Does Composite Fencing Fade?
Published on: Sep 14, 2020
Last updated: Nov 12, 2021
*Please note, this blog post only applies to composite fencing, please click here to read more about fading in composite decking and here to read more about fading in composite cladding*
Old fence panels often need to be treated with a wood cleaner and preservative. This is not the case for Hyperion composite fencing which has been engineered to resist rot and mould. Yet, as it is still exposed to the everchanging British weather, we still often get asked the question if composite fencing has the same fading issues as their wooden alternatives.
Tannins & Fading
Most composite fencing boards on the market will fade in the first 6 months of being exposed to the elements. This is a natural process and is largely due to the way composite materials are engineered.
Hyperion Pioneer fencing is no exception. When the fence panels are manufactured, the 60% FSC certified recycled wood and 30% recycled plastic are combined with natural wood oils called tannins. These are dark brown coloured (they contribute to tea’s colour) and ensure the panels are the same colour throughout. When the fencing is exposed to the elements, particularly rain and wet weather, these tannins will start to leach out of the boards in a process sometimes called ‘extractive bleeding’. As a result, your fencing will look slightly lighter than it did when it was originally installed.
As fencing is perpendicular to the ground, unlike decking, not as much water will sit on the panels meaning that it may take 8 to 16 weeks for the natural wood oils to wash out, slightly longer than it does for Hyperion decking. In some situations, especially if the fencing has been installed in a dry summer, the extractive bleeding process may take as long as 6 months. The colour change is greatest in the lighter colours where the tannins contribute a higher percentage of the original colouration.
To help you make an informed purchase, the below timelines show what your fencing may look like after the tannins have leached out:
What are the Watermarks on My Fencing?
When the tannins start to leach out of the fence panels, marks may appear on your fencing like in the pictures below. You may first notice these tannin marks after a period of rain, especially if the materials have been installed over a dry period. This is nothing to be worried about and should disappear after the boards have been wet and dried several times, for example, after the fence panels have been rained on a few times. Please note that the picture below is what tannin marks look like on Hyperion cladding. A similar mark may appear on fencing.
We understand that you want your outdoor space to look as good as possible, so if you’d like to get rid of the marks quicker, you can wash your fencing with water and let it dry several times. Alternatively, the marks should disappear after 6 months.
After the natural process of extractive bleeding, the fence panels are subject to standard weathering, primarily from the UV rays of the sun. All Pioneer fencing panels contain a UV stabiliser, but will undergo some minor further fading over time.
Composite fencing provides a low maintenance alternative to traditional wooden fencing materials. The Hyperion composite ranges will never need to be stained or treated and hold their initial colour to varying degrees (see initial photo).