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Does Composite Decking Get Hotter Than Wood

Does Composite Decking Get Hotter Than Wood?

Composite decking is a popular choice for homeowners who want a low-maintenance, durable, and attractive outdoor living space. However, one question that many people have is whether composite decking gets hotter than wood.


The answer is yes, composite decking can get hotter than wood. This is because composite decking is made from a mixture of plastic and wood fibers, which absorb heat more readily than wood.


Understanding the Basics

Before we delve into the comparison between composite decking and wood, let's first understand the basics of each material.

Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic. It is designed to mimic the look of real wood while offering the benefits of low maintenance and durability. On the other hand, wood decking is typically made from natural hardwoods such as cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated lumber.

wpc terrace. wood plastic composite decking boards

Heat Retention

One of the primary concerns for many homeowners is how hot their deck will get during the summer months. Both composite decking and wood have the potential to retain heat, but the extent to which they do so can vary.


Composite decking, due to its plastic content, has a higher potential for heat retention compared to wood. When exposed to direct sunlight, the plastic in composite decking can absorb and retain heat, making the surface of the deck hotter to the touch.


Wood decking, on the other hand, has natural insulating properties that can help reduce heat absorption. However, the surface temperature of wood decking can still become warm when exposed to prolonged sunlight.


Factors Affecting Heat Retention

Several factors can influence how hot a deck surface becomes, regardless of whether it's made of composite or wood.


Color: The color of the decking material can significantly impact its heat retention. Dark-colored decking, whether composite or wood, tends to absorb more heat compared to lighter-colored options.


Texture: The texture of the decking surface can also play a role in heat retention. Smooth surfaces have a higher tendency to become hot to the touch, while textured surfaces may dissipate heat more effectively.


Location: The geographical location of your deck can affect how hot it gets. Decks in sunny, warm climates are more likely to experience higher surface temperatures compared to decks in cooler regions.


Maintenance: The level of maintenance and care for your deck can also influence its heat retention. A well-maintained deck with regular cleaning may have lower heat retention compared to a neglected one with dirt and debris buildup.


Mitigating Heat Retention

Regardless of the material you choose for your deck, there are several strategies to help mitigate heat retention and ensure a more comfortable outdoor space.


Shade: Incorporating shade elements such as pergolas, umbrellas, or awnings can provide relief from direct sunlight and reduce the overall heat buildup on your deck.


Ventilation: Proper ventilation underneath the deck can help dissipate heat more effectively. Consider using lattice or open-joist framing to promote air circulation.


Cooling Accessories: Utilize cooling accessories such as misting systems, fans, or portable air conditioning units to create a more comfortable environment on your deck during hot days.


Material Selection: If heat retention is a significant concern for you, consider selecting lighter-colored decking materials with textured surfaces that are designed to minimize heat buildup.


In conclusion, both composite decking and wood have the potential to become hot when exposed to sunlight. However, due to its plastic content, composite decking generally has a higher likelihood of retaining heat compared to wood. By considering factors such as color, texture, location, and maintenance, and implementing mitigation strategies, you can create a more enjoyable and comfortable outdoor living space regardless of the decking material you choose.


When deciding between composite decking and wood, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of each material while also considering how you can address potential heat retention issues. With proper planning and thoughtful design, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor deck that suits your needs and enhances your outdoor living experience.