What Is Composite Decking Made Of?

Composite decking is decking material constructed from an engineered wood product. It can be purchased at nearly any home improvement shop or ordered directly from manufacturers.

Manufacturers introduced more selections like many colours and quality grades as the decking industry grew. Keep on reading to learn about the decking materials and the manufacturing processes of this deck board if you want to install composite decking.

What Are Composite Decking Materials?

Composite decking is an artificial building material specially made to provide better functionality than timber alone. Not all decking material is created equal. The main components of composite decking, like Trex composite decking, are wood and plastic.

The wood particles can be anything from fine wood powder and sawdust to larger wood chips and wood fibre pieces. The lumber used are stems from varied industries such as wood flooring factories, furniture makers, and sawmills. They are perfect for use when building composite decking.

The plastic materials usually include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and/or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The industry appears to be deviating from PE-based composites to concentrate on the PVC-based product or PP-based product (generally more durable and less prone to compression and expansion).

These plastic­s encompass no wood content; they don’t absorb water or stain. Manufacturers finalize the composition with various additives that help colour the boards, fortify the plastic, and protect it from UV damage.

Due to recycled or recovered materials in the manufacturing process, composite decks are evaluated as a more eco-friendly material for deck building. It’s a longer-lasting product and more hard-wearing than 100% plastic decking.

How Are Composite Decking Boards Made?

To produce composite deck boards, manufacturers often use two processes:


The first process is called extrusion. It’s where all the raw materials are mixed and then placed into an extruder that melts the mixture and is moved through an opening or die system to create a product that sustains a reasonably uniform shape and size. The opening would be the shape and size of the deck and the process would thicken the coveted size and shape.

Compression Molding

This second process encompasses pouring the raw materials into a wood grain mold. Pressure and heat from the sealed mold create the elements into the composite decking that you see in the store.

When utilizing either of these processes, composite manufacturers can add colour to the mixture to produce any shade of deck board and form textures, ridges, or lumber patterns offering the composite decking board a selection of finishes. Composite decking is lighter in weight than traditional wood decking and is not to be used as a structural material.

Types of Composite Deck

A composite decking porch with a view of the woods at night.

Capped Vs. Uncapped

There are, at present, two kinds of composite decking able to be purchased: capped and uncapped. There are a few important differences between the two.

Uncapped boards are less expensive. While the product is resilient and impenetrable, they don’t offer the same protection from colour fades and stains. This suggests that in the first few months, the boards may fade as residual tannins dissolve from the panel after being exposed to the elements.

Capped composite boards, like Fiberon decking, come with an exterior plastic coating which means that the panels are highly fade and stain-resistant. Hence, your deck will maintain its fine-looking form for years with minimal maintenance. Accidental spills and messes can be readily cleaned from protective capping. They also won’t splinter, crack, or decay.

Hollow Vs. Solid

Solid resembles a real wood deck and has a higher density and greater mass, making it hardy and enduring than the hollow version. Due to its weight, solid decking will contract and expand more with temperature fluctuations.

Hollow composite deckings have a more artificial look, though they tend to be more flexible and likely better at absorbing shock. It won’t also contract and expand as much as solid composite decking. However, you have to be careful when working with it as it’s more susceptible to damage before installation.

The Difference Between Polyethylene & Polypropylene

stable than 100% plastic decking. Both plastics can be seen in our day-to-day lives, though the recycled plastic employed in composite decking is called polyethylene (PE). This is the typical plastic of the two types and is obtained in most of our daily products. It is known for being lightweight and has excellent durability. It can also be more affordable.

Polypropylene (PP) is the second most commonly used plastic after PE and it is much less brittle than HDPE, offering very good resistance to fatigue impact, heat, and freezing. Because of PP’s superior resistance to chemicals and high melting point, it’s also used to make plastic components used in the automobile industry, for example, and for packaging and plastic parts for a range of industries.

A composite decking with chairs and a table on it.

Pros of Composite Decking:

Durability: It won’t rot, splinter, or split, so it’s fit for environmental impacts and will hold out much longer. Due to its UV stability, it won’t break down or deteriorate even if exposed to direct sunlight.

Slip-resistant: Composite decking gives superior non-slip features, even in the wettest of weather.

Water-resistant: It also is water-resistant, absorbing less water than a lumber deck.

Less maintenance – Because composite decking won’t rot and mold over the years like wood, it needs minimal maintenance. It does not need regular sanding, varnishing, staining, or painting.

Composites come in various colours: Far from traditional wood decking, composites don’t require staining or painting. It can be assembled in a vast mixture of colours and finishes, all of which will maintain their shade.

Environmentally friendly: Some composite companies use recycled materials; thus, no trees are harmed in making these decks.

No insect damage: Created to withstand the harmful impacts of the outdoors while having the appearance of natural wood, composite decking is less vulnerable to insect damage than wood.

Is Composite Decking The Same As PVC Decking?

Both polyvinyl chloride or PVC decking and composite decking are manufactured from synthetic materials. Composite decking is made from plastic products and wood fibres, while PVC decking is made from 100% recycled plastic. Both products feature a “cap”; an additional layer of protection, making them hardier and more resilient.

Is Composite Decking Cheaper Than Wood Decking?

Although the cost of the composite decking is likely to be more expensive than wood decking, to begin with, its increased resilience, ultra-low upkeep, and low-risk features make it a more affordable option over the long term.

Installing Composite Decking

Installation methods differ for composite decking contrary to traditional wood decking because composite boards are fitted on a pressure-treated wood foundation for a new deck or replacement. Composite decking is leveled, barefoot-friendly, and offers enhanced high-traction.

Composite decking is the perfect material for constructing durable, eco-friendly, low-upkeep decks to amplify your outdoor space by incorporating the raw appeal of wood and the rigidity and resilience of plastic.

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