Selecting the right decking can make all the difference for kids. The right decking making the deck their favourite place to play and hang out. To enjoy the outdoors with you while sipping ice tea from their sippy cup.
The best decking for kids has 7 qualities.
- Doesn’t splitter.
- No painful, snagging screws or nail heads.
- Excellent traction.
- Resistant to stains.
- Doesn’t grow mould or mildew.
- Durable lasting through their childhood.
- Frees up quality time with less maintenance.
Composite decking includes all these characteristics and more, making it an excellent choice for families on their decks.
Composite decking is no longer the new kid on the block. Since Trex introduce the world to composite decking in 1996 there has been thousands of composite decks built. Of which I have had the privilege to build a few.
Now with over 20 years of use and a ever expanding list pros and cons of composite decking it is a good option to consider if you have young children.
After years of working with composite decking and being the happy father of 4 kids myself, I would like to share 7 reasons why composite decking is good for kids.
1. Decking that does not give Kids splinter.
I have had many slivers working with wood all day. But for young sensitive hands and feet, it just seems more painful. The crocodile tears as you try to pull them out. Which my wife is better at than I.
But with composite decking, there are no slivers.
You kids can run around barefoot on the deck all day and never get a sliver. Even your young toddler can safely crawl on their knees without getting splinters.
Caution, One thing that decking is not, is cool.
Especially on their little bare feet.
Be careful in the summer heat to test the decking with the back of your hand before setting your toddler down. Decking, especially composite, can get hot in the sun. Some composite decking is cooler than others, but all can get hot in the sun.
2. Decking Without Nails or Screw Head to Snag Your Kids Socks.
After splinters is nail popping that makes a deck painful for young kids.
Composite decking installed with hidden fasteners has no screw or nail heads to trip or cut their feet.
Eliminating socks from getting ripped while running around the deck. Yes, there will be running.
With both cortex plugs and biscuit or clip fasteners, your deck will not only look better but be safer for your kids to enjoy.
3. Decking with Traction to Minimize Kids Slipping
Now, this is not universal. Some composite decking has better traction than others. Click the link to read a complete discussion of decking traction. The good, the bad and the ugly.
A quick note, is Zuri decking has exceptional traction, along with many other PVC decking boards.
But even a more economical option like Trex provides decent grip.
Overall most composite decking will reduce slips on and falls on the deck.
4. Pick Decking That Will Not Stain from Your Kids Accidental Spills
Can’t speak for your kids, but mine love to see how much mustard or ketchup they can squirt on their buns.
All this squirting at times gets on the decking.
With capped composite decking, there is nothing to worry about.
You can easily wipe up the barbeque sauce with a damp cloth. Nothing fancy, just a quick wipe, and you are back to enjoying yourself.
Most quality composite decking like TimberTech is even warrantied against staining if you clean it off within 7 days.
The best for Stain Resistance is Zuri decking. Which gives you a full thirty days to clean up that spill your kid made. That is a whole other level of stain resistance.
Word of caution. Spray suntan lotion on your kids off the deck.
Not sure what it is, but sunscreen can stain composite decking. So lather up the kiddies inside or in the yard. Just not on the deck.
5. Decking that is Safe for Kids Without Mildew or Mould.
Not only does mildew and mould make your decking slippery it is also dangerous for toddlers. Not to mention ugly.
- Respiratory Problems
- Neurological Symptoms
- Skin & eye Irritation
as possible effects of mould on children. Definitely, something to avoid if possible.
Composite decking does exactly that. Capped composite decking has almost a zero chance of mould or mildew growing on the decking.
Regardless of what they lick or touch on the deck, with composite decking mould is not be one of them.
6. Decking that Lasts as long as Your Kids (Well Almost)
I really hope your kids outlast your deck. Even if it Azek PVC or Fiberon composite Concordia. Which are warranted to last 50 years.
But it is nice knowing that while the kids are young that your deck will not need to be replaced. Believe me, with 4 kids, I know there are a million other things you will need to spend your money on.
