Two of the most popular decking materials are PVC and Composite decking. While they share a few similarities, a PVC deck is different from a Composite Deck. If you’re planning to build a deck, you may have wondered which is better PVC or composite decking. What are their differences? And which one should you choose? To help you decide, we’ll also list some of their advantages and disadvantages.
What’s the Difference Between Composites and PVC
PVC and composites are similar in some ways but entirely different. Composites, or known as wood-plastic composites, are materials made from mixing wood and plastic fibers. The materials used to make them are recycled. Manufacturers make use of sawdust and other industrial wood waste for the wood fibers.
They also use recycled plastic from milk bottles, plastic bags, and buckets. How much plastic or wood depends on the brands. Composites first became well-known starting in the late ’80s to early ’90s, as an alternative to wooden materials.
Like composites, PVC materials are also synthetic. They also contain plastic, like composites. The difference is that they are 100% plastic. There are no other materials mixed with PVC. It first entered the decking market in 2005. Currently, it still is one of the top choices for decking, along with wood and composites.
Composites Vs. PVC Decking
To sum everything so far, both composites and PVC materials are synthetic and have plastic. But the similarities end there. But what are the disadvantages and advantages of PVC and Composites? And which one is better? Let’s look at some of their aspects and decide which is better.
Aesthetics and Appearance
Both PVC and composites have come far when it comes to appearance and aesthetics. Both materials often feature a wood-like appearance. However, composite deckings have an advantage over all-plastic decks. The reason is that they contain wooden fibers, which makes it more natural.
So if you’re planning to build a deck, and the wood-like appearance is crucial to you, consider getting composites decking instead.
Safety is another crucial concern when it comes to building a deck. One of the main issues is slipping. For this, composite decks are better than PVC decks. While not as good as compared to wood, composites are less slippery than all-plastic, especially when wet. Most composite decking boards also feature a wood-like grain. Adding such features not only adds to the appearance but also adds safety.
The grains on composites produce friction, thereby reducing smoothness. If you’re building a deck where you can’t avoid getting your patio wet, composites are better. So if you’re planning to build a patio near a water feature like a swimming pool or a fountain, go for composite or wood decks.
Shrinkage and Expansion
Almost all materials expand and contract when exposed to temperature or humidity. In the case of PVC and composites, they will shrink and expand when exposed to temperature. However, in this regard, composites are better.
Because of the wooden fibres embedded in the composites, the boards are more rigid. So it will less likely shrink and expand under extreme temperatures. On the other hand, PVC has nothing to stop the movement. Over time, all these movements will make PVC decks less stable. It can even push out all the nails and screws, which can also be dangerous.
When it comes to choosing a deck, many people will consider how environmentally-friendly it is. In this regard, both PVC and composites are becoming more and more environmentally friendly. Many manufacturers strive to use recycled materials.
Another thing to consider is recyclability. For this, PVC is better than composites. Why? Because composites are a mixture of wood and plastic. Because of this, it’s impossible to separate these materials, making it hard to recycle. On the other hand, PVC is all-plastic, making it easy to reuse and recycle.
Composites are generally heavier than PVC. Because of this, many people seem to have some difficulty in working with them, especially when working alone. You will also need to make a stronger frame to support a heavier deck. It means that you will need more materials for the frame. However, many manufacturers offer hollow composites, which are significantly lighter. Otherwise, PVC is the lighter material between the two.
There are many other differences between PVC and composites. Make sure to check what you need and what you want when selecting materials. If you want a wood-like, safe, and stable deck, go for composite decking