Composite decking is a flooring option that resembles real wood but offers superior durability. It consists of wood fibers and thermoplastics and costs less than wood decking, making it perfect for outdoor spaces. Composite decking boards are made of two or more materials—usually wood fibers and some form of plastic—to enhance the look and strength of decks. Composite decking works like wood but has better performance because it avoids the flaws of natural materials. Unlike wood, composite decking does not rot, warp, splinter, require seasonal painting, sealing or staining, fade or stain, or attract termites.
Composite Deck Board Materials
Composite decking boards consist of two or more materials—usually wood fibers and some kind of plastic—to improve the appearance and durability of decks. The wood particles can come from sawdust, wood chips, and wood fiber pieces. The plastic components can be either new or recycled plastic materials.
The plastic materials used in composite decking boards can differ depending on the maker and product line. Some common types of plastic are:
Polyethylene (HDPE or LDPE): This is the most popular plastic in composite decking. It is tough, flexible, and resistant to water and bugs. It can be recycled from milk jugs, shopping bags, and other sources .
PVC (polyvinyl chloride): This is a synthetic plastic that is hard, strong, and easy to color. It does not have any wood fibers and is fully recyclable. It is often used in solid PVC plastic boards or as a cap layer on composite boards .
Polypropylene: This is a thermoplastic polymer that is light, heat-resistant, and stable. It can be recycled from yogurt containers, bottle caps, and other sources. It is often mixed with wood fibers or other fillers to make composite boards.
Some composite decking boards also have other materials, such as rice hulls, bamboo fibers, or chemical additives to enhance performance, appearance, or environmental impact .
Composite Decking vs Wood Decking
Composite decking and wood decking are both common choices for outdoor flooring. They have different pros and cons that you should consider based on your preferences, budget, and maintenance needs.
Composite decking consists of two or more materials, usually wood fibers and plastic, to make a strong and low-maintenance product. It has various colors and styles, and can withstand rot, insects, moisture, and fading. If you are looking for a longer lasting deck material, composite boards will outlast wood decking. Because of this, your initial investment will be larger but you won’t need to replace it as soon as you would with wood deck installation. Also, the newer artificial board materials really simulate the look of natural wood.
Wood decking is made of natural wood, such as cedar, redwood, or ipe. It has a cozy and genuine look that many people like. It is also cheaper than composite decking, and can be customized with stain or paint to suit your style. However, wood decking needs more care than composite decking, such as sanding, staining, or sealing every few years. It is also vulnerable to warping, cracking, splintering, and attracting termites .
What is Ipe Wood?
Ipe wood is a kind of hardwood that comes from Central and South America. It is also called Brazilian walnut, lapacho, or ironwood. It is one of the strongest and most resilient woods in the world, and it has a stunning reddish-brown color with dark stripes.
Ipe wood is popular for outdoor projects, such as decking, fencing, siding, and furniture. It can last for up to 50 years or more without rotting, warping, cracking, or splintering. It is also naturally resistant to insects, fire, moisture, and fading .
Ipe wood is very hard and dense, which makes it hard to work with. It needs special tools and techniques to cut, drill, fasten, and finish. It also has a high cutting resistance and a blunting effect on cutting edges. It can be hard to glue properly, and it may need surface preparation before gluing. It can be stained or painted, but it is not necessary as it has a natural luster .
Ipe wood is more costly than most other types of wood, but it is worth the investment because of its durability and performance. It is also eco-friendly, as it can be recycled or reclaimed from other sources. It is often harvested sustainably from managed forests or plantations .
The decision between composite decking and wood decking depends on your personal taste, budget, and lifestyle. Both options can offer a nice and practical deck that you can appreciate for years to come.
Get a Composite Deck Install Quote Now
If you are interested in having composite decking installed, contact Brocks Building for a composite deck installation quote now.