composite decking expand and contract

Here in the UK, it can be blazing sunshine one minute and freezing frost the next. As such, the features you have in your garden need to be able to withstand the constantly changing conditions! 

The problem with real wood

The reason why real wood is known for being terrible at coping with changing weather conditions is that it absorbs so much water!

Unless you commit to keeping your real wood decking properly sealed (which takes a lot of work, annually) then you can guarantee that it will take on water and suffer the consequences sooner or later. Once the wooden boards have taken on water, they are susceptible to damage from significant temperature rises and drops.

If the water inside the deck boards freezes, it expands - causing the boards to splinter and crack. In unusually warm temperatures residual moisture in the boards evaporates quickly causing the boards to contract.

After a few hot summers and cold winters, all your deck boards will be cracked, warped and splintered. This not only looks unsightly, but it can also cost a lot to repair and can quickly become a hazard if left untreated. As the wood splits, it becomes sharp and can lead to some pretty nasty splinters in your hands and feet.

Over time, the moisture trapped within the boards will cause them to rot. Your boards will start to disintegrate after only a few years. But don't worry, there is an alternative option that's much more durable and has a longer life-cycle!

Does composite decking expand and contract too?

The short answer is - yes, but only a little bit and it shouldn't cause the same kinds of issues that you see in real wood boards. 

Unlike real wood, DeckPlus composite decking never needs to be stained or sealed to keep the water out. All of our composite deck boards have been engineered with the changing weather conditions in mind, meaning they can withstand whatever's thrown at them a lot better than real wood can. 

Composite decking doesn't swell or contract to the same extent that real wood decking does (especially if it's fitted correctly). To make sure that there's enough room between the boards to allow for the small amount of expansion and contraction that can occur on particularly hot or cold days, you should:

  • Allow a 3-5mm gap on either side of the deck boards
  • Allow at least 5mm between deck boards and adjoining structures or posts

It's worth bearing in mind that even though composite decking does expand and contract a little bit, they don't take on water. This means there's practically no chance of the boards rotting or disintegrating after a few years. In fact, we're so confident that our boards can withstand the test of time, that we provide each of our decking ranges with a 10-year warranty (minimum).

Want to take a closer look at our composite decking ranges?

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If decking expansion and contraction are some of your concerns while you're looking to re-design your garden, we think you'll find composite decking a great alternative to natural wood. Why not order some samples of our decking to see the high quality, water-resistant finish for yourself?