When selecting decking, there are two popular options, wood or composite. One thing to consider between the two is heat. How hot do the deck boards get in the sun? When first introduced, composite deck boards were hotter to the touch than traditional wood deck boards. Developing the perception that composite decking is hotter than wood.
But quality contemporary composite decking is no hotter than wood decking. Plus, lighter colour composite decking can further reduce the decking boards’ temperature along with under deck ventilation. Quality composite manufacturers also offer decking designed to be cooler in the sun.
The temperature of your deck and decking is critical in summer. If the decking is too hot to walk on, you will not enjoy being on your deck in summer. Destroying the very reason you built your deck in the first place. A place to enjoy the summer.
Yes, when composite decking was first being released, a common complaint was heat. The composite deck boards quickly heating up in the sun. Heating up so much as they were uncomfortable to walk on. Stepping on the deck with bare feet would send you into a crazy chicken dance of discomfort across the deck.
This is no longer the case for most composite decking. As now manufacturers are making boards better designed to enjoy the summer on. Deck boards that are cooler to the touch, and cooler in general. But selecting the right composite decking boards is key to having a composite deck that can be enjoyed in the summer heat.
But before discussing what to look for in composite decking. Let’s address the problem with decking. All Decking!
Both Wood and Composite Decking Get Hot in the Sun
All decking, both wood and composite decking, will get hot in the sun. Some steps can be taken to reduce the temperature on your deck, but your deck will be hotter than other areas of your back yard. Meaning that regardless if your decking is wood or composite, it will be hot in the sun.
This is largely to do with the science of heat and reflection. Decking, a flat surface will reflect the suns heat more than the grass in your yard. Making your deck hotter in the sun than elsewhere in your yard.
A little aside, but the benefit of having grass in your yard. The Lawn Institute research has shown a good healthy grass yard has a maximum temperature of 88°F (31 °C), which is considerably cooler than the temperature on a deck in the sun.
Just another reason to surround your deck with vegetation. Not only grass but flowers and trees. The leaves not only providing shade but will also cool the air around and on your deck.
So, regardless of what decking you choose, you will need to take steps to reduce the heat in the summer. Decks are great for enjoying summer days, but they will get hot. Without additional accessories to reduce the temperature of the deck. For recommended deck comfort and cooling accessories, click here.
But back to selecting the right decking for your summer deck.
Wood and Composite Decking Transfer Heat Differently.
The heat of composite decking is on the surface of the decking. Also, composite decking transfer heater quicker than natural wood decking. Making the initial contact with composite decking hotter to the touch than wood decking. As your foot touches the decking, it will instantly feel the heat, but if you remain in place. Standing on the deck. Once your foot absorbs the surface heat, it will start to cool below your foot.
The opposite is true with wood decking. Stepping on wood decking it will take longer to feel the heat on the sole of your foot. We are talking fractions of a second, but as you stand on the wood deck, the heat from the decking will continue to warm your foot. As the heat from the core of the decking continues to warm your foot.
Meaning a wood deck can be hotter than most composite decks. As the wood absorbs and collects more heat than the composite decking. Raising the overall temperature of the deck. This difference in heat retention can be further increases by composite deck board selection.
Choosing Cooler Composite Deck Boards
Not all composite decking is the same. Which is excellent for designing and building decks as individual as the people who enjoy them. I love the wide variety of colours and designs of composite deck boards on the market. Like an artist blending colour on their palette to draw your eye into their painting. Contrasting colour to emphasize one area of the picture over another.
The same can be done with composite deck boards. The many decking colour options provide limitless deck options. Creating not only an outdoor room to be enjoyed but a work of art to enjoy.
Decking colour options can also be used to reduce the heat of composite decking.
I have the joy of raising four kids. As each one progresses in elementary school, they come to me with the most brilliant ideas they have learned. In particular, black is hotter than white. To the extreme that they asserted that they do not need to put on a jacket on when going outside in winter because they are wearing a black shirt.
The same is true with composite decking. The darker the colour, the hotter the decking. Lighter the colour, the cooler in the sun. Simple science.
TimberTech Pro Whitewash Cedar™ is an example of a lighter, almost white composite decking, that is cooler in the sun. Being lite and white, it helps to reduce the heat of the deck board.
But we don’t all want white decking. That’s a little too extreme.
TimberTech is still there for you. They make it easy by highlighting their cooler deck boards. Helping you to quickly choose the deck boards that will work best in the sun. TimberTech Azek’s entire Harvest Collection® is labelled as a cooler decking option.
Of their Vintage Collection®, they recommend Coastline®, Weathered Teak® and Cypress® as cooler deck boards. All three are lighter deck boards, especially when compared to Dark History, its name telling the story.
For both the Vintage Collection® and Harvest Collection®, it is not only the colour that is making the difference in temperature but also the material. Made with a PVC core, it heats up less than composite decking containing wood. PVC has lower heat retention. Making the decking cooler to the touch.
Speaking of decking material and design.
Composite Decking Cooler by Design
Like TimberTech, taking it to an entirely new level of cooler deck boards by design is MoistureShield composite decking. Not only has MoistureShield innovated composite deck boards that will not be damaged by water. The number one destroyers of decks worldwide. They have also invented CoolDeck® Technology.
“Helps create more comfortable outdoor living environments by reducing heat by up to 35%”CoolDeck® Technology
By design, they are cooler than other composite decking of similar colour. Allowing you to enjoy your deck more with bare feet in the summer.
Unfortunately, just like TimberTech and all composite decking in fact, are still limited to lighter colours. MoistureShield decking with CoolDeck® Technology is currently limited to three colours, Cathedral Stone, Mochaccino and Cold Brew, which are lighter colours by design. Absorbing less heat, helping to make cooler deck boards.
But the temperature of the decking is not limited to the decking itself. Deck design can make a big difference in how hot the decking will get.
Under Deck Ventilation Will Reduce Decking Boards Temperature
There are many reasons to ensure that there is proper ventilation under your deck. But for our focus, sufficient ventilation will cool down the decking and deck.
This is more helpful with a lower deck, one less than 2′ (0.6m) from the ground. Utilizing the cooling effect of both shade and heat-absorbing ground cover material.
The shade created by the decking naturally makes the air cool under the deck. Proximity to the cool earth or, even better, drain rocks that absorb heat from the midday sun. Creates a cold space below the deck.
Just the cold air under the deck will help cool the deck boards. With the bottom of the deck boards drawing heating out of the deck boards. This works for both wood and composite decking.
But ventilation can do even more with this cool air.
The deck’s side ventilation helps to push this cool air out from under the deck up through the gaps between the deck boards. Creating a natural air conditioner. With the hot air around the deck squeezing the cool air under the deck. Pushing the air out between the gaps between the deck boards. Cooling the deck with cool air from under the deck.
Deck Shade Lower the Temperature of Composite Decking
Of course, the best way to cool decking is with shade. Deck umbrella’s or pergolas are excellent deck cooling options. Remove the burning sun’s glare, and the boards will cool down. Increasing deck enjoyment in the heat of the summer.
You can also cool the decking with a privacy wall on the deck. The deck wall casting shade over the decking, cooling the decking while still allowing you to enjoy the warmth of the sun on your skin. The best of both worlds.
Conclusion of Cooler Composite Deck Boards
I hope this helps you in designing a deck that can be enjoyed all summer long. Regardless of how hot it gets outside, your deck will still call for you to come outside. To enjoy the sun, the breeze and everything your deck has to offer.
But if you need more ideas about how to cool down your deck. Here are 15 Ideas to cool down your deck.