Meet the Expert: Composite Decking with Olympian Landscaping
This season many homeowners across Ireland are choosing to add a composite garden deck to their landscaping designs. The advances in composite deck boards now mean that long lasting and low maintenance decking can be installed and look as good, if not better, than the hardwood or softwood options.
This month we chat to Onlinetradesmen member, Luke Doyle from Olympian Landscaping who has been busy with deck installations across Dublin and neighbouring counties and has been touting the benefits of composite decking.
Onlinetrademen (OLT): What is Composite Decking?
Luke Doyle: Generally speaking composite decking is made up of 70% timber wood dust and 30% glues and plastics. It’s also made from recycled materials, so it’s good for the environment.
OLT: Why do you recommend composite decking to homeowners?
Luke Doyle: The main reason homeowners prefer composite decking is due to the low maintenance factor. However, another great benefit is the high grip rating, which is due to the non-porous nature of the product – resulting in little to no moss or algae growth during the winter months. We also recommend composite deck boards over wood, because composite won't crack or warp and won’t be susceptible to insect infestation.
OLT: Does composite decking look natural?
Luke Doyle: The product’s appearance has definitely improved since first hitting the Irish market. Composite boards now imitate the subtle streaking and varied wood grain that is the natural beauty of hardwood. Customers also have a wide range of colours to choose, which means the option to create unique and varied deck board layout patterns is possible, including wishbone designs and decorative borders.
OLT: Is installing a composite deck any different from the wood version?
Luke Doyle: There is no need to sand or stain the finished construction, which is a big time-saving element. But there are also other factors that make installing composite decking a faster project, including the clip system, which makes it easier to fit and a hidden fastening system which provides a clean uniformed surface for homeowner’s to enjoy.
Many clients ask the question on frame construction. All composite decks frames are generally built using a standard pressured treated wood. As long as enough ventilation is allowed under the construction, the frame will last as long as the the composite boards and not require replacement.
OLT: You mentioned that composite decking is low maintenance; just how low maintenance are we talking?
Luke Doyle: A wash down a couple of times a year is usually the most a homeowner will have to do. Composite decking is fade resistant and any small scratches or chips can be repaired with a deck repair kit. The durability of composite deck boards means there is very little that will go wrong, but having a few extra composite deck boards available if a major repair is needed, is a good idea. Also, unlike wood, you won’t need to paint or apply pesticides – which is good for the environment.
OLT: How much does a composite deck cost?
Luke Doyle: A composite deck will be more expensive to install than standard decking but the advantages in the long term outweigh the initial cost.
A raised, 26 sq meter deck job we recently quoted was priced between €4K- €5K. The job required removal of the old deck and replacement of frame. This price included handrails, a fascia finish and labour. A portion of cost will also be dependent on property access and any existing structures that require removal.
The cost of boards are expensive and the goal of any good installer should be to minimise waste to below 10%, therefore it's very important that the frame is constructed first and boards ordered to fit. Customers have the choice of hollow boards or the more expensive solid boards. In 90% of the jobs we complete, hollow boards are fitted.
OLT: Is there anything you would recommend a homeowner do before posting a job or requesting a quote?
Luke Doyle: Before making contact with a tradesperson, it’s always good to have a rough plan and measurement of the space you are seeking to deck. At Olympian Landscaping we will always gather as many details as possible before we commence your project and review aspects of the project with you in advance to avoid any costly and time-consuming slips once work begins.
For 15 years, Luke Doyle has been designing, constructing and maintaining gardens both in Ireland and abroad. As the owner of Olympian Landscaping, his workmanship can be seen in many projects across Dublin. You can view Luke's ratings and contact him direct or post a decking or landscaping job via Onlinetradesmen.
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