One of the great benefits of having a deck is that it can provide a seamless transition from the inside of the house to the outside, expanding your living area in the warmer months and giving you additional entertaining space. It's important that the surface of the deck is as comfortable as possible on your feet: splinter-free, smooth, and providing good, barefoot-friendly traction in a variety of settings. While there are many materials available, composite decking provides all of these benefits, while being light on maintenance. This blog will cover why wood gets splinters and decking options designed to be friendly to bare feet, let’s get started
The most common cause of splintering in wood decking is the damage brought about by UV radiation. UV radiation dries wood out to the point of destroying the cellular structure of the material, ultimately opening up cracks in the boards and forming splinters. The first sign of this cellular damage is the greying noticeable on all wooden structures that are exposed to the sun. Eventually, this damage will lead to cracks, warping, and (dreaded) splinters.
With a wooden deck, the way to mitigate this sort of damage is by protecting the wood from UV rays with a high-quality sealer. Ideally, this sealer is applied to the deck every year or every other year depending on the climate and the amount and intensity of sunlight to which the deck is exposed. In the face of intense UV radiation, though, even good sealers, applied with diligence, won’t be able to hold up to the sun’s rays forever, and after enough years, will start to show cracks and splinters.
Composites are made to look like real wood and come in a wide variety of natural-looking hues and grain patterns. Made by combining a blend of plastic and waste wood fibers, these boards won't splinter, rot, and don't need to be stained or painted, thanks to a built-in UV resistance. There are two main types of composite boards: capped and uncapped. Uncapped decks are cheaper but have a shorter lifespan due to the wooden fibres being exposed. Uncapped decking has less protection against fading, staining and mold. When it comes to protecting the longevity of your deck, it’s hard to compete with capped composite decking.
One of the major benefits of composite decking is its ability to shield against UV radiation and water penetration, ensuring the deck’s integrity. This resistance to UV rays also means that the color of the decking won’t change much due to fading by sunlight, which saves on the time and money involved in applying stains. In the end, the nature of wood means that you’ll spend lots of time and effort fighting the effects of the sun to keep your wood decking smooth and safe. With fully capped composite decking, that work is done for you by a carefully designed coating. Trex and TimberTech offer two popular composite decking options.
Trex offers a variety of high-performance composite deck boards that are specially engineered to resist fading, scratches and stains, and eliminate time-consuming maintenance.
TimberTech PVC decking features advanced materials science in its core and cap that makes it more heat resistant than other composite decking products. The PVC deck boards are made with proprietary polymer material and absolutely no wood, which makes it less dense than traditional lumber or decking made from composite material (recycled plastic and wood flakes).
Steel deck framing is galvanized steel system designed by deck builders, for deck builders. The interlocking joist and ledger system lets you build sturdy, safe decks with less effort. Steel deck framing takes less maintenance and upkeep than wood decking and eliminates the risk of splinters.
Steel deck framing could be the next evolution in decking. Interlocking joist and ledger system lets you build sturdy, safe decks with less effort that never rot. Features like powder coated finished provides increased corrosion-resistance and a more finished look.
The splinters stop here. Webfoot is your source for everything deck related, including each of the options above. Our team is made up of true craftsmen who specialize in the design, layout, care, know how, and maintenance of decks and outdoor living spaces in Bend and surrounding areas. You won't catch us remodeling kitchens or building homes, but when it comes to natural wood decks and composite decks- we're the seriously great team for the job.