High Temperature Performance of Composites


It is a little known fact that the structural strength of bamboo or wood plastic composite decking can be severely affected by temperatures over 40°C (104°F). Such conditions can cause a reduction in the normal strength of composite decking by up to 50%, or greater if temperatures rise even higher. This should be a genuine cause for concern to any one with a deck, even they only experience such temperatures during summer. The summertime, where the deck typically sees the most use, is also the time where these thermal issues have the greatest adverse effect, possibly resulting in failure of the deck and injury.

Currently in Australia there is no widespread awareness of the potential risks amongst engineers and deck designers. In the U.S.A. however, testing for thermal effect (the effect of heat and cold) on composite decking is required by the U.S. standards. This is why almost all composite decking sold in the U.S.A. is specified at shorter spans of around 12 inches (300mm) rather than the normal 16 inches (400mm). In Australia, the normal span is 450mm (18.0″). Spans recommended by a manufacturer must perform effectively at all temperatures for that location, (not just average room temperature), otherwise the span must be adjusted to suit the worst possible scenario.

ULTIM8 Deck is designed to maintain its structural integrity and performance over a 450mm (18.0″) span in high temperatures up to 52°C (125°F) over extended periods of time. ULTIM8 Deck has been tested to perform to standards as required by the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for flooring. Compliance to the normal timber decking standards is not sufficient to ensure the safety of users, as timber decking is not affected by temperature variations in the way that composite decking is. The BCA, which is building code law, requires that thermal effects (temperature effects) must be accounted for when designing a deck span.

Compliance with regulations for you and your family’s long-term safety is foremost in our thinking.

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