There are over 100 brands of low maintenance composite decking on the market today. These products are composed of different formulas of plastic and cellulose wood fiber. Some building departments require an ESR report before the product is considered approved for use. There is a wide variation in color, texture, profile, and installation techniques. Most composite products are covered by a limited warranty.
Although it doesn't require staining, some composite decking products can fade in color over time. Always follow the installation instructions paying close attention to the spacing requirements. Most systems require special fasteners. Using standard screws will often lead to "mushrooming" as the thread of the screw pulls the material to the surface. Reverse thread composite deck screws will solve this problem. Composite decking can expand and contract in extreme temperatures. Also some composite materials are not approved for use on stairs.
Most composite decking boards are available in 12', 16', and 20' lengths. These boards are much more flexible than wood. If you hold a 20' piece over your head in the center of the span both ends will probably be resting on the ground. This allows you to bend and curve the decking if desired.
Most composite manufacturers also offer matching railing systems and fascia. Hollow composite decking profiles will require you to cap or cover the ends. Many builders use contrasting colors for railings or a border to make the deck more visually interesting.