Decking around a fireplace

When is the best time to install your new composite decking?

Spring and summer may seem the ideal times to install new composite decking, but it may surprise you to hear that doing so during the colder winter months does have its advantages. However, there are a few points you need to bear in mind before you embark on your winter decking project.

Fitting composite decking in winter is easier than you think 

Unlike timber decking, wood composite decking doesn’t give into the elements easily, which makes it a lot simpler to install during the winter months. For example:

  • It does not rot or split in cold temperatures, making it easier to handle
  • It is not affected by excess moisture such as rain, snow, or ice; meaning it won’t expand when wet (which could cause issues if fitting timber decking)
  • It does not require time-consuming protective layers, such as varnish or paint, to be applied during installation.

Benefits of installing your composite decking during winter months 

1. Your deck boards won’t be affected by expansion 

Composite decking boards will expand and contract very slightly due to thermal expansion (different to moisture expansion above). This means when it’s warmer in summer, they slightly expand and, in the winter, when colder, they slightly contract. Whilst this is not an issue, it can make it more difficult to install decking during very warm periods of weather, because boards are harder to cut to the right size and measurements can be slightly off.

2. You can minimise damage and disruption in your garden 

Installing new composite decking can mean areas need to be levelled off or dug out. This can often include the use of mini diggers or wheelbarrows which can be harmful to the rest of your garden. However, during the winter months many gardens will be dormant, helping to minimise damage. A winter installation therefore gives your garden the time it needs to recover before spring and summer.

3. It’s often easier to find a decking installer 

The warmer, summer months are a popular time for people to make improvements to their gardens. Therefore, if you choose to employ the services of an installer, rather than fitting your decking yourself, you may find there is an increased demand for quality, skilled installers at this time.

However, waiting until later in the year, will hopefully make it easier to work with the installer of your choice and get the job done to your timescales.

Considerations for installing your composite decking during the winter 

If you decide to install composite decking during the winter, it’s important to plan your project carefully.

  • Firstly, whilst softer winter ground makes it easier to dig holes and pour concrete, try to install your new decking on a dry day. This will minimise mess and make the job a lot easier for everyone involved!
  • Whilst you don’t have to prepare your decking with expensive and time-consuming protective sealants, it’s a good idea to buy the highest quality, solid composite decking you can. The better the quality, the more likely it is to withstand the harsher, colder temperatures without becoming brittle or damaged.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, particularly if they include specific guidance on installing during colder weather. For example, as your composite decking will expand slightly once the weather gets warmer, the correct gap needs to be left between boards during fitting to prevent friction and in extreme cases, buckling, when it warms up.
  • Be prepared! It will most likely be cold and damp while you’re installing your new decking, so wear practical clothing and ensure all the tools you need are close at hand.

If you’re thinking about installing your new composite decking now and would like further advice, call our knowledgeable team today on 01978 667 840 to talk to one of our experts.

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