decking has become damaged, repair and treat it promptly.
Understand why composite decking cracks and take care of it in the time to come. This way you can enjoy a long-lasting and beautiful outdoor space.