composite decking

Does Composite Decking Get Hot?

Composite decking has become a popular choice among homeowners for its durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. But one frequent question arises when considering composite decking for outdoor spaces—does composite decking get hot?

This blog post aims to answer this question comprehensively, helping you make an informed decision for your home. We’ll cover:

  • The basics of composite decking
  • Whether or not it gets hot in the sun
  • A comparison to traditional wood decking

Understanding Composite Decking

Composite decking is made from a blend of wood fibers and plastic. This combination aims to provide the best of both worlds—the natural look and feel of wood with the durability and low maintenance of plastic. Composite decking is available in various colors, textures, and finishes, making it a versatile option for many homeowners.

The Science Behind Heat and Composite Decking

grey composite decking

If you’re going to understand how the material heats up, it’s important to understand the science.

Materials Matter

The materials used in composite decking play a significant role in how hot the decking becomes. Traditional wood decking can also get hot, but composite materials often contain plastic, which tends to absorb and retain heat more than natural wood. The color and finish of the decking can also impact its temperature. Darker colors absorb more heat, while lighter colors reflect it.

Surface Temperature

The surface temperature of composite decking can vary based on several factors:

  • Material Composition: Decking made with higher percentages of plastic will generally get hotter.
  • Color: Darker colors absorb more sunlight and heat up faster.
  • Exposure: Decking in direct sunlight will naturally get hotter than shaded areas.
  • Climate: Geographic location and local climate conditions play a role in how hot composite decking gets.

Composite Decking vs. Wood Decking

When comparing composite decking to traditional wood decking, it’s essential to note that both types can become hot to the touch. However, composite decking tends to retain heat longer than wood. Here’s a quick comparison:

Composite Decking:

  • Pros: Low maintenance, durable, resistant to rot and insects.
  • Cons: Can become hot, may fade over time.

Wood Decking:

  • Pros: Natural look, cooler to the touch.
  • Cons: Requires regular maintenance, susceptible to rot and insects.

Composite Decking vs. PVC Decking

PVC decking is another alternative to wood and composite decking. Made entirely of plastic, PVC decking is highly resistant to moisture and rot. However, it can get very hot, even more so than composite decking.

PVC Decking:

  • Pros: Highly durable, moisture-resistant.
  • Cons: Can become extremely hot, less natural appearance.

Factors Influencing Heat Retention

So what exactly affects heat retention? There are quite a few things to consider.

Color and Finish

The color and finish of your composite decking significantly affect its heat retention. Lighter colors reflect more sunlight and stay cooler, while darker shades absorb more heat. Some manufacturers offer composite decking with reflective surfaces designed to reduce heat absorption.

Installation and Design

How you install and design your deck can also influence its temperature. For instance:

  • Shade Structures: Adding pergolas, awnings, or umbrellas can provide shade and keep your deck cooler.
  • Ventilation: Ensuring proper ventilation beneath the decking can help dissipate heat.

Location and Climate

Your geographical location and local climate conditions play a crucial role in how hot your composite decking gets. Decks in southern regions with intense sunlight will naturally be hotter than those in cooler, northern areas.

Manufacturer and Quality

Not all composite decking is created equal. Different manufacturers use various materials and technologies to produce their decking boards. High-quality composite decking from reputable manufacturers often includes UV inhibitors and other technologies designed to reduce heat absorption.

5 Tips for Keeping Composite Decking Cool

If you’re concerned about the heat retention of composite decking, here are some practical tips to keep your deck cool:

1) Choose Lighter Colors

Opting for lighter-colored composite decking can significantly reduce heat absorption. Colors like beige, gray, and light brown are excellent choices for keeping your deck cooler.

2) Add Shade Structures

Installing shade structures such as pergolas, awnings, or even large umbrellas can provide much-needed shade and keep your deck cooler.

3) Use Outdoor Rugs and Mats

Placing outdoor rugs and mats on your composite decking can help reduce the surface temperature. These coverings provide a barrier between your feet and the hot decking surface.

4) Install a Misting System

A misting system can be an excellent addition to your outdoor space. These systems spray a fine mist of water, which can help cool the air and the surface of your decking.

5) Ensure Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation beneath your decking can help dissipate heat. Make sure there is adequate airflow under the deck to prevent heat buildup.

The Role of Technology in Reducing Heat

Just because a certain material retains heat doesn’t mean that you are without options. Here are some ways the technology can reduce heat.

Reflective Surfaces

Some manufacturers offer composite decking with reflective surfaces designed to reduce heat absorption. These surfaces reflect more sunlight, keeping the decking cooler.

Heat-Resistant Materials

Advancements in technology have led to the development of heat-resistant composite decking materials. These materials are designed to absorb less heat and stay cooler, even in direct sunlight.

UV Inhibitors

High-quality composite decking often includes UV inhibitors, which help reduce the amount of heat the decking absorbs. UV inhibitors also help prevent fading and maintain the decking’s appearance over time.

Case Studies and Real-World Examples

Wondering what real life homeowners think about their composite decking materials? We’ve got the facts, below.

Homeowner Experiences

Many homeowners have successfully managed the heat retention of their composite decking by implementing the tips mentioned above. For example, a homeowner in Arizona installed a pergola over their composite deck and noticed a significant reduction in surface temperature.

Manufacturer Innovations

Leading composite decking manufacturers are continually innovating to address the issue of heat retention. For instance, Trex offers a line of composite decking with reflective surfaces and UV inhibitors designed to stay cooler in direct sunlight.

Learn More About Modern Composite Decks

modern composite decks

Composite decking can get hot, especially in direct sunlight and warmer climates. However, with the right choices and strategies, you can significantly reduce the heat retention of your composite decking.

If you’re considering composite decking for your home, take the next step and explore the options from reputable manufacturers. With the right approach, you can create a beautiful, durable, and comfortable outdoor space that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

For personalized advice and expert recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Voyager Exteriors. We’re here to help you make the best choices for your home and lifestyle.

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