Is Composite Decking Termite Proof?

Termites are among Australian homeowners’ worst nightmares. Termites, aka “white ants”, are not actually ants, and their food of choice is timber, including wood decking. Their voracious appetites create devastating results.

In Australia, there are over 350 varieties of termite.

Unfortunately, construction materials that are classified “highly termite resistant” are not a good enough guarantee of lifelong protection. In addition, the ongoing maintenance required even for these highly resistant products still uses many hours of spare time and dollars.

How To Avoid Expensive Termite Damage?

Obviously, living in a country where termites cause so much expensive damage, it’s in our best interests to find ways to mitigate this problem, so in this blog we answer the question: Is Composite decking termite proof? And in that case, could it be the decking solution to Australia’s termite problem?

In Australia, some areas are more of a threat than others, and generally, the warmer and more humid it is, the more likely it is you share your zone with termites. Preferably, termites eat soft timbers and rotting wood and are very much at home in moist, warm areas, which is why, in Tasmania, they don’t share the mainland’s termite problem. It is advisable to keep wood log piles, unused deck boards and any loose timber from left over constructions well away from the house and do not store them under your house if it is on stilts.

Let’s be clear. Termites are not the only nasties in Australia who like to eat our homes and timber decking, and other well-known timber destroyers are wood borers, wood wasps, carpenter bees and powder post beetles. But obviously, it’s the termites that are the most popular “timber terrorist”.

Termite-Resistant Or Termite-Proof?

In Australia, the most pest-resistant natural timbers suitable for decking include:

  • Jarrah
  • Blackbutt
  • Red and Grey Ironbark
  • Stringybark
  • Spotted gum
  • Tallowwood
  • Treated Pine (**see note below)
  • Merbau

** And while you may consider treated pine to be the longer lasting of the above options, realise that the termite treatment does not always soak right through to the core, thus enabling a safe haven for our little white timber eaters who will happily munch their way right through the untouched core.

These timbers are considered termite-resistant but not completely termite-proof.

For example, any timber that has been used in close contact with the ground and especially if already undergoing some form of decay, will be become incredibly attractive to termites.

Protecting Your Natural Timber Deck – Over And Over

In conclusion, so-called termite-resistant natural wood is just that – resistant. It’s not termite proof. In addition, even these treated timbers do not last forever and ongoing inspection and treatment is necessary if you live in Australia.

You can get deck layout recommendations and termite barrier info from your local licenced pest controller. But the long and the short of it is to protect your natural wood decking long term, you must continue to maintain it with special paints, sealants and white ant treatments. If you live in a high-risk area, you will need regular professional inspections over the life of the deck. No, that is not cheap, but probably cheaper than having to replace an entire deck long before it should have been necessary due to structural damage.

Still, if you are set on a timber-look deck rather than a metal, concrete, or paved deck, there is another option—and one that beats termites!

Why Don’t Termites Like NewTechWood Decking?

Well, although NewTechWood is manufactured from 60% recycled dense wood fibres (yummy, the termites would ordinarily say), it is also mixed with 35% high-grade recycled HDPE plastics and mixed together with special bonding agents (yucky, the termites now say.) It is then protected around all sides with a special engineering grade polymer with additives with extreme low water penetration and again that termites won’t touch. Using a co-extrusion process this protective shield is heat pressed onto the core creating an impermeable barrier against moisture, ultra-violet, bacteria, and insects like our wood-loving little friends.

So, no, termites do not like composite wood decking. It might look like wood, but it tastes nothing like it and it’s off the menu.

Do Termites Hate All Composite Decking?

Generally, yes, and especially NewTechWood. Since 2004, NewTechWood has been at the forefront of the design and manufacture of wood-plastic composite materials, producing a timber-look product that is extremely hard-wearing, and unappealing to the likes of termites and other enemies of timber. NewTechWood uses sophisticated technology to provide the most advanced capping composite decking material on the market.

Moreover, the extremely durable shield will give maximum protection, with stain resistance, fade resistance and no requirements for oiling or painting – ever. Backed by a 25-year warranty, this system provides a more durable and longer lasting product, which will provide years of enjoyment with less maintenance over the life span of your deck, screening or wall cladding.

If your customers like the sound of something that looks like timber but lasts longer and requires none of the time-consuming and costly maintenance of natural wood, and is the enemy of termites everywhere, feel free to contact our friendly team for more information.

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