Which is Better Vinyl or Composite Decking?

Henry A
Learn Decking
composite vs vinyl board

Non-wood alternative decking is becoming more popular nowadays. Not only do they reduce the need for cutting down trees for materials, but they also have more advantages. When it comes to alternative decking, two of the most popular are vinyl and Ultra Decking composite boards.  But if you are a homeowner who wants to build a decking area, you may have stumbled upon the decision of which one to use. So which should you choose?

vinyl vs composite decking board


Difference Between Vinyl and Composite Decking

Before you make any decision, one of the few things you will need to understand is the difference between vinyl and composite decking. In general, they are quite similar. But here are a few differences.

Vinyl decking can refer to two types of decking, one made out of boards and one using sheets of vinyl. Most people will think of the former rather than the latter. Regardless, both vinyl sheets and decking boards are of the same material, which is PVC. PVC, short for polyvinyl chloride, is a thermoplastic used in various applications, including construction. For comparison, however, we’ll consider PVC decking boards, which are often more durable than the sheets.

Composites, on the other hand, are not pure plastic. Unlike vinyl, it contains both plastic polymers and wood fibres, along with minerals and organic fillers. For composite decking, you can either choose between decking boards or interlocking tiles.

In terms of design and construction, many people may find composites and vinyl similar. But what about performance? Which one is the better decking choice?

Which is More Durable?

Durability is one of the main priorities when choosing a decking. By this standard, both composites and vinyl decking perform well. They both have superior durability compared to wood. They are resistant to moisture, rotting, and splintering.

However, there is one advantage of composites that can ultimately affect your decision. Wood warps due to moisture, while thermoplastics do also warp because of high temperatures. It means that both composite and vinyl decks can warp under extreme temperatures. However, wood-plastic decking, especially ones with a higher wood-to-plastic ratio, are more rigid, thus, more dimensionally stable. So when hot weather is a concern, composite decks will less likely warp or bend compared to pure plastic decking.

Which is Cheaper?

Cost is another crucial deciding factor for many homeowners. But it doesn’t mean that you have to compromise quality over lower prices. Instead, you will want to choose one that gives the most value for your money.

When it comes to cost, both vinyl and composites are significantly more expensive than wood decking. However, they are more cost-efficient. They require less maintenance and don’t need painting, staining, or sealing, which means you don’t have to spend hundreds, if not thousands, on upkeep during their service life.

About the price comparison between the two, you’ll find vinyl slightly more expensive. Of course, there are different price ranges and other qualities that you will have to consider. Checking out reviews and comments from previous buyers can help you decide.

Which is More Beautiful?

One of the most striking differences between composites and vinyl is the appearance. Vinyl, as a synthetic material, will often look more polished. You can tell that it’s artificial, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can choose from various colours, patterns, and designs. Some are even made to look like wood.

On the other hand, composites are more natural-looking. Unlike vinyl decking, it looks more like real wood. Some even have unique grain patterns and textured surfaces for extra finesse. While some vinyl imitates wood designs, it won’t compare to what composites can look like.

In the end, it’s a matter of preferences. But if you want a wood-looking decking, there’s no better choice than composite decking.

Which One Should You Use for Your Deck?

Both vinyl and composites are excellent non-wood decking choices. They both are more cost-efficient and more durable than traditional wooden decking. While they have quite a few similarities, they do have some differences.

Composite decking may slightly be cheaper than PVC and more resistant to high temperatures and warping. In terms of aesthetics, it’s also more natural-looking, akin to real wood. Because of this, it’s slightly better than vinyl.


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