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Does Composite Decking Fade?

Eleanor Bickerton Nov 02, 2018
Care Decking Design Technical

Taking care of a traditional wooden deck can be a lot of work. Most wooden decks will need to be sealed and stained at least every 2-3 years to prolong their colour as the British summer and watery winters take their toll on even the most hard-wearing stains and paints.

When considering a deck refurbishment or replacement one of the most common questions we receive is does composite decking have the same fading issues as their timber alternatives?

Frontier Hyperion Composite Decking

Hyperion Frontier deck boards are engineered with plastic coating around the edge of the board, sometimes called a ‘capping’ This plastic coating ensures that the material keeps its colour throughout its 25 year residential stain and fade warranty.

Exact details of the warranty can be found here, but in brief they promise that the colour will not change perceptibly (defined as 5 Delta in the terms) over the entire 25 year warranty period. 

In short, Frontier does not fade

Pioneer Hyperion Composite Decking

Our Hyperion Pioneer deck boards do not have the plastic protective coating.  They are the same coloured composite material throughout, a material which contains ~60% recycled wood.  As a result it contains natural wood oils (called tannins) which are dark brown coloured (they contribute to tea’s colour). These are gradually washed out of the wood by rain and moisture in the air.  This occurs during the first 8-10 weeks in a process sometimes called ‘extractive bleeding.’  The colour change is greatest in the lighter colours where the tannins contribute a higher percentage of the original colouration.

After the natural process of extractive bleeding the boards are then subject to standard weathering, primarily from the UV rays of the sun. Our Pioneer boards contain a UV stabiliser, but will suffer some further fading.  The most noticeable change is when using the wood grain effect where the contrast between the two shades decreases significantly.

This is a standard feature of the all uncapped composite materials containing wood.

To help with your decisions, and matching with other elements of your garden or terrace we’ve included a set of pictures below which show the natural weathering over the first 6 months. This shows the change in colour and the relative intensity of the wood grain effects upon different colours over time.

Uncapped Wood Plastic Composite Fade Timeline

In Summary

Composite decking provides a low maintenance alternative to traditional wooden decks. Both the Hyperion composite ranges will never need to be stained or treated and hold their initial colour to varying degrees, the Frontier has a warranty covering the level of colour fastness and the Pioneer change depends upon the initial colour chosen, but will lighten similarly to the photo above.

If the exact colour is is a significant aspect of the decking then we suggest the Frontier range