WPC is an artificial product made from plastic and recycled wood. The composite materials look almost like natural wood but are more durable and easy to care for than plastic.
WPC decking lasts at least 20 years, but like wood, it needs a stable base. WPC planks change color after installation, and the final color can’t be seen for a few months.
WPC decking In addition to items with a standard wood finish, many versions are not intended to seem like wood. This gives architects more options for using wood.
WPC is a type of composite that combines the best parts of wood and plastic. WPC doesn’t crack, doesn’t need maintenance, and doesn’t swell too much.
But in direct sunlight, the decking boards get so hot that you don’t want to walk across your patio without shoes on.
On this page, please find out more about WPC decking’s properties, full profile and hollow chamber, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.
What is WPC Decking?
Wood-Plastic-Composites is the full English word that WPC stands for. 60–80% of the wood composite is made of native softwood fibers. 20–40% of the material is made of so-called polymers, mostly polypropylene (PP).
This plastic is strong against chemicals and heat and is thought to have little material on the environment. Each piece of wood is wrapped in a polymer shell, and adhesion promoters keep the shells from falling apart.
The plastic skin keeps water from getting into the surface of the wood particles and keeps the wood from splitting. In a fire, the plastic won’t give off any dangerous gases.
The wood material doesn’t need to be treated before being put outside. It is protected from rotting and weathering, and it doesn’t warp.
A pigment added to the material makes it resistant to UV light, and a small amount of fungicides takes away the place where fungi can grow.
Advantages of composite decking
Large selection of colors and shapes: Because WPC decking boards are made using a technical process, the color can be chosen at will.
Also, the grooves on the top and bottom of the floorboards are usually different sizes. Depending on your taste, you can choose between fine and coarse profiling.
High ability to hold color. Pure wooden floorboards turn gray quickly after being put down because of the effects of rain and sunlight.
Due to UV radiation, composite decking will lose some color over time. But this isn’t even close to as strong as wood.
If you don’t want to tile or slab your terrace, you can usually choose between WPC planks, softwood, hardwood, and thermowood planks. WPC is a material that has the best parts of both wood and plastic. So, the planks can be used for many things.
Because they contain plastic, WPC decking boards don’t need as much maintenance as other types. There’s no need for a coat of varnish or decking oil to protect the wood. In material, wood oils can hurt the wood.
Most of the time, even tough dirt can be removed with detergent or soapy water and a lot of water. You also don’t have to do anything to the planks afterward.
The fact that composite decking doesn’t get wet is another reason why it’s better than wood. So, if the planks get wet and stay wet for a long time, you don’t have to worry about them warping.
The planks look different from each other. Some manufacturers make the surface rough. As a result, the planks look and feel like wood. Some planks are smooth, have ribs, or have grooves.
You can choose from shades of red, brown, and gray, both light and dark. Some manufacturers also make shades that look less like nature.
Disadvantages of composite decking
what are the problems with composite decking that you need to consider? WPC is not as hard to break as wooden floorboards.
Manufacturers make up for this by using special shapes and thicker materials. Also, how the material is made can cause it to swell or shrink after it has been laid.
Composite decking expansion issues: Because of temperature changes, composite decking tends to expand and shrink significantly. It goes farther and in more unexpected ways than wood.
The boards may crack, peel, or split as they get bigger or smaller. When your decking moves, it can shrink, warp, twist, and bend.
The decking boards are all the same color. Pure wooden floorboards made from local wood are best for people who like the look of natural wood and don’t want to give up subtle color changes, wood grain, and knots.
The plastic content of 30–40% means that many raw materials and energy are used. However, this disadvantage can be made up for by using recycled plastic.
Hollow WPC decking boards have not been as durable as solid ones. Weather factors like rain, great temperature changes, and UV light can do a lot of damage to these floorboards.
Most WPC decking boards sold in stores don’t slip and don’t have splinters. Still, they are not always recommended as the “ideal barefoot board.” When the material is in direct sunlight, it can get very hot.
How much the planks change colors depends on their quality and color. The color of most high-quality items doesn’t change by more than 10 percent. When it comes to cheaper items, the color might change more.
Ecological assessment of WPC
From an environmental point of view, WPC is interesting when it is used instead of pure plastics. For example, this is true in the auto industry, which still uses most wood-plastic composites.
This does not always apply to decking boards. Here the WPC replaces pure wooden floorboards. At the same time, it is not true that WPC decking is inherently worse for the environment than wood decking.
It was found that the two most important things are how long something lasts and how it is made.
Even though WPC doesn’t do so well when using raw materials, the long service life ensures that the wood-plastic floorboards don’t get left behind by the pure wooden floorboards.
WPC decking boards are always seen as especially good when recycled plastics are used.
Is WPC decking sustainable?
You can’t just say “yes” or “no” to this question. The manufacturers that make the planks say they are good for the environment because the wood in them is usually a waste product from the wood industry.
Most of these types of wood grow quickly. Because of this, WPC uses fewer resources than many hardwood floorboards and helps keep tropical forests from being cut down.
But because WPC has plastic, it doesn’t break down completely. It needs to be thrown away the right way.
Composite decking vs wood quality
The quality of WPC floorboards can vary greatly due to the production process and the raw materials used.
For example, WPC decking boards that are too cheap, especially those with hollow chamber profiles, can have problems in extreme weather conditions like permafrost.
Cheap things that haven’t been tested, even solid profiles, are thought to be less break-resistant than sawn wood.
Since the manufacturing process affects how hard and stable the boards are, WPC floorboards can’t be put into a specific durability class like solid wood can, which depends on the type of wood.
Compared to solid wood, WPC decking boards have both advantages and disadvantages. People who have used WPC often say that it is easy to clean, strong, and doesn’t have splinters.
Still, WPC isn’t the same as traditional wood in terms of how it looks, and it also doesn’t have the same natural glow.
But the many good experiences with WPC decking show that the material can keep up with solid wood and is also a good choice in the long run.