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Composite Decking or a slab Patio?

I have been asked by my sister on the thoughts of replacing a decking area or replacing with a patio and I have no experience of decking work. There are tenants in her house who have rightly raised concerns about the rotting timber decking so it is down to her to repair/replace, its been down atleast 15 years, in originally what was a small new build garden in North of Bristol that tends to be hemmed in by the fencing and often shady and damp in the fence line shadow. To be honest the garden is probaly no larger than 10m x 3m in total and the exisiting decked area in need of repair approx 3m x 3m 

I had told her maybe not to directly replace with wooden decking but to find a tradesperson or via the agent a tradesperson who could install composite decking, she had been told about Dino Decking has anyone used this or a better alternative, I know Sydenhams etc supply some? https://www.dinodecking.co.uk/products/composite-decking-ash-4m/

Without my knowledge of decking and installing a decent frame for the base, how does the process time and cost wise (i know there are probaly many variables) compare from start to finish versus simply digging out and laying a patio slab area instead once the old decking and base removed? Anyone who does each are you able to share any insight? If there are members north of Bristol (Bradley Stoke) who I can pass contact details on to quote etc then let me know

I had been swaying her to go down the mid-range patio slab route instead for ease of the maintenance in the future, obviously the cost involved in each method is in the back of her mind. I suppose with a composite decking area there is little to do once laid and lasts forever?  

 Many Thanks, Jon

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  • I personally don't like composite, when your cutting it your putting micro plastic in to the environment.

    They say it last for 25 year and its self cleaning, but one of my regulars has had it for a few years and it's already starting to look ratty, also still gets slippy. Oh and it's three times the cost for materials over timber.

    Go for cheap slabs butter together with no pointing, if layed properly should last for 20years or more.

  • I had a composite decking installed 6 years ago.............. Millboard was the make........... really good solid boards, not hollow inside.  Can really recommend them...... we chose a grey wood-effect.  Looks really good...no maintenance needed......... no problem with it becoming slippery with algae or ice in the winter. boards are a bit pricey...... seem to remember a 4 metre board was about £60..... but I'm confident it'll see me out!  The installers used these  unusual screws where the heads disappeared below the surface of the board  which then closed up above the screw head so you couldn't see the screws...... looks really neat.

    Don't honestly think it's worth worrying about cutting it putting micro plastic into the environment.............. this really is infinitesimal when you compare it to other environmental pollutants we're wrecking the planet with. . 

    • Each to there own chap. But for everything little thing we do to environment adds up. I'm not saying I'm a pureist.

      But consider this: I used to drink a lot of Evan water in those blue plastic bottles and re-fill them with tap water. I was finding blue deposit in my skin, then I red and article somewhere that said if we drink from plastic bottles regularly we consume a credit card size of micro plastics every week. So now i will not drink from any plastic container and guess what?; No blue deposit in my skin!

      • Maybe plastic decking boards are the answer to use up recycled plastic, or maybe that is just delaying the problem

        Cheap slabs from Asia ... ships burning bunker-oil, probably the most polluting sort. I have no idea what the answer is I'm afraid ... the big granite blocks lining the paths in my garden came from China because it was a fraction of the price of Cornish granite ... that was before I started to pay attention to the detail.

        I'm reading a book to help me reduce plastic in my life - written by someone who set out to eradicate it from hers. That has made me painfully aware of the size of the nightmare, and how the innocuous is as much of a problem as the obvious. Moving from individually wrapper dishwasher soap tablets to bulk cardboard cartons of powder ... with a plastic spoon in every box. Tin cans lined with plastic, Teas bags with plastic mesh in the "paper" - we never needed any of that "before". Recycled plastic? typically only down-cycled, so food plastic not reused for food but converted into plastics that are not, then, themselves recyclable any further.

        I use no chemicals on our veg patch, but I previously used weed suppressing membrane to cut down the work. All those little frayed off strands of plastic in my veg garden ... getting into the food chain, if not now then at some future point.

        "The single raindrop never feels responsible for the flood"

        • PRO

          Can you give me the title and author of the book please Kris. We are on a never ending quest to reduce single use plastic in our home.

          • Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too
            by Beth Terry

            ISBN: 163220665X

            TBH I thought the author would turn out to be a Preaching Reactionary Hippy and that I would never gets past the first chapter ... actually I really admire what she has achieved, and the problem with the book has actually turned out to be the amount of note taking and "todo" lists that I now need to manage. There are a few photos etc. and, combined with perhaps wanting to write marginal notes or dog ear the pages, a paper copy might be better than Kindle (which is what I ordered)

            She has plenty of anecdotes which lighten the read. e.g. when she first decided that liquid soap, in plastic dispenser bottles, was an environmental problem she decided to make liquid soap from solid cakes ... and all but wrecked several of her best saucepans in the process before deciding that actually good old fashion Bar Soap had been plenty good enough for millennia ... before Marketing got a hold of the opportunity to grossly overcharge us for "liquid soap".

            You might skip her alternatives to Loo Paper :) ( We use WhoGivesACrap.org )


            Who Gives A Crap UK
            We make super-soft, 100% recycled toilet paper, and we donate 50% of profits to build toilets in the developing world. Good for your bum, Great for t…
      • I've been re-using empty pop bottles for years...refilling with tap water. I use them for weeks, usually until a bit of green appears in the bottom :)   If they degraded at the rate of a credit card size piece a week there'd be no bottle left after a month.

        Obviously it's good to consider the environment in what we do but a pinch of salt comes in very handy when reading about the subject on the Internet and elsewhere. 


        • The problem I have with this, as an old codger, is the "unknown". I have lived through numerous disasters where everyone thought it was fine ... until it wasn't. My Father's generation smoked and the Tobacco industry knew the truth and lied to them - for decades.

          Asbestos used for pipe lagging ... and then flat/corrugated sheets ... wonderful! until people working with the materials started dying, Then we got to the point where they government said that removal could only be done with expensive specialist handling ... so the stuff was generally broken up and buried to avoid that cost and hassle. Those sites are a future hazard when some poor unwitting person digs them up ...

          Thalidomide. I was born at that time, my mother's doctor prescribed her Thalidomide but by the grace of god she decided not to take anything unnatural.

          DDT? in fact every horticultural chemical I can remember ... all of them "wonderful" and then found to be harmful.We used to chuck Gramoxone on the paths at home with no protection at all ... (banned in the UK but still widely used worldwide I think? )

          Plastic? Who knows ... plenty that were used for food packaging have subsequently been banned.

          My contemporaries at school had zero dietary issue. One guy hated having sugar on his cornflakes and we thought he was weird. That's it. We all had the constitution of oxen.

          My kids generation? Half of them with problems of one sort or another. Where did that come from in a generation? Environmental is all it can be.

          I have no idea where the problem is coming from. Petrochemicals in cleaning agents? Glyphosate put on Wheat just before harvest to kill the weeds and make the harvest "easier" and then immediately mill the wheat into flour? Whilst I think Glyphosate incredibly safe, there is evidence that the bugs in the soil take time to recover, and most of my gut bugs are related to the soil ones ...

          We buy Organic. Actually its very hard to do 100% ... when we eat out? or with friends? We aren't fanatical about it, my wife and I don't have any dietary related problems, but we have no idea where the danger might be coming from so we are taking precautions where we can. I'm happy to wear a mask in public - heck, if we share a car with friends all of us wear a mask ... why wouldn't we? I don't care if it is uncomfortable - bringing Covid into the household, and elderly relatives, I absolutely want to avoid, best as I can.

          If I needed a flask for water at work I would use a metal one, not reuse a plastic one that may well deteriorate with use, and the temptation to continue using it until it is completely worn out ... and, based on my many years of such thing, "Who knows for sure?" I've seen plenty of instances of "Big Company might well be lying to us" ... I had three VW Blue Motion cars in succession in my quest to be Eco until I found I had been stitched up by VW Diesel-gate

          <Steps down off soap box ...>

          • PRO

            Thanks Kris, I will give it a read!

  • If you have a choice of deck or paving, have paving.  Decking is best suited to above-ground situations where it's out of the damp.  If you use composite it would have to be on composite bearers to last.  Price roughly comparable, depending on the details.

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