Wood vs Composite Decking

What are the main differences between composite and timber decking?

What is composite decking?

Wood-polymer composite (WPC) decking, also known simply as composite decking, is made up of wood fibres, plastics and a small number of bonding agents.
At EnviroBuild, all the materials that go into our composite boards are environmentally sustainable. The High-Density Polyethylene used in our boards is fully recycled and the wood content is both recycled and 100% FSC certified.
The wood fibres, plastics, and the bonding agent are all mixed together, heated and then shaped into board shaped lengths.
Wood composite decking requires less maintenance than timber boards and looks more authentic than plastic alternatives. Combining the best of both materials.

Capped vs uncapped

Capped composite boards come with an exterior plastic coating, which makes the boards highly resistant against fading and staining. The boards are easy to wipe clean and keep their colour when exposed to the environment.
Uncapped composite boards tend to be cheaper, but they do not come with the same guaranteed protection against staining and colour fading. This means that in the first couple of months the
composite boards may fade
a small amount.

Hollow vs solid

Composite boards come in hollow and solid varieties. Hollow boards have chambers running throughout the length of the plank. Solid boards are slightly stronger, but the trade-off is that they are also heavier.

Is wood cheaper than composite decking?

Wooden decking is commonly seen as the cheaper, more conventional route to obtaining your garden deck. The initial cost of a quality WPC deck may thus seem expensive compared to a wooden one, but the investment is one that is guaranteed to pay off.
Wood-plastic composite decking is famous for its longevity, a quality that traditional wooden decking lacks. Customers often find that they have to replace their wooden deck in as little as five to ten years if strict maintenance routines aren’t kept up.
Our Hyperion composite decking ranges are low maintenance and won’t splinter wrap and rot, which is often the case with wooden boards. This is backed up by our long-lasting residential warranties of 25 years on our Frontier range and 15 years on our Explorer range. As a result, you are safe from additional costs and worries that you would face annually due to inevitable wooden deck maintenance.

How much money would I save on maintenance costs?

The maintenance needed to maintain a traditional timber decking varies on the type of wood it is made from. Treatments usually range from yearly re-oiling and re-finishing to re-painting; the long term costs of which can be huge when considering the materials involved can cost over £150 per treatment. The lifetime cost of composite decking is undoubtedly lower.
Composite decking is low maintenance and unlike its wooden alternative, rarely needs more than a gentle hosing down once to twice a year. Not only does this mean you do not have to worry about spending money on re-treating or replacing wood boards, but you also can save time and energy that would be better spent enjoying your deck.

Is composite decking better for the environment?

Finally, there’s the hidden cost of the environmental damage that wooden decks cause to our planet. Although some companies are FSC certified, softwood and hardwood both lead to deforestation and the loss of crucial habitats to wildlife across the world leaving many animals struggling to survive purely for the purpose of wooden decking.
It’s a cost that we at EnviroBuild take seriously and take great lengths to avoid by opting to use recycled materials in all our products and ensuring that all recycled wood in our products is FSC certified. Our composite wood decking, for example, is made from 60% recycled wood (FSC 100% Certified) and 40% recycled High-Density Polyethylene, environmentally friendly bonding agent, additives and tint. In 2021 we switched our Hyperion manufacturing over to 100% renewable energy.
On top of this, we also donate 10% of all profits to the Rainforest Trust UK to help become a carbon negative business.