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How to Install Composite Deck Boards

Composite decking has become a popular and durable alternative to traditional wood decking, offering low maintenance and long-lasting performance. Installing composite deck boards is a relatively straightforward process that will enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of outdoor living spaces. In this guide, we will walk you through the essential steps for how to install composite deck boards to help you achieve a professional and lasting result.

Preparation and Planning

Before starting the installation process, it’s crucial to plan and prepare the area. Begin by ensuring that the substructure is structurally sound and properly constructed. Make sure the structure is able to support the weight of the composite boards.

It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for spacing and fastening requirements. Take into account the specific characteristics of the composite decking material being used.

DIY Deck Plans (2012) tells us:

  • Before installing the maintenance free material, lay it flat on the deck surface for 30 minutes or longer (depending on the ambient temperature). This will help to eliminate any shapes or bends that may have formed in the plastic composite.
  • Be sure to allow for adequate expansion and contraction, especially when building in the fall and winter. Each manufacturer gives detailed information on joint spacing for different temperatures and material lengths.
install composite decking
Composite deck made from NewTechWood.

Layout and Decking Orientation

Once the substructure is ready, determine the layout and orientation of the composite deck boards. Consider the overall design and any patterns you may want to create with the boards.

It’s common to install the boards perpendicular to the joists for optimal strength and stability. Start by positioning the first deck board along the outer edge of the deck, ensuring that it overhangs slightly to allow for trimming later.

learn how to install composite decking
Building a backyard deck with composite deck boards.

Fastening the Boards

Composite deck boards are typically fastened using hidden fasteners or screws designed specifically for composite decking. Hidden fasteners provide a clean and seamless look while allowing for expansion and contraction of the boards.

Alternatively, if using screws, ensure that they are specifically designed for composite materials to prevent splitting and ensure a secure hold. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate fastening method and spacing between boards to achieve a professional finish.

Read one of our other articles titled, “Best Composite Decking for Full Sun.”

Cutting and Trimming

During the installation process, you may need to cut and trim composite deck boards to fit the specific dimensions of your deck. Use a saw specifically designed for cutting composite materials to ensure clean and precise cuts.

When trimming the boards, be sure to leave a uniform gap between the boards to accommodate natural expansion and contraction due to temperature and moisture changes.

install composite decking
Deck repair and installation.

Finishing Touches

After all the deck boards are installed, it’s time to add finishing touches that enhance the overall appearance and functionality of the deck. This may include adding fascia boards to cover the exposed ends of the deck boards and creating a polished and cohesive look.

Timber Tech (2022) explains fascia refers to the boards that run along the perimeter of your deck, covering the rim joists. Fascia gives your deck a sleek, seamless finish. 

Additionally, consider installing any accessories such as railings, stairs, and post caps to further customize and optimize your composite deck space.

Trust us to supply you with high quality composite decking. Go to our Composite Decking Service Page. 

Maintenance and Care

Once the composite deck boards are installed, it’s important to understand the recommended maintenance and care practices. While composite decking is known for its low maintenance, periodic cleaning and inspection are essential to ensure its longevity and appearance.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning methods and products to keep your composite deck looking its best.

Not sure if composite decking is right for you? Read our article titled, “What Decking Material is Best?”

Conclusion

Installing composite deck boards can be a rewarding project that significantly enhances the functionality and aesthetic appeal of outdoor living spaces.

By carefully planning, preparing the substructure, and following the manufacturer’s installation guidelines, you can achieve a durable and visually appealing composite deck.

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or hiring a professional, the steps outlined in this guide can help you create a lasting and beautiful outdoor living area using composite decking.

References:

DIY Deck Plans. (2012, May 9). How to install composite deck plans. DIY Deck Plans. https://diydeckplans.com/how-to-build-a-deck/decking/how-to-install-composite-deck-boards

Timber Tech. (2022, January 10). 8 tips for installing composite decking. Timber Tech. https://www.timbertech.com/ideas/installing-composite-decking/

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