An Introduction to Composite Lumber

Updated: Jun 10

Thirty years ago, most decks and docks featured pressure-treated wood rather than composite lumber or plastic decking like WearDeck. In the 1990s, manufacturers introduced composite lumber as a low-maintenance, lasting alternative to wood. To produce composite decking, fabricators mixed recycled or virgin plastics and wood ingredients. Homeowners quickly adopted the new product, thrilled to avoid the ongoing maintenance of wood.

Early Failures of Composite Decking

As composite lumber grew in popularity, complaints about the product emerged in tandem. Homeowners paid about twice the price of wood for composite lumber that lacked strength and stiffness (source). Contractors built costly understructures and substructures to support the new decking. Composite boards experienced rapid fading and greying, mold, rot, flaking, and decay. Resulting delamination and structural failure led to ongoing legal issues including series of class-action lawsuits and recalls.

Evolution of Composite Lumber

Composite decking has evolved over the years. Modern composite boards address some of their predecessors’ shortcomings like strength and weather resistance. Advancements in manufacturing produced stiffer, stronger, more durable composite deck boards. Manufacturers offer plastic caps around composite boards to help protect the organic content inside. The industry continues to progress and profit thanks to the improvements in current composite lumber.

A Better Alternative to Wood: WearDeck

Composite lumber reinforced the importance of plastic components in deck boards and caught the attention of professionals in the plastics industry. Working in plastics for over 30 years, our founder recognized that the organic ingredients in composite decking cause many of its shortcomings. We designed 100 percent synthetic WearDeck as a solution. Made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) reinforced with fiberglass, WearDeck outperforms composite decking with these benefits:

  • Highest Live Load Ratings in the industry

  • Waterproof and Weatherproof

  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

  • Minimal Expansion and Contraction

  • Heat Reflective

  • Permanent Anti-Static Protection

  • 25-year UV Protection Package for Lasting Colors

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