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Composite or wood? Myth-busting facts to know before you decide on a deck

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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:37 am, Thu Jun 26, 2014.

(BPT) - As temperatures warm across the country, many homeowners will begin thinking about home improvement. Adding a deck or replacing an old one is a popular project in spring and summer – one that provides outdoor entertaining space and enhances home value. If you’re considering a deck project this season, will you choose to build with wood or composite?

Decks built from either material have a high return on investment at the time of resale. Both can provide your family with a great space in which to enjoy warm weather. Before you decide which material is right for your deck, however, consider these facts, and learn the truth behind some common myths about composite decking:

Myth: Wood is “greener” than composite decking.

Truth: In many ways, composite decking is far more eco-friendly than wood. When you consider the life cycle of both products, composite products like Fiberon emerge as materials with minimal environmental impact. Composite production processes require less energy and water, create fewer emissions and make use of recycled materials. Because Fiberon purchases most materials from sources within 500 miles of the production plant, less energy is consumed transporting materials. Your final, finished deck requires no harsh chemical treatments to make it resist rot and stain, and it will last for decades. That durability means less energy consumption, fewer resources needed to replace it and less discarded material in landfills.

Myth: Composite fades, looks fake and doesn’t have wood’s beauty.

Truth: Like any new technology, composite decking has evolved from its basic beginnings. Today’s composite deck material comes in an array of colors and textures that are fade resistant. Wood is undeniably beautiful, and many composite decking options now mimic the natural grain and beauty of wood. Whether your taste runs to classic or contemporary, you’ll find composite selections from Fiberon that deliver the look of traditional wood grains and even exotic hardwoods. Advances in composite technology have yielded products that so closely resemble wood, you may not be able to tell the difference until you step on one barefoot – you’ll find the composite smooth and splinter-free!

Myth: Composite decking is too expensive.

Truth: While the initial outlay for materials may be the same as exotic woods or more than pressure treated wood, the durability, longevity and low-maintenance requirements of composite mean it will actually cost less over its lifetime than wood. Composite eliminates the cost of re-staining a deck every year, and its rot-resistant qualities greatly curtail repair costs.

Myth: Wood is a better material for do-it-yourself decks.

Truth: If your DIY skills are up to working with wood, you can definitely build your own deck using composite materials. In fact, composite products are easier to work with than wood in many ways. Unlike wood, composite planks won’t splinter or fracture. Finally, when your deck is done, you can start enjoying it right away, without the need to stain or seal the deck before you can use it.

Myth: You can’t make custom designs with composite decking.

Truth: Composite decking offers vast design flexibility, just like wood. Whether your dream deck involves multiple tiers and multi-function spaces, customized railings, built-in seating or an outdoor kitchen, you can achieve it with composite decking. Not sure how to begin? The Fiberon Deck Designer is a great place to start. The online tool allows you to specify the shape and size of your deck, its number of levels features such as stairs and railings. It also allows you to customize with colors, textures, shapes, accessories and more.

Finally, if you’re still unsure about composite decking, consider this: a composite deck will return about 74 percent of its construction cost when you sell your home, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. Until then, your low-maintenance composite deck will can provide decades of worry-free enjoyment to your family.

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