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Is PVC Decking Better than Composite?

Friday, December 01, 2023

PVC decking and composite decking are two of the most popular decking materials on the market today. Although PVC decking boards and composite decking boards have some things in common, they are not the same. Have you thought about whether PVC or composite decking material is better when building a deck in your garden? How are they different? Which one should you choose? We will compare the characteristics of each type of decking board to help you make your choice.

PVC Decking

PVC decking is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a man-made substance. Mostly, it’s used for trim, decks, and fences.PVC is often used for outdoor decks because it’s easy to maintain and lasts a long time. It is also water and insect-resistant, making it a good choice for outdoor areas. On the other hand, PVC decking can be difficult to repair once it is broken.

ProsCons
Versatile color options
Durable
Weather resistant
Mold and mildew-resistant
Real wood looks
Lightweight
Low maintenance
Upfront cost
Low-quality or outdated PVC materials may be slippery or retain heat buildup
PVC-Decking-Better-and-Composite

Composite Decking

Wood plastic composite decking, or WPC decking for short, is often referred to as composite decking. WPC materials are made from a mixture of recyclable plastics and wood fibers. During the manufacturing process, these materials are heated and bonded, then cooled and passed through an extruder, resulting in composite decking boards. Composite decking is available in a variety of colors and sizes as a decorative material for synthetic decking.

Recyclable plastics come from used shampoo and detergent cartridges as well as plastic buckets and bags. The type of wood or plastic used and how well it works depends on the brand of composite decking. In order to keep costs down, many companies that manufacture composite decking use lower-quality recycled plastics and wood fibers.

Therefore, when we choose composite decking, we have to be careful to choose high-quality composite decking. Common manufacturers of guaranteed composite decking are Trex, Timbertech, Fibron, and COOWIN.

Now that you know what composite decking and PVC decking are, it’s time to understand the differences between them.

ProsCons
Versatile color options
Durable
Weather resistant
Mold and mildew-resistant
Real wood looks
Low maintenance
Slip-resistant
UV resistant
Flexible boards require specific substructure installation

Differences Between Composite Decking and PVC Decking

Surface Texture

During the fabrication process, composite wood decking can change the surface and texture of the deck so that it resembles real wood. Those who have used wood decking before will notice that the texture of composite decking boards is similar to real wood. Additionally, composite decking boards offer a frosted surface and a grooved surface that wood decking does not.

PVC decking is a man-made deck trim material in the same way that composite wood decking is. As such, PVC is also available in a faux wood grain finish and a grooved finish. However, because PVC decking is made entirely of plastics such as poly-recorded vinyl, it has a more pronounced plastic texture.

That is, after observing the texture of PVC decking and composite wood decking surfaces. We can tell that both of these common deck trim materials have a variety of surface textures to choose from.

Appearance or Aesthetics

You can buy wood decking made from PVC and composite materials. Most homeowners prefer this look for their decks because it looks like natural wood decking. Many people prefer the natural look of wood because they want the deck to blend in with the rest of the natural surroundings of their garden.

Even though PVC has a wood grain style, it still looks fake because it is made of 100% plastic. Composite decking, on the other hand, is made up of wood fibers and other materials. These materials make the composite decking material look more natural and therefore better looking than PVC decking.

If you want your new deck to look like real wood and you plan to build it, then you should consider buying composite decking boards.

Care and Maintenance

Easy maintenance and upkeep is one of the biggest advantages of composite decking and PVC decking. Unlike wood decking, both types of decking do not require painting, sanding, or sealing. When there are marks on PVC or composite decking, they can be easily wiped off with mild soapy water.

Wood decks require regular maintenance work every two years. The cost of each maintenance visit can range from a few hundred to a thousand dollars, depending on the condition and size of the wood decking. Composite decking and PVC decking, on the other hand, are the same in terms of maintenance.

Both decking materials are low maintenance and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on them. To maintain the appearance of PVC and composite decking, all you need to do is clean it regularly with hot soapy water and a soft bristle brush.

Composite-wood-decking

Expansion and contraction

Composite decking is superior in terms of board expansion and contraction. Because the composite decking material contains wood fibers, the planks are stiffer. This means they are less likely to shrink and expand when the temperature changes.

On the other hand, PVC decking isn’t as hard, which means it’s more likely to expand and warp when it gets hot. If the weather is very hot or cold where you live, composite wood decking may be the best choice for you.

Environmentally Friendly

One of the most important things that many people look for when picking out an outdoor deck is whether or not the deck material is environmentally friendly. In other words, as deck manufacturers strive to use recyclable materials, the more environmentally friendly PVC and composite materials become.

When determining how environmentally friendly a material is, it’s important to consider how easy it is to recycle. In this regard, PVC decking is superior to composite decking materials. composite materials are made up of wood and plastic that cannot be separated without special tools, making them difficult to recycle.

PVC decking, on the other hand, is made entirely of plastic and is therefore easy to recycle. However, it is important to remember that PVC decking is not always reusable. This largely depends on the plastic used to make the PVC deck.

Composite-wood-decking-1

Weight

PVC decking is lighter than solid composite decking because solid composite decking requires a stronger frame to support it. This means that the subframes require more material and the centers of the joists must be closer together.

However, some composite decking manufacturers also produce hollow composite decking. hollow composite decking boards are much lighter in weight. PVC trim boards and hollow composite decking weigh about the same. But for the most part, PVC decking weighs less.

Safety

When buying an outdoor deck, you should always consider safety. Wood and other types of decks are not always safe because people can slip and fall on them. There is also the potential to injure pedestrians if the deck boards chip or buckle.

In wet environments, composite decking is better than PVC decking and wood decking. Composite decking board boards have non-slip properties. In addition, many different types of composite wood decking have a 3D wood grain surface, and these textures increase the friction on the surface of the deck. This increase in friction reduces the likelihood of pedestrians slipping. As a result, 3D wood grain surfaces not only look better, but they also increase the safety of the deck.

In addition, some composite decking manufacturers offer deck boards with a grooved surface. Composite decking boards with grooved surfaces have better anti-slip properties. You don’t need to worry about slipping even in rainy or snowy weather. Also, composite decking with grooved surface can give you a different style of deck design.

If you live in an area with a lot of rain service, then composite decking boards may be the best and safest choice. It makes sense that safety is one of your biggest concerns when it comes to decking. In this case, composite decking is the best option.

Multi-Level-Deck-5

Lifespan

PVC decking lasts longer than other deck trim materials. That’s why it’s produced entirely from synthetic materials.PVC decking has excellent resistance to rot and weathering. Some high-quality PVC decks last up to 50 years.

While composite decking has a lower lifespan than PVC decking, it is also much longer than wood decking. While a properly maintained and cared for wood deck will last 10-15 years, composite decking can last up to 30 years or more.

Which is Cheaper, Composite Decking or PVC?

Many people who own their own homes want to save money when remodeling their homes. For this reason, we recommend using composite decking material, which is a great option that doesn’t cost much.

For common deck trim materials, pressure-treated wood decking is the cheapest option. But wood decking requires regular maintenance work, which can cost roughly a few hundred dollars per job. Low-maintenance composite decking and PVC decking, on the other hand, have virtually no maintenance costs. Combined with the fact that both decks last much longer than wood decking, composite decking and PVC decking are more cost-effective than wood decking.

In turn, composite decking costs less than PVC decking. Therefore, when it comes to inexpensive but high-quality wood decking, composite decking is probably the best choice. However, it is important to remember that price usually represents quality. The price of decorative decking will depend on which brand you buy from and how good they are.

Multi-Level-Deck-1

Both Brand and Quality Are Important

Brand is one factor that can change the price of plastic and PVC. Many well-known PVC brands produce different grades of PVC decking, and companies such as AZEK, TimberTech, and others also offer products at different price points. Since the quality of PVC decking varies from one line to the next, the range of prices per square meter of cost is greater.

Of course, the better the product, the more expensive it is. In other words, you cannot compare high-quality PVC with standard composite decking and vice versa. Better composite decking is more expensive than regular PVC. Common brands of high-quality composite decking are Trex, Fiberon, COOWIN, etc. You need to compare products of the same price range and quality to get a good idea of their value. Nonetheless, you may still need to read online reviews to make up your mind.

Which One Should You Choose?

Both Composite decking and PVC decking have some advantages. There is no doubt that they are more durable than wood. Neither of these decking materials will mold, rot, or crack when wet. Another benefit of installing composite decking and PVC decking is that they don’t require much maintenance and don’t cost much. Since wood is hard to maintain, it costs more than PVC or composite decking in the long run.

Good composite decking does not have the weaknesses of PVC decking. PVC expands and warps when the temperature gets too high. Since composite materials are made from wood, they also expand and contract with temperature changes, but they hold their shape better than PVC. This means that composite decking may be a better choice in hot places.

Barrette-composite-decking

Generally speaking, the natural look of composite decking makes it a better choice than PVC. Some composite decking has a unique grain pattern and texture that makes them look and feel like wood. While some PVC decking also has a wood grain surface, they have a more pronounced plastic texture.

Don’t forget that there is no right answer. Because different outdoor projects have different needs, people look for different types of deck boards. But we’ve found that most homeowners want to choose a deck material that looks great, lasts a long time, and isn’t too expensive. If this sounds like your requirements, we recommend you to choose composite decking material as it fulfills all these requirements.

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