One of the first questions we get asked by homeowners considering installing composite decks and patios is always: is composite decking hot? The answer to that question has changed vastly over the years, so we don’t blame you for wondering or being confused about what’s correct.
Well, we’re here to tell you the honest, up-to-date truth.
This patio guide for homeowners provides everything you need to know about keeping composite decking cool so you can enjoy your outdoor space with pain-free bare feet all summer long.
What Is Composite Decking?
Natural wood decking used to be a popular choice for patios and decks among homeowners. But now, a more modern decking material has made its way to the forefront of the decking industry. Composite decking boards are inexpensive and durable building materials that stay cooler, resist fading, and make an excellent alternative to traditional wood decking.
Composite decking is also:
- Environmentally friendly
Early composite decking boards are known for their notorious heat retention, so many homeowners still ask, “does composite decking get hot?” But things have changed in recent years when it comes to the manufacturing of composite boards, with composite decking offering more heat resistance than a traditional wood deck, which will retain heat longer.
Do Composite Decks Get Hot? 🥵
In the past, the surface temperature of composite deck boards was known to get pretty hot in the sun and summer heat, similar to any other deck material, such as:
- PVC decking
- Stone pavers
But most composite decking boards these days are built with heat resistance in mind. They’re made with materials that reduce heat absorption and ensure your sunny deck stays cooler and comfortable for your kids’ scurrying bare feet.
4 Factors Affecting the Temperature of Your Composite Deck
Everyone knows the pain of burning the soles of your feet on hot decking. Ouch 🔥👣😩 It’s seriously no fun. And although you can find heat-resistant composite decking on the modern market, composite boards can still get fairly hot due to a few factors:
1) Direct Sunlight Exposure ☀️
Of course, direct sun exposure will make your composite decking get hot. Your deck is a flat surface that reflects sunlight better than things like grass or dirt. Thus, the more direct sunlight that covers it, the hotter your deck will become. No matter the material, they will get hot if your deck boards sit in direct sunlight.
2) Decking Color 🌈
Another factor that impacts surface temperatures in outdoor spaces is the color of the composite decking boards. Darker colors (significantly in direct sunlight) will absorb heat faster and for a more prolonged period than a lighter shade. In many cases, lighter composite decking colors can even have a cooling effect.
3) Decking Materials 🧱
What kind of wood composite decking you install will also make all the difference in heat levels. Like very dense wood decking materials, outdated composite deck boards can get incredibly hot, while more modern systems stay cooler and retain much less heat.
Many great composite decking systems are available today from top brands in the industry. Do your research or ask your neighbors or a trusted contractor for recommendations and reviews of popular options to find the best one to use in your deck design. Look for heat-resistant composite decking that also offers slip resistance, especially if you’re planning on sitting poolside.
Examples of reputable decking manufacturers include:
- TimberTech Decking
- MoistureShield Composite Decking
- Trex Decking
- CertainTeed Decks
4) Outside Temperature 🌡
Can composite decking get hot simply due to the surrounding air? Yup, it sure can! Composite decking installed in hotter climates can be impacted by the hot air in the outdoor living area and retain heat for much longer than in temperate locales.
For example, a composite deck might still absorb heat from the sun on a colder day, but it will cool down much more quickly than composite decking in hot, humid areas. When ambient air temperatures are elevated for prolonged amounts of time throughout the day, it helps your deck to stay hot until nightfall.
Tips to Cool Down Composite Deck Boards 😎
A composite material can get hot under certain circumstances. Still, there are several simple ways to reduce the surface temperature of your composite decking, so you can take advantage of your outdoor oasis without worrying about any painful, burnt soles.
Here are some great examples of how to keep your new deck cool, so give them a try:
- Choose the right decking material – Natural wood decking is known to hold heat for far longer than modern composite decks or PVC decking boards. But deck boards with a PVC core can still become damaged, discolored, cracked, and brittle because of sun exposure and extended heat retention. Look for composite boards made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) instead of PVC for greater longevity.
- Build shade structures – Another way to keep composite boards cool is to install shade structures like a pergola or covered porch to block impacts from direct sun rays. This will also give you and your family a place to hang out, cool off, and even enjoy some food or drinks on your deck during the hot summer months.
- Select a lighter shade for your deck boards – As we mentioned earlier, heat retention is much higher in darkly colored composite decks. Choose a light shade with a hollow core to help heat dissipate at a faster pace.
- Add trees to your outdoor living space – If your backyard has the space to accommodate it, consider planting trees to provide some natural shade to your deck’s surface.
- Purchase an outdoor rug – Sometimes, keeping your entire composite deck shaded from direct sunlight is impossible. To keep your bare feet protected when traversing those over-exposed areas, consider buying an outdoor rug made from water-proof and weather-resistant materials like:
- Artificial polypropylene
- Install a misting fan – No, you don’t need to be a swanky pool club at a Las Vegas hotel to have some sweet new misting fans installed on your patio and beat the heat. These relatively inexpensive but beneficial outdoor fans are a great tool to keep your deck boards cool — and especially come in handy when you’re cooking by an outdoor kitchen open-flame stove. Choose fixed or portable options from retailers like Amazon or Home Depot to cool yourself off at a reasonable price.
- Add deck ventilation – One option for homeowners who have raised deck structures is a deck ventilation system. Installing vents underneath your deck can improve airflow and circulation, helping to cool down your deck boards much faster.
It’s understandable why many homeowners worry that their composite deck will get too hot to enjoy during the summer. Still, as you can see, there are many ways to combat this issue, ensuring your composite deck is comfortable and safe for use throughout the summer.
Get the Cool, Beautiful Composite Deck of Your Dreams
Have you been considering installing a composite deck but hesitated because you heard the rumor that this material means hot decking all summer long? Now that you’ve taken a closer look at how the surface temperature of deck boards can be swayed and ways to reduce the hot surface of composite decks, we think it’s time for you to reconsider.
At First American, we proudly offer composite decks to our customers that are totally customizable and made will materials that keep cool throughout the summer. We only work with high-quality composite materials from reputable decking companies, including TimberTech and MoistureShield Composite Decking, ensuring your new composite deck is durable, beautiful, and built for barefoot fun.
Contact us to speak with a team member and take your new deck idea from dream to reality today.