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Is composite decking better than vinyl decking?

February 08, 2023

Wood has long been the most common decking material. But as alternatives to wood, composite decking materials and PVC materials are becoming more popular every year. It’s easy to see the reason for their popularity, as they require less maintenance and last longer. In addition, they may even be cheaper than a wooden deck in the long run when maintenance costs are taken into account.

What is vinyl decking?

For those who are new to synthetic materials, it is common to think of vinyl decking and PVC decking as decorative materials. When comparing the pros and cons of different deck-building materials, you will probably hear PVC decking referred to as “vinyl” most of the time. While they are both made of synthetic materials, this is not the case. They are very different. Vinyl decking is a thin, rollable “membrane” that is distributed over a plywood floor and heat-sealed in place.

Vinyl decks are used to keep water from getting under the surface of the deck. It is more like a protective film than an actual decking material. You can’t build a solid structure out of vinyl decking that can’t hold its own weight. It can only be used for a waterproof seal if you put it on top of something stronger.

capped composite decking

The difference between PVC and vinyl deck

PVC decking is made of high-strength plastic and may have foam added to make it both strong and lightweight. You can build an outdoor deck with PVC trim boards just like you would with wood, WPC material, or aluminum.

Outdoor decks cannot be made from vinyl trim boards. On the other hand, a vinyl trim board is a rolled material that can be used to protect the deck when waterproofing is needed. Therefore, you can frame a deck with PVC trim boards, but you can’t do the same thing with vinyl “trim boards”.

What is PVC decking made of?

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a strong plastic that is used to make PVC decking. PVC decking is also scratch and stain resistant, and it doesn’t require as much maintenance as wood. It comes in many different colors, textures, and shapes.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PVC Decking

When considering PVC decking materials, it is important to consider the pros and cons. Then you can determine if you need to use this decorative material.

Advantages of PVC decking. It is effective in preventing mold or fading of the deck, and it will not be corroded by pests. PVC is easy to care for because it does not require painting or staining. Foams are also used to make PVC decking, which makes it lighter and easier to move around during installation. Many companies that manufacture PVC also offer long warranties, which can be an important factor. Be sure to read the warranty on any decking product to ensure that important things are covered, such as staining, fading, and structural damage.

Disadvantages of PVC decking. PVC decking is usually more expensive than similar composites made by other companies and of the same quality. PVC is known to discolor when used with rubber or PVC products, such as welcome mats. Most manufacturers warn against using them together.

Finally, composites are often made from a higher percentage of recycled materials than PVC, which is usually made from new materials. If lowering your carbon footprint is important to you, check with the manufacturer you are considering to see if they say they use recycled materials.

What is the difference between PVC and Composite Decking?

The main difference between composite decking and PVC decking is how they look. Composite usually looks more like wood than the wood itself. PVC, on the other hand, looks more like it is made of plastic. But there are many other differences between the two that are worth pointing out.


What is the cost of PVC decking? It depends on the quality of the material, so there is no simple answer. Some materials are more weather resistant than others, and the price of PVC decking in particular can vary greatly.

But in general, composite decks can range from $4.50 to $13 per square foot. And PVC decking averages between $10 and $15 per square foot.


Decking can have a long or short lifespan, depending on the quality of the material and how it is made. In most cases, the average lifespan will be the same as any warranty that comes with the product, but it’s important to know what the warranty is. If you are looking for a product with a good warranty that will last a long time, most composite deck boards will last 15 to 30 years. Both of these decking materials will last longer than a treated wood deck. This is one of the most important things to consider when deciding to use wood decking and composite wood decking.


Both PVC and composite decking are easier to care for than wood. both PVC and composite should be swept or rinsed from time to time to remove dust and debris. This includes cleaning out gaps between deck boards and cleaning up any spills to prevent them from becoming contaminated. If dirt is difficult to remove, or if there is mold growth, you may need to use a soft bristle brush and soapy water. These two types are very similar in the way they need to be cared for.


Both WPC materials and PVC flooring can be made from recycled materials. PVC is a purely synthetic material that can be used over and over again. WPC materials, on the other hand, are usually made from a mixture of plastic and wood fibers that are mixed together using heat and pressure in a process called co-extrusion. Because of this, some composites made using this method cannot be recycled unless they can be easily sent back to the company that made them. On the other hand, most WPC materials are made from recycled materials, which makes them less harmful to the environment.

Easy to assemble

Both products are easy to assemble. PVC is a lighter-weight material, so it is easier to handle on the job site. However, once installed in place, it will have a little more “pop” than the WPC material. Both can be worked with standard woodworking tools. Both will become larger and smaller as the temperature changes and the manufacturer’s instructions should be carefully followed. both PVC and composite materials often have hidden fasteners that give the flooring a more finished, less cluttered look.


Many people who are new to decking may not be able to tell much difference between PVC and composite samples. In general, many composite decking products have a wood-like grain pattern, while PVC products have a more linear grain pattern. However, this is not a strict rule and there are exceptions to both.

PVC tends to have a rougher texture than composite decking materials, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your taste. Finally, both offer multi-tone or “striped” products that are meant to resemble real wood. One company that makes things out of PVC even has a laminated product that some people think looks a lot like wood. Ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and aesthetics do not always differ greatly between these types of products from different companies.

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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