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composite decking

Common Outdoor Deck Materials: WPC, wood, and PVC

January 17, 2023

When you plan to build an outdoor deck, one of the most important decisions you must make is which building material to use. In the past, most deck builders used pressure-treated lumber to construct deck substructures, including posts, beams, and joists. Now, there are more materials available for people to build their outdoor decks. The three most common decking materials on the market today are pressure-treated lumber, composite decking material, and PVC material.

Composite decking materials are made from a combination of recyclable plastic and wood fibers, which makes them a durable and low-maintenance option for outdoor decking. They are less prone to cracking and fading than wood decking and are available in a variety of colors and styles. Wood decking materials are a traditional choice for outdoor decks and can be made from a variety of woods, including cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods. Wood decks require regular maintenance, such as staining and sealing, to keep them in good condition. Finally, PVC decking is a low-maintenance option made from synthetic material. It is highly resistant to moisture, rot, and insects and is available in a variety of colors and styles. However, it is much more expensive than wood and composite decking materials.

Composite Decking Materials

Wood Plastic Composite, or WPC for short, is a mixture of wood fibers, high-density polyethylene, and additives and preservatives. Using composite decking material can protect our living environment. This is because it not only reduces plastic waste in our lives but also improves the utilization of forest resources and reduces the cutting of trees. More importantly, WPC material has the advantage of low maintenance and long life, which can improve the resale value of the house.


What are the advantages of Composite Wood Decking?

If you want something that doesn’t require much care, WPC material is the best choice. This material can also look like rare wood, so you get the best of both worlds. one of the advantages of composite decking is that it won’t rot or crack, and it doesn’t need to be stained or covered with anything else to protect it. If you have kids or like to go barefoot, composite wood decking will protect you from getting pinched.

What are the disadvantages of Composite Wood Decking?

WPC decking costs more to purchase than wood. Many composite decking products require joists spaced no more than 16 inches apart. If you have joists spaced 24 inches apart, you will need additional joists on composite decking boards.

Pressure Treated Lumber

Traditional lumber is the most common decking material. Most wood decks are pressure-treated softwoods, the more expensive ones are wood decks such as red pine. The most expensive belong to imported hardwoods, such as teak or IPE, which have a long life span. Most woods need to be treated against rot and moisture to avoid damage during use.

What are the advantages of wood decking?

Natural wood is the best choice when you want to save money, don’t want it to be too complicated, and plan to install the deck yourself. Standard wood decks can be bought at local lumber yards and home improvement stores. Exotic wood, on the other hand, needs to be ordered from a professional lumber dealer. Solid wood decking also looks and feels more natural than other types of decking.

What are the disadvantages of wood decking?

If you don’t want to maintain and service your outdoor deck regularly every two to three years. Then you should try not to choose a natural wood deck. Also, make sure you know how much it will cost to refinish your wood deck over time. When calculating the material cost of a wood deck, you should consider how much it will cost to keep it up over time. Wood decking may also need to be replaced sooner than other types of decking because it can easily rot and break down.

PVC material

PVC material is made of porous polyvinyl chloride. It is also known as plastic or synthetic decking. Some PVC decking is capped, which means a protective crust is added to the surface to make it more resistant to water.

What are the advantages of PVC flooring?

PVC flooring may be a good choice if you want something lighter. PVC flooring will not rot or need polishing, just like wood composites. Some people like the way PVC looks better than other materials. It won’t let bugs, mold, or fade in. PVC looks expensive and is very easy to care for because you don’t have to color or stain it. PVC flooring also uses a foaming agent, which makes it lighter and easier to move around during installation.

What are the disadvantages of PVC flooring?

PVC flooring does not look like wood like natural wood or WPC flooring. On top of that, it has all the same problems as wood flooring. Finally, composite materials are usually made with a higher percentage of recycled materials than PVC, which is usually made with new materials. If lowering your carbon footprint is important to you, check the recycled materials statement of the company you are considering buying from.


WPC MaterialWoodPVC
Lifespan25 years or more15-25 years under decent maintenance30 years
Color StabilityHighly fade-resistantRequires frequent paintingFades easily
Termite ResistanceHighBecomes food for termitesHigh
Surface HardnessResistant to scratchProne to splintering and scuffGets scratched easily
Water-resistanceHighRelies on painting or oiling to resist moistureHigh
Fire-resistanceBfl-s1 fire ratingHigh risk of being litHighly inflammable
Eco-friendlinessRecyclable, made from recycled materialContributes to deforestationWhite pollution
MaintenanceLow-maintenanceRequires frequent, costly maintenanceLow-maintenance
AffordabilityCost-effective in the long runEnds up costing more after several yearsVery expensive
Weather-adaptabilityHighly resistant to elements and weatheringNaturally prone to humidity and heatDeformed easily due to heat
SafetyNon-toxic, 100% safeCarries harmful paintFire-hazardous
author avatar
Galen Content Writer
Galen is a content creator and decorator with five years of experience designing home decor. In his daily life, Galen is constantly on the lookout for the latest, great examples of house design and further optimizes his solutions. Additionally, he writes articles related to outdoor design, interior design, and architectural decorating materials to help brands build more engaging relationships with their audiences.
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