Reply To: Composite Decking verses Timber Decking


Composite decking encompases a broad range of products and ‘base polymers’. HDPE is by no means the only polymer used for this application. Many decks are made of recycled polymers that may be 100% HDPE of varying grades to blends of HDPE, MDPE and LLDPE. Recent stastics show that Virgin PVC based WPC is growing in market share. PVC based WPC offers a further range of performance properties – low water absorption after 14 days immersion (not the 24 hour test frequently quoted), higher flexural modulus than most composites resulting in greater distance between supports with less deformation, high limiting oxygen index giving a reduction in burning behaviour, excellent colour stability, high impact strength passing the quoted drop test of 100kg from 1.5 metres with supports at 600mm centres and high wear/slip resistance. From these comments, it is clear that Duraflex has chosen to follow the PVC route for our UK manufacture. However, the growing market has a place for all quality decks spanning a range of materials, finishes and properties. To state one quality deck type is better than another is dependant on the application, the end user requirements, customer perceptions, fixing methods and numerous other variables and attributes. However, what is clear is that responsible deck manufacturers should be promoting quality decking, high standards of design and installation backed by factual performance data. The label cheap from China implies all Chinese products are inferior. This is not the case, neither is it true that all European/US products are of good quality. I have read inaccurate articles highlighting the negatives of one deck type over another. this only results in a tit for tat approach and results in confusion in the customer base which ultimately drives custom elsewhere. A growing number of quality installers are now offering good timber decks alongside good WPC decks. Is hardwood the best looking deck – only if the customer believes this to be so.