PVC vs. Composite Decking
A comprehensive comparison of the most popular alternative decking materials
Once you decide to get a Deck for your Denver property or rebuild the one you already have, wood might be the first material that comes to your mind. However, today’s market offers various alternative decking materials such as Composite and PVC. Due to their apparent benefits, such as significantly longer lifespan, durability, and low-maintenance, they have become more popular today.
And the most significant factor that makes more people prefer PVC and Composite decking today is that it comes out much cheaper than wood. However, different decking materials are meant for different circumstances. In other words, what has worked perfectly for your relative in another state may be inappropriate for you.
Let’s go over the very nature, strong and weak points of PVC and Composite decking so you could make an informed decision about which alternative decking material will be perfect for your household.
Is PVC and Vinyl Decking the same thing?
Once talking about PVC decking, many people mistakenly think that Vinyl decking belongs to this category. However, these two materials are not the same or even fully interchangeable.
PVC is a lightweight but solid and durable decking material. It consists of high-strength plastic and may include foaming agents that allow you to build a deck using them just like you would do so with ordinary wood as it comes in traditional deck wood form.
Unlike PVC, Vinyl decking does not come as deck boards. Therefore it cannot be considered as independent material. However, Vinyl is extremely efficient once it comes to waterproofing your deck.
So, Vinyl decking is not the material you can make to create your deck’s structure, but it can efficiently prevent water from seeping below the surface of your deck and damage it.
So, although you should be ready to hear a lot about Vinyl decking while shopping for alternative decking materials, you should remember that most of the time, people mean PVC. This confusion mainly comes from the fact that both come from synthetic materials and quite common among amateurs.
PVC Decking: Pros and Cons
Although PVC is a trendy decking material today, it is still pretty controversial for some homeowners and professionals. Let’s go over the most common Pros and Cons of this decking material.
PVC Decking – Pros
The most common arguments for PVC decking will include the following facts:
• It is resistant. Indeed, PVC decking successfully withstands any mold and pests, looking as good as new once you clean it. Another significant aesthetic advantage of PVC decking is that it does not lose or change its color even under direct UV lighting.
• Low maintenance. PVC Decking always looks neat and tidy. It does not need any annual staining or repainting so that you can save a lot of time, effort, and money on maintenance.
• Lightweight. With foaming agents in its structure, PVC decking is light and easy to work with.
Those are the mainly-mentioned benefits of PVC decking that have become decisive factors for many people today.
PVC Decking – Cons
In case you have already made up your mind and decided to get a PVC deck to your property, you may still consider several apparent disadvantages of this material that can make you think twice.
• Overpriced. PVC decking prices are traditionally much higher than other decking materials. However, its qualities and features usually don’t differ from alternative composite materials or even wood. Some people reasonably consider PVC decking a dramatically overpriced material.
• Discoloration. Although so many people claim that PVC decking never loses its color and always looks as good as new, it usually discolors quickly once used with rubber or other PVC products. For example, putting a welcome mat on your deck will seriously alternate its looks.
• Environmental hazard. With the rising wave of environmental awareness, such materials as PVC have become an object of serious concern for many homeowners. Its manufacture and recycling are highly demanding processes that lead to several types of pollution at the same time and may turn them into a severe problem in the future.
Is Composite Decking any different?
Once comparing PVC and Composite decking, most people say that Composite decking is the one that resembles wood most out of all alternative decking. PVC decks still look pretty synthetic with all their sleek looks, which is an ultimate deal breaker for many homeowners.
However, several other distinctive features make Composite decking a pretty competitive alternative decking material.
• Price. We have already mentioned that overpricing is the most common downside of PVC decking. Of course, the price will depend on the quality of your decking’s material or some custom features, but a PVC deck will come out at least twice as expensive as a composite one.
• Lifespan. Most vendors will tell you that a composite deck’s standard lifespan will be between 25 and 30 years. It is one of the main advantages for those who prefer alternative decking materials to lumber framing. However, once you think about the environmental equipment and disposal costs, composite decking’s prolonged lifespan may appear to be much more expensive than you think.
• Maintenance. Another possible advantage of alternative decking over the classical wooden decks is their low maintenance. Indeed, both PVC and Composite – made decks will not need anything more than regular cleaning with simple soapy water.
• Eco-friendliness. Both PVC and Composite decks are synthetic. Composite materials are technically a mixture of plastic and wood fibers, while PVC decks are fully-plastic materials. Therefore, once you are on the market for an alternative decking material but feel concerned about the environmental aspect, you may want to check out Composite decks as a more eco-friendly solution.
The choice between different materials, including wood, PVC, or Composite, makes building a deck much more affordable for a broader range of homeowners today. However, with a wider choice come lots of pros and cons that may make you think twice before deciding to prefer an alternative material to your classic wooden deck. It is always wise to do your research and talk to various professionals who can describe to you all the particular benefits and pitfalls of every decking alternative available in your area.