Does Composite Decking Fade?
Will composite decking lose it's colour over time
“Does composite decking have the same colour fading issues as timber?”
This is one of the most common questions we receive from customers considering a deck refurbishment or replacement.
Traditional wooden decks are notoriously bad at holding their colour. Relying on regular painting and staining, year after year, to maintain a healthy looking deck. Composite decking is much more fade resistant and requires far less ongoing maintenance.
Does composite decking fade in the sun?
The short answer is, yes - but not much. We measured a colour lightening of around 15% with the main difference being seen in the ‘grain’ of the wood patterning. If you are using a ridged decking board the colour difference will be less noticeable.
While extremely fade resistant, all uncapped composite decking undergoes a natural weathering process after installation. This is a result of UV exposure and natural wood oils, called tannins, being washed out. After about 8 to 10 weeks the colour of the boards will stabilise.
Continued exposure to the UV rays of the sun, will lead to a gradual discoloration for uncapped decking boards. Although, the effects will be far less noticeable than with timber decking.
Extractive bleeding and fading as a result of UV rays is a standard feature of all uncapped composite materials containing wood and will be seen in products across the market.
Hyperion’s® uncapped decking boards contain a UV stabiliser to lessen the effects, but they will still undergo some minor fading. Fading and staining in uncapped boards with an embossed surface will be less obvious.
On the other hand, capped composite decking has a protective layer that is completely fade resistant. The plastic capping ensures that the material keeps its colour. Hyperion® Frontier capped decking features a 25-year residential stain and fade warranty.
Composite decking tannins
Our uncapped decking boards are the same coloured composite material throughout. This material includes 60% recycled wood fibres. These wood fibres contain tannins which are dark brown coloured.
The decking tannins are gradually washed out of the wood by rain and moisture in the air. This occurs during the first 8 to 10 weeks in a process sometimes called ‘extractive bleeding’. The colour change is greatest in lighter coloured boards where the tannins contribute a higher percentage of the original colouration.
Fun fact: Tannins also appear in tea and wine, adding to their colour and creating a drying and puckering sensation on the tongue! (please don't lick our decking)
Removing Tannin Stains
These pictures show what extractive bleeding may look like. You may first notice these after a period of rain, especially if the materials have been installed over a dry period.
The tannin stains can be removed by washing with water if required. Otherwise, it will disappear after the board has been wet and dried several times. (For example - after the boards have been rained on a few times.)