For many years, people prefer to use wood as their primary material of choice for construction projects. Even now, people use wooden materials, especially for decks. However, there are more options now than before. Synthetic materials, such as PVC and composites, are becoming quite popular. But the question most homeowners ask, are there any differences between PVC and composite decking?

PVC and Composites are not the Same 

People often think that PVC and composites are the same. Many call them “plastic decking.” However, there are plenty of differences between the two. One of the main differences is PVC and composite’s composition. 

While it’s true that they both have plastic and are both artificially made, there’s one big difference between their composition. PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride, often called vinyl, is a material purely made up of polymers or synthetic plastic. On the other hand, composites are materials that use both plastic and wood fibres. Depending on the manufacturers, composites can have a varying ratio of wood to plastic, whereas PVC is 100% plastic. 

PVC Decking and Composite Decking Comparison

pvc and wpc decking

When it comes to decking, composite and PVC have many similarities. It’s the reason why most people mistake them as the same. But as previously mentioned, they do have differences. So what are their similarities and their differences?

Durability

Both composites and PVC have “caps” or protective outer plastic layers. Because of the capping, both synthetic materials boast superior protection against damage from moisture, insects, and mould growth. It’s also thanks to this capping that both of these materials are low-maintenance. 

However, when it comes to durability, there’s one reason why you may want to consider using composites instead. PVC decking is particularly prone to high temperatures. Not only do they heat fast when exposed to hot weather, but prolonged exposure to high temperatures can also warp and break PVC decks. On the other hand, due to having wooden fibres, composites hold its shape better in hot weather. While it does get hot, it won’t be as uncomfortable as PVC decking.

Lifespan

When it comes to lifespans, both composites and PVC have the same lifespans. Most composite and PVC decking can both last for at least 20 years. Some companies also offer warranty coverages of up to 30 years. Of course, the actual quality of the products will depend on the company. You may find reviews, feedback, and comments about the materials helpful when planning to build decks. Checking the guarantee is also a clear indication of how long decking materials will last. 

Initial Price and Upkeep Costs

Price is a major deciding factor when choosing what materials to use. After all, building a deck is not exactly a cheap project, and most homeowners will want to save as much as possible. When it comes to prices, both composite and PVC have similar costs. You may find PVC slightly expensive, but it still depends on the quality and the brand of materials. 

Despite their high price, many homeowners still agree that it’s worth the added cost. However, both composite and PVC decking is low-maintenance. You don’t need to spend on expensive stains, paints, and seals to preserve its quality. Cleaning both decking types are also simple and easy, cutting down the upkeep costs compared to wooden decks. 

Aesthetics and Appearance

Perhaps the most notable difference between PVC decking and composite decking is the appearance. As mentioned, PVC decks are pure plastic. And they look like what they are, synthetic and artificial. While by no means they’re unattractive, PVC decks don’t look natural. Some companies imitate wood, but most are nowhere comparable. 

On the other hand, composite decking sports appearance that resembles wood. Not only do they look like wood, but some may also feel like the real thing. If you’re going after a wood-like or natural aesthetics, you’ll want to go with composite decking instead. 

Differences between Composites and PVC

While similar, composite and PVC materials have a few differences. The most notable difference is their makeup. PVC is pure plastic, whereas composites have both wood and plastic. 

For decking, they also have some differences. While both of them are durable and long-lasting, composite decks offer better appearance and aesthetics. Composite decks are also more resistant to high temperatures and warping. Both of them are excellent choices, but composites have better advantages.