Well, I suppose I should write a few words in defence of the composite decking manufacturers such as ourselves!
Firstly, in response to your 3 claims:
1) cheaper, better price decking – FALSE – I don’t think anyone has ever stated that composite decking is a cheap option – it isn’t! Its comparable (in the UK at least) to a cheap hardwood but much more expensive than most softwoods.
2) no maintenance – FALSE – Wrong, the actual material itself does not require any maintenance in order to survive the 25 year warranty we offer – it will not become structurally un-sound (in normal environments) even if it is never maintained. However, it does need cleaning to keep it looking good and it’s always a good idea to maintain drainage/expansion gaps. But we would still uphold a warranty claim 24 years from date of install even if it had never been ‘maintained’. Also – in order to keep Ecodek looking good, the amount of time spent cleaning & caring for the deck is generally a lot less than for any timber decking.
3) 100% eco friendly because you can recycle it – FALSE – Wrong again, that’s complete rubbish when talking about polyolefin based composite decking products. You have obviously never been in a composite decking factory! We recycle all returns & scrap, we use HDPE as our base polymer which is recyclable many times. Even 25 yr old Ecodek scrap could be 100% recycled – Fact. (All the decking we have supplied to the Olympic Stadium will in fact be recycled and re-used by us at some point within the next 10 years.)
On a separate note, regarding your pictures. 2 of those pictures are of the same deck and that is a HOLLOW deck. Hollow decking is widely known as being inferior to solid composite decking due to the narrow wall sections, increased surface area and ability to trap water inside the boards. (see http://ecodek.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Solid-vs-Hollow-nopic.pdf )
There is also no way of knowing what base polymer was used, whether it contained UV additives, or most importantly, what wood percentage was used! I could show you plenty of pictures of warped/rotted/distorted timber decks if that’s what you want?
Your other photo is of TREX decking and they did have many problems in the early days due to using very poor quality polymers and also not having enough compression during the extrusion process.
With any new product development, mistakes are made which the manufacturers then learn from. (You seem to think that Mercedes are a quality product, well the cars they made in the late 90’s are now total rust buckets due to a lack of chassis rust proofing during manufacture!) There are still some manufacturers, especially in the Far East that do make inferior composites and every time I see their products, I despair. But if you buy a quality SOLID decking product from an established and well-known manufacturer, you will not have any problems.
One last point, it is always interesting to me when people such as yourself use negative marketing techniques to sell their products – All it does is show up the flaws in your own marketing strategy when the only way you can publicise your products is to slag off your competitors rather than shout about the merits of your own product.
If you’re ever in the area, I would be delighted to show you around our production facility and hopefully then you could understand that composites and timber both have their places in the market – we never sell our product as a wood ‘look-a-like’ it’s just an alternative.
Vannplastic Ltd, manufacturers of Ecodek wood/polymer composite profiles – The UK’s longest established and most successful composite decking manufacturer.