Even without going with the high-end decking, almost all quality capped composite decking will last 25 years or more. By that time, they will be old enough to help you build a new deck for the grandkids, but I am getting ahead of myself.
7. Less Maintenance equals more time with kids
As much as you don’t want to need to replace your decking while raising your kids, you don’t want to maintain it either.
Low maintenance decking like composite only requires a wash. No time-consuming sanding and staining. Now that’s a real-time saver.
“They grow up so fast.”
It gives you more time to spend with your kids while still young and want to hang out with you.
As an added benefit, having little maintenance work will save you money. Not initially as composite is more expensive than wood decking, but you will have more money in the bank after a few times of not having to sand and stain.
If you don’t want to pay for maintenance, but funds are tight. Trex Basic Enhance was designed to compete with pressure-treated wood decking for price. Not quite yet, but getting really close.
With these 7 reasons to choose composite decking for your family’s deck. Safe and enjoyable for the kids.
Here are a few tips to help you make the whole deck safer for your kids.
Making your Deck Safe for Kids
Here are a few things to avoid or protect your kids from on the deck.
Delete Climbing Hazards on the Deck.
The most obvious is the deck railing.
Install vertical pickets or glass railing that young kids cannot climb up.
Avoid horizontal railing designs or wire cables that make good foot, and hand holes for young explore. My youngest thinks he’s a monkey and will climb up almost anything he can. And quickly. Even if you are out with the kids on the deck. If they can climb the railing, they can be up and over in the time it takes to flip the burgers.
Not only can the incorrect railing be dangerous for your kids, but also furniture pushed up against the railing that they can climb up and over the edge.
Remove patio furniture near the edge of the deck. Keep a safe distance between it and the rail. And make sure that your kids cannot push the chair until they understand the risks.
Add a Deck Gate to Limit Play in the Yard
Often overlooked but super helpful is a gate at the top of the stairs. Not only does this stop tumbles down the stairs but it can also limit your kids’ access to the yard. If you have plants in the back yard that they should not be around or simply to let them be outside but out of the mud after it rains.
A deck gate can help to limit where your kid goes while allowing them to enjoy being outside while soaking up some of that helpful vitamin D that we all need more of.
Limit Types of Plants on the Deck with Children.
Decks are wonderful to have a small garden or adding some colour with flowers. But with young kids on the deck and everything goes into the mouth.
Here are two valuable databases to check if you have questions about your deck plants.
Check that all your deck plants are not toxic.
Protect Your Kids from the Deck Grill
The US fire departments report 10 600 grill-related home fires on average between 2014 and 2018, of which 160 involved injuries. As reported by National Fire Protection Association.
This does not include the countless burns that do not include the fire department.
Raising the importance of protecting your kids from the grill on the barbeque.
This can be done in multiply ways.
A grill on the deck separates the kids play in the yard from the grill. Creating a safe grill space while kids can run freely without worry.
On the deck itself, a distinct grilling area can help prevent accidental touching of the grill’s hot surface.
Placing the grill in a bump-out area or a raised portion of the deck is one of 20 suggestions for deck grill placements.
A slightly raised grill area of the deck minimizes play around the grill. As the step give a quick reminder to young minds that that area is off-limits. This also helps to remove smoke from guests’ eyes.
Include Deck Shade to Protect Kids from Extreme Sun in Summer
Lastly, provide shade on the deck.
Small bodies heat up much quicker, and kids can become too hot or burn quickly in the sun. With the decking reflecting the sun’s heat.
A wind wall or deck umbrella can be a perfect solution to allow the kids to cool down in the shade without having to leave the deck.
I find with most south-facing decks that shade improves the enjoyment of the deck for everyone out on it.
Just the other I was talking to a senior couple on their deck. They had the awning extend fully out, shading the deck. Making the summer breeze refreshing while sheltering them from the sun’s glaring rays.
Kids equally enjoy the shade while enjoying time on the deck.