Installing a new deck is an exciting project that adds beauty and function to your outdoor space. When choosing decking materials, WPC and composite decking are two of the most popular non timber options, that while both are composite materials, have distinct differences. This guide looks at the pros and cons of WPC products vs composite to help you determine which is better for your new decking floor.
Before we dive into the detail, we’ve got a range of other decking articles you may find useful here on the site, such as types of plastic decking, and the pros and cons of hollow vs solid composite decking.
What is WPC Decking?
WPC stands for “wood plastic composite.” WPC decking is made from a mixture of recycled plastic and wood particles or fibers. The composition is typically around 60% recycled plastic and 40% wood.
The wood fibers are usually waste materials from other wood processing operations. The recycled plastic often comes from items like milk jugs, carrier bags, and bottles.
Benefits Of WPC Decking
- Low maintenance – Requires less frequent staining or sealing than natural wood
- Durable – Stands up well to weather, moisture, rot, and insect damage. Unlike traditional wood decking, it does not absorb water.
- Stain resistant – The plastic composition resists absorbing stains
- Consistent quality – Maintains consistency from board to board.
- Eco-friendly – Made from recycled plastic and wood wastes
- Wood look – Often mimics the color and grain patterns of natural wood but with no need to sand.
- Affordable – Comparable to or lower cost than natural wood decking
Potential Disadvantages Of WPC Decking
- Can fade to gray tones when exposed to intense or prolonged sun
- Limited color options compared to natural wood varieties
- May be more prone to mold and mildew growth than composite
- Not recommended for structural parts of the deck like support joists
- Can develop small surface cracks over time
What is Composite Decking?
Composite decking is also made from a mixture of wood fibers and recycled plastic. But composite typically contains a higher percentage of wood (60-70%) compared to WPC decking.
In addition to wood fibers and plastic, composite decking also incorporates other additives like binding agents and UV blockers to enhance durability.
Benefits of Opting for Composite Decking
- Low maintenance like WPC, doesn’t require frequent staining or sealing. This results in shorter cleaning and maintenance times.
- Durable and long-lasting – Withstands weathering better than natural wood
- Resists fading – UV blockers help maintain consistent color over time
- Realistic wood look – Mimics patterns and colors of natural wood more closely
- Customizable – Wider variety of color and finish options
- Stain resistant – Doesn’t easily absorb spills and stains
Potential Drawbacks of Composite Decking
- Generally a more expensive option than WPC
- Can experience color fading over time when exposed to constant sun
- Mold and mildew can grow on surface if not cleaned
- May be more prone to damage from impact compared to WPC
- Can’t be worked with traditional woodworking tools
Key Differences Between WPC vs Composite Decking
|60% recycled plastic, 40% wood fibers||60-70% wood fibers, 30-40% recycled plastic + additives|
|Lower cost||Generally more expensive|
|More limited color/finish options||Wider range of color and finish options|
|Lower resistance to mold/mildew growth||Slightly higher resistance to mold/mildew|
|Lower durability, more prone to damage||Slightly higher durability against impact, weathering|
|Closer to the look and feel of natural wood||Look and feel differs more noticeably from real natural wood|
Which Should You Choose for Your Deck?
When deciding between WPC vs composite, consider:
- Budget – Composite costs more upfront
- Aesthetics – Composite offers more finish options
- Durability needs – Composite is slightly more impact/fade resistant
- Environment – Both utilize recycled content
Both WPC and composite offer excellent low maintenance alternatives to natural wood. Choose the option that best aligns with your specific project needs and budget.
Q: Should I choose WPC decking options or composite decking?
A: The choice between WPC (Wood Plastic Composite) decking and composite decking depends on several factors such as your preferences, budget, and specific project requirements. Both types of decking offer advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider them before making a decision.
Q: What are the pros and cons of composite decking?
A: Composite decking has several advantages, including its durability, low maintenance requirements, and resistance to rot, decay, and insects. However, it can be more costly than other decking options, and it may fade or scratch over time.
Q: What are the cons of composite decking?
A: Some of the drawbacks of composite decking include its higher initial cost compared to wood decking, the possibility of fading or scratching, and the fact that it may not have the same natural appearance as wood.
Q: Can I use WPC composite decking for my deck?
A: Yes, WPC composite decking is suitable for both residential and commercial deck projects. It offers the benefits of both wood and plastic materials, providing a durable and low-maintenance decking solution.
Q: What is a deck board?
A: A deck board is a flat piece of material, such as wood or composite, that is used to construct the surface of a deck. It is typically installed horizontally and provides the main walking area of the deck.
Q: What is wood-plastic composite decking?
A: Wood-plastic composite decking, also known as WPC decking, is a type of decking material that combines wood fibre and plastic. It offers the natural appearance of wood without the drawbacks of traditional wood decking.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of wood-plastic composite decking?
A: The advantages of wood-plastic composite decking include its durability, resistance to rot and insects, low maintenance requirements, and the fact that it is made from recycled materials. However, it can be more expensive than other decking options and may have a limited color selection.
Q: Should I consider WPC decking for my project?
A: If you’re looking for high-quality WPC decking that offers a combination of durability, low maintenance, and a natural appearance, then you should definitely consider WPC as a decking option.
Q: How does composite decking compare to other decking solutions?
A: Composite decking is often considered a superior quality decking option compared to traditional wood decking. It offers better resistance to moisture, pests, and weathering, and it requires less maintenance over its lifespan.
Q: Can composite decking be used for wall cladding?
A: Composite decking is primarily designed for use as a decking surface, but it can also be used for wall cladding in certain applications. However, it’s important to consult with a professional to ensure it is suitable for your specific project.
Key Takeaways When Choosing Decking Material
- WPC and composite are low maintenance, eco-friendly decking options
- WPC contains more plastic; composite has more wood content
- Composite offers more customization but costs more
- Both resist damage, rot, and moisture better than natural wood
- Consider appearance, cost, durability, and environmental impact
- Talk to deck building experts to determine the best fit for your project
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing decking materials, both WPC and composite decking have their advantages and disadvantages. WPC decking, made from a mixture of recycled plastic and wood particles, offers benefits such as low maintenance, durability, and eco-friendliness. It mimics the look and grain patterns of natural wood while being more affordable. However, it may fade to gray tones when exposed to intense sunlight and has limited color options compared to natural wood.
On the other hand, composite deck material, which contains a higher percentage of wood fibers and recycled plastic, offers similar advantages to WPC decking, including low maintenance requirements, durability, and resistance to fading. It also provides a wider variety of color and finish options, mimicking the patterns and colors of natural wood more closely.
However, composite decking is generally more expensive than WPC decking and may be more prone to mold and mildew growth if not cleaned properly. It may also be more susceptible to damage from impact compared to WPC decking.
Both WPC and composite decking are excellent alternatives to traditional wood decking, offering low maintenance solutions that resist rot, moisture, and insects better than natural wood. The choice between the two depends on factors such as budget, aesthetics, durability needs, and environmental impact.
It’s important to consider the specific project requirements and consult with deck building experts to determine the best fit for your deck. Both options provide a good return on investment, allowing you to spend less time and money on maintenance and more on enjoying your outdoor space.
In summary, composite decking is an excellent choice for those looking for a durable and low-maintenance decking solution with a wide range of customization options. WPC decking still offers benefits such as affordability and eco-friendliness, making it a viable option for many projects. Whether you choose composite or WPC decking, both materials are becoming increasingly popular in the world of decking and offer great alternatives to traditional timber decks.
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