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Does decking warp?

Does decking warp?

Posted by adrac on October 2, 2022

If you have any experience with utilizing a timber deck, you may well have concluded that all decking boards warp. And who could blame you? Historically, that would be most people’s experience. So, the natural assertion would be that perhaps composite decking boards may behave in the same manner. But, there’s good news. Composite decking is different. It has a different molecular structure. It feels different. Done well, it has a different aesthetic appeal. It’s sturdier, more resilient and performs a lot better than timber in many ways. Not warping, is one of those.

What makes a timber deck warp?

How timber behaves is determined by the environmental conditions. Moisture and humidity levels impact timber by making it expand and contract. The expansion and contraction will not occur uniformly. For example, if a timber deck gets soaked in the rain. During the drying period, some parts of the deck may be holding less moisture to begin with, or, may not be exposed to as much sunlight following the rain. This would then result in some parts of the decking boards drying out quicker than other parts, for obvious reasons. This causes tension in the structure of the timber which leads to it to warp. Even amongst timber, the level of warping will vary depending on the type of wood.

Does composite decking warp?

Composite decking, much like timber is affected by the elements. So, it expands and contracts. But its structural make up is different to that of timber. Composite decking boards are an amalgamation of lots of recycled wood and plastic fibres. These fibres are not interlinked in the same way naturally occurring wood fibres are. So, when exposed to moisture or heat, the decking boards should return to their natural state when conditions return to normal, without having to go through the warping process. Composite decking boards are a lot more resilient and hard wearing than timber and if installed correctly, will last a very long time without the worry of maintenance.

Why is composite decking warping?

Composite decking, amongst its many other benefits is designed and manufactured not to warp as discussed above. However, occasionally you will find that boards at the really cheap end of the market may end up warping. Generally, these boards will have other issues also, so making the right choice when selecting decking boards is key. That being said. It is can be the case that incorrect installation of decking boards may lead to the boards warping also. This isn’t a flaw in the boards. Therefore, in such cases the installation method needs looking at and reviewing.

As we mentioned earlier, deck boards do expand and contract. So, they need to be installed with concealed fasteners that create a space between the boards allowing for expansion and contraction. In addition, if you decide to butt two decking boards together, you need to ensure that there is an open end on one side at least for the boards to expand in to.

The key is to make sure you follow the step by step installation guide. If done right, you should not have any issues with your deck warping.

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