PVC Plastic Decking, What is it and should I use it?
Wood plastic composite (WPC) decking is a long established alternative to traditional timber and PVC decking and is virtually indistinguishable from natural wood at first sight.
What is uPVC or Plastic Decking?
uPVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) decking is a great low maintenance solution for almost any outdoor living area. It was introduced to the market in about 2005. Its makeup is different to traditional wood or wood plastic decking. Typically it has been used on caravan parks throughout the UK for a period of time now. The plastic decking unlike wood will not warp or rot as it does not absorb water. It will not need rubbing down or treating with a preservative each year making a highly desirable low maintenance plastic decking.
Being 100% plastic however does carry some drawbacks. It cannot be cut or routed along its length due to its multi chamber design. On a really hot sunny day you can expect a large amount of potentially hazardous expansion, it can also retain heat making it painful if walking on it barefoot, when walking on plastic decking when wet it may even be a safety slip hazard.
Plastic decking is entirely artificial and some more economical priced uPVC decks can look like just plastic. It is also lighter than wood or WPC decking but when taking into account its durability and practicality it makes the plastic decking an option for homes or caravan parks.
Why does uPVC Decking Expand so much?
Linear expansion is a problem, not just for uPVc decking but for all plastics. This is because they are long chain molecules and when these molecules are heated by the sun these molecules stretch out or as we understand they expand.
What is Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) Decking?
It is a man made material made from two main elements and a few smaller additives that come together to produce something unique, independent of the original materials. Teckwood’s composite decking offers improved properties that none of the original materials offer.
By combining 100% FSC certified wood and recycled plastic tops from Fairy Liquid bottles for example (which would have been destined for landfill sites) with colourants we have a decking board that is anti slip, algae resistant, does not rot, warp, splinter and does not need to be painted or sealed to extend its useful life.
It mitigates many of the disadvantages which arise from exclusively plastic decking. Making it the ideal plastic decking for use in gardens, balconies, hotels, schools and commercial areas.
It has been designed for easy installation and by using concealed black electro plated stainless steel installation clips you do not see any screw heads through the surface of the decking, making it the ideal safety decking solution.
Does Plastic Decking Expand?
Everything expands when exposed to natural sunlight or heat and composite plastic decking is no different however due to its composition it is dimensionally more stable and far more rigid than uPVC decking.
Why use Plastic Decking?
The decision of whether to choose traditional timber decking or composite decking boards has been going on for just over a decade.
Initially wood decks were clearly winning the bids until about ten years ago. Then the composite decking materials improved immensely in terms of structure, durability and safety. Now the choice between them both comes down to your budget and personal preferences.
If it’s the natural look that you aiming for, plasic decking is the clear winner.
Teckwood’s composite decking lightens naturally over the first three months as the tannins in the timber fade due to sun bleaching, contributing to the natural feel of the wood. Then the UV stabiliser kicks in to keep your decking bright and colourful for years to come.
Composite plastic decking will last between 25 – 30 years with only the minimum of maintenance a quick jet wash should be enough to keep it clean and dirt free. Designers and Architects love to use composite decking due to its aesthetics and the natural look and feel of the surface.
Changes to regulations around hardwood timber supply and continuity of constant colour have lead to cost increases and have made wood plastic composite products more competitive in many cases now. It is predicted that composite decking’s market share will continue to increase.
Do Composite or uPVC Decks get hot?
Any surface that is exposed to direct sunlight can get hot really fast. Common sense tells us that darker colours attract more sunlight compared to lighter ones, so if you are planning on building a plastic deck with no trees around, consider using with lighter colours.