Which is better for an outdoor deck: PVC or composite materials?
When you plan to build an outdoor deck, the first thing to confirm is the choice of deck material. There are many different materials for outdoor decks on the market, and the most popular ones are PVC and composite materials. Which deck material do you think is the best?
Both PVC and composite materials are made from man-made materials. So, if that’s what they have in common, how are they different? Which one is best for your future deck?
Well, no more doubts. This guide will explain the main differences between composite and PVC flooring. So you can choose the best option for your next outdoor building project.
Table of Contents
What are wood-plastic composite materials (WPC)?
Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) is an eco-friendly material comprised of polymers and wood fibers. EVODEK composite decking is manufactured using a patent-protected formula and an innovative dual-screw extrusion method. It has the appearance and texture of real wood and outperforms other decking materials.
EVODEK has utilized Color Streaking and 3D Wood Grain Technology for the first time on uncapped WPC products. HDPE composites are more durable and stiffer than LDPE composites. Various brands contain varying amounts of wood and plastic.
Depending on the ratio of wood fibers and the number of meshes, the product’s effects and performance will vary. If the final product is made from resins with different performance indicators, its properties will vary. Which are demonstrated primarily through appearance. Included are bending, compressive, and material properties.
Different formulation additives will not only alter the appearance and texture of the final product. bending, compressive strength, and the given material Change the chemical properties of the product. The effects of anti-aging, UV resistance, oxidation resistance, fading resistance, waterproof performance, fire resistance, and adhesive coupling performance, among others, vary.
We utilize fifty percent poplar wood fiber, thirty-eight percent HDPE, and twelve percent additives. Our composite material is resistant to UV rays and retains its color in warm climates.
The plastic component of composite decking makes it more water- and insect-resistant than natural wood. Additionally, you have more style options, as you can choose the color and wood grain to match your home’s aesthetic.
What does PVC decking consist of?
PVC is made from man-made materials, just like composite. However, PVC decking is not a combination of wood and plastic. It is composed solely of plastic. Similar to composite, it is designed to reduce the problems associated with wood. For instance, mold and insect infestations.
PVC can be made to resemble pricier wood decking. Examples include redwood, IPE, and mahogany. The plastic construction makes it simple to clean. This material can be pressure-cleaned without causing splinters.
Capped composite decking vs uncapped composite decking
Composite and PVC decking can be capped or left without a cap. The least expensive option is decking without a cap. However, if it is not properly maintained, it is more likely to become stained and grow mold.
The hard shell of capped composite decking provides protection. Capping is mandatory. It is bonded to the core during manufacturing. Your deck will be more durable and functional. Many caps are UV-resistant. This prevents sun-fading of decks.
This is essential to keep in mind when deciding between various decking options. Comparing PVC decking without a cap to composite decking with a cap, or vice versa, would not be fair.
Which is better: composite or PVC materials?
Before addressing their differences, let’s compare composite and PVC decking. Both materials are inexpensive, simple to maintain, durable, resistant to water, insects, and scratches, and available in a variety of attractive colors.
Popular decking materials include composite and PVC decking of superior quality. Their similarity demonstrates this. They should not be compared. Consider instead which option meets your needs.
The benefits of composite materials
Because of its appearance, people have always favored natural wood. In contrast, composite decking has consistently improved in appearance over the past few decades. Now available is composite decking that is durable and appears to be made of wood.
First, composites are more durable than PVC. Composite decking has a more natural appearance. These decks are also less likely to slip than plastic decks due to the wood grain. Therefore, if you are constructing a deck around a pool, you should consider the following. Especially if there are also young children running around.
Temperature fluctuations cause the expansion and contraction of PVC decking. This decreases the structure’s stability. However, because wood fibers make composite decking more rigid, they will not expand and contract as much in direct sunlight as plastic decking.
Composite material appears more authentic, is less slippery, and warps less than PVC.
The benefits of using PVC material
Reusability is the first significant advantage of PVC decking. A composite deck must be disposed of in a landfill after at least 25 years of use. Plastic decks, on the other hand, can be refinished or recycled, giving them a second chance at life after their long service life has expired.
PVC is also advantageous because mold cannot grow on it. We’ve already stated that neither PVC nor composite supports mold growth. The clear winner in this category is PVC, as composite still contains wood. Mold and mildew have nowhere to grow because there is no organic matter.
Additionally, PVC is lighter than other materials. This makes it easier to move and work with, allowing it to be installed in virtually any location and at any height.
How to install PVC trim?
As we’ve described above, PVC is a popular high-performance material, so it’s perfect for exteriors, including trim, siding, and trim. But how to install PVC trim boards? Installing PVC trim is similar to installing composite decks, but easier. This is because PVC trim is lighter and more flexible. So it’s a great low-maintenance, moisture-resistant option for your project.
Cut PVC trim to size
You can cut PVC trim and PVC molding using the same tools used for wood and composite decks. The rigid blade is great for cutting wood and PVC. You can also use power miter saws and circular saws to cut PVC trim.
Follow the same cutting process as for composite decks:
- Measure twice
- Mark your cut with a speed square
- Cut with a saw
If there are rough edges after cutting, you can sand them to get a smooth surface. Several factors can cause rough edges on PVC decking, so check these before your next cut.
- Excessive friction
- Poor board support
- Worn or improper tools
Installing PVC trim boards exterior
Fastening PVC trim to framing is as easy as fixing composite decking. You can easily fasten PVC trim using a blunt head, full round head corrosion-resistant nails or screws, or use fasteners for PVC trim for a seamless finish.
When you install your PVC trim, try to hide the cut ends as much as possible. Doing so can give your PVC decking a more sophisticated look. You will also need to double-check that all the joints are installed together before you install them.
When you are ready, follow these steps to fasten the PVC trim.
- Use 2 fasteners per frame
- Install additional fasteners for decks greater than or equal to 12 inches (not more than 8 inches on center)
- Install fasteners within 2 inches of each board end
- Place 2 fasteners on each side of the board joints
- All fasteners must be secured to sturdy framing members.
It is important to note that PVC also expands and contracts with temperature changes. Therefore, consider this when fastening PVC trim. Allow at least 1/8 inch of clearance for every 18 inches of PVC trim or molding.
Gluing the trim on PVC decking
Gluing the trim is a unique advantage of PVC deck boards. This is something that wood decking and composite decking do not have.
First thoroughly clean the surfaces to be glued and make sure the trim joints are in full contact. When joining two pieces of PVC decking, a water-based cement adhesive needs to be applied to both ends and then they are clamped to dry. Typically, PVC deck boards take up to 24 hours to fully cure.
Please contact us
Since we’ve been in business for nearly 22 years, we know a thing or two about deck construction. Please contact us if you have any questions about composite decking materials. In addition, we provide composite decking free samples.