A Complete Guide on PVC vs Composite Decking Material

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A Complete Guide on PVC vs Composite Decking Material

Once upon a time, wood deck materials were the only option homeowners had when building a deck. Today, there are several decking materials to choose from. However, with so many options on the market, it can get complicated to know exactly which material is the best choice for your deck.

Composite vs PVC decking are both among the top choices, each with unique features and some differences that set them apart. At Olympic Decks in Seattle, our deck contractors have been working extensively with both materials and have created this guide to help homeowners decide who comes out on top: PVC vs Composite Decking. We’ll give you the information and let you decide.

What is Composite Decking?

Composite is a man-made material of wood fibers, plastics, and bonding agents. It is designed to mimic the look of natural wood. Composite offers enhanced durability and requires low maintenance, making it an attractive choice for homeowners. This material is also environmentally friendly, as it often incorporates recycled components.

A key feature of composite decking is its comprehensive encapsulation process, which protects each board from moisture, insects, and UV rays. This ensures the decking resists rot, splintering, and fading, providing a long-lasting and visually appealing solution for outdoor spaces.

What is PVC Decking?

PVC decking is made entirely of polyvinyl chloride, a type of plastic. This makes it exceptionally durable and resistant to moisture, insects, and rot. Unlike composite decking, which includes wood fibers, PVC decking is 100% synthetic, offering a low-maintenance and long-lasting option for homeowners.

When comparing composite vs PVC decking, one of the main differences is that PVC decking tends to be lighter and more resistant to scratches and stains. This makes it an ideal choice for areas with high foot traffic and heavy use. Its all-plastic composition also ensures it won’t warp or splinter, providing a smooth and safe surface for your outdoor space.

Pvc Vs Composite

PVC vs Composite Decking: A Head-to-Head Comparison

In the Composite vs PVC decking showdown, we’ll consider factors homeowners rate as important in decking material. Let’s take a look at how each material measures up in the following categories:

1) Durability and Maintenance

2) Aesthetics and Design

3) Environmental Impact

4) Cost

1. Durability and Maintenance

Composite and PVC decking are built to last but have unique strengths. Composite decking, made from wood fibers and plastic, resists rot, splintering, and insect damage. Its protective shell guards against moisture and UV rays, minimizing fading. PVC decking, entirely synthetic, excels in moisture and stain resistance. It’s less likely to scratch and requires even less maintenance than composite. In high-moisture and heavy-use areas, PVC might have the edge.

2. Aesthetics and Design Flexibility

Aesthetics are key when choosing a decking material. Composite decking mimics natural wood with various colors and finishes, offering a traditional look. It can also be bent and shaped with heat for creative designs. PVC decking, available in multiple colors, has a consistent, modern appearance. Its smooth surface resists stains and scratches, keeping it pristine over time. Your choice between composite and PVC depends on whether you prefer a natural wood look or a sleek, modern finish.

3. Environmental Impact

Both decking options have eco-friendly aspects. Composite decking often uses recycled materials like reclaimed wood fibers and plastic, reducing waste. Although made from virgin plastic, PVC decking is recyclable at the end of its life cycle and can be manufactured in a cleaner way. Composite tends to have a slight edge in sustainability due to its recycled content, but both materials contribute positively to the environment.

4. Cost

Cost is an important factor for many homeowners. Generally, composite decking tends to be less expensive than PVC decking. The initial cost of composite is lower, providing good value with its durability and low maintenance needs. PVC decking, while often more expensive up front, offers superior longevity and minimal maintenance, which can lead to cost savings over time. When comparing composite vs PVC decking, consider both the initial investment and the long-term costs to determine the best option for your budget.

Pvc Vs Composite

Benefits of Composite Decking

Composite decking is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its blend of practicality and aesthetics. Here are some of the specific benefits of choosing composite material:

  • Moisture Resistance: Composite is designed to resist moisture, preventing issues like rot and mold that plague traditional wood decks.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Available in a variety of colors and finishes, composite decking closely mimics the look of natural wood, providing a traditional yet polished appearance.
  • Low Maintenance: This material requires minimal upkeep—there is no need for staining, sealing, or painting. Simply clean it occasionally to maintain its look.
  • Durability: Composite decking is highly durable, resisting splintering, warping, and insect damage, which ensures a longer lifespan.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Composite, often made from recycled materials, is an eco-friendly option that helps reduce waste and promote sustainability.

Pvc Vs Composite

Benefits of PVC Decking

PVC decking offers high performance and durability, making it an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a long-lasting solution. Here are the key benefits of PVC decking:

  • Cooler Surface Temperatures: PVC decking tends to stay cooler underfoot compared to composite decking, making it more comfortable in hot weather.
  • Advanced Color Retention: The color of PVC decking is more resistant to fading, ensuring that it remains vibrant and attractive over time, even with prolonged sun exposure.
  • Flexibility in Design: Available in a range of colors and styles, PVC material provides a sleek, modern appearance and can be easily customized to fit various design preferences.
  • Superior Moisture Resistance: PVC is impervious to moisture, being entirely synthetic, eliminating concerns about rot and mold.
  • Low Maintenance: Like composite decking, PVC decking requires very little maintenance. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t need painting or sealing.

Pvc Vs Composite

PVC vs Composite Materials: Which to Choose?

Choosing between PVC and composite decking depends on your specific needs, lifestyle, budget, and aesthetic preferences. Here’s a summary of the strengths and potential drawbacks of each option to help you make an informed decision:

Composite Decking: This deck material mimics the look of natural wood, is often made from recycled materials, and requires minimal upkeep. However, its potential drawback is its upfront costs and heat retention.

PVC Decking: This deck material stays cooler underfoot in hot weather. It’s resistant to fading and moisture and is easy to clean without requiring painting or sealing. Potential drawbacks of PVC include its being the pricier option and not looking as natural as composite decking.

Deciding between the two is a personal choice. But consider these factors when weighing your decision: your lifestyle, your budget, and your personal preferences. You can determine which decking material best fits your needs by weighing these factors. If you need some help deciding, contact the team at Olympic Decks, who will be more than happy to help walk you through the options.

Pvc Vs Composite

Composite vs PVC Decking: Build Your Deck With Olympic Decks

Deciding between PVC and composite decking depends on your specific needs and preferences. Both materials offer unique benefits and some drawbacks, but either choice will provide a durable and attractive deck. Consider your lifestyle, budget, and aesthetic preferences when making your decision.

For personalized guidance, contact the Olympic Decks team. We’re here to help you choose the perfect decking material for your home.

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