Plastic infiltrated the decking industry several decades ago when composite decking entered the market. Today, homeowners choose from three main types of plastic decking: composite, PVC, and HDPE decking like WearDeck. Before you select the best outdoor decking material for your project, you should understand the distinctions between different kinds of plastic deck boards.
Though composite decking introduced plastic in the industry, