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What Is Composite Tongue and Groove Decking?

November 08, 2021

Tongue and groove decking explained

Of all the types of decking available to homeowners today, one of the more interesting types of decking is tongue and groove decking. While typically used on the porch boards, these wood or composite decks can also be used to build outdoor space decks. 

Two objects are joined together by the tongue and groove profile method, which has been used for centuries in cabinetry and porch flooring. While there are different techniques for this method, it basically refers to any lumber that has grooves along one edge and ridges along with the other.

Tongue and groove decking refers to boards of wood or composite decking that have a groove along one edge. There is a long notch in the side of the dream deck and a protrusion on the other edge, known as a tongue and groove.

The tongue and groove profile is cut to fit snugly into the groove of the adjacent plank, and both the tongue and groove are cut to fit the entire length of the floor. This allows the planks to be locked together like a jigsaw puzzle to form a flat surface.

The goal is to create an attractive, solid surface that allows for a more stable tongue and groove installation structure while having the appearance of natural wood throughout the surface. The tongue and groove board design makes it ideal for many applications and it is particularly popular in the porch flooring industry. It can be used for decking but is often reserved for covered porches and small outdoor patios.

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Types of Tongue and Groove Decking

Despite the popularity of the Tongue and groove system, it can be difficult to find when you are looking for full-size decking boards. It is also somewhat limited from a material standpoint. That's why Tongue and groove decking is available in both natural wood and composite decking options.

Tongue and groove decking is most commonly available in pressure-treated decking, followed by cedar, redwood, etc. The best are woods such as Ipe.

These woods vary in cost and availability, with pine and spruce usually being the least expensive, while Ipe, a neotropical hardwood known for its resistance to insects and weathering, is the most expensive.

WPC tongue and groove decking are made of composite material. The composite decking is formed in different sizes and shapes by means of molds at the time of production. As a result, WPC tongue and groove decking has tighter joints and eliminates the need for manual handling of tongue and groove in wood decking.

WPC tongue and groove decking often use some wood fibers to give it the look and feel of natural materials. The most common synthetic materials include recyclable plastics, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) polymer resins, etc. The cost of tongue and groove decking made from these materials will fall somewhere between using pine decking and Ipe trim boards.

The advantages of composite decking include durability and uniformity. Natural wooden decking, such as pine decking, can warp during installation and require correction, whereas WPC tongue and groove connection will not absorb moisture or warp.

Another advantage of composite tongue and groove decking made from recycled plastic or recycled polymers is the "green" use of resources. Composite tongue and groove decking does not contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, and it is also effective in disposing of household waste such as plastic, which helps to protect the bad environment in which we live.

Although the most common use of Tongue and groove decking is for porch decorative panels, roofs and interior ceilings can also be constructed using tongue and groove wood decorative panels. For the rustic style of a home or cabin, standard width tongue and groove decking are applied to the ceiling in place of gypsum wallboard or other traditional materials.

Tongue and groove roof trim boards are a more specialized material and are not commonly found in most building supply stores. It is typically used in all-wood structures, such as timber frames or logs, and is used to create an all-wood look and feel. Tongue and groove roof trim panels are usually made of thicker than standard materials, ranging from 2" to 4". Tongue and groove roof trim panels may have two sets of grooves with corresponding mortises and tenons in the material.

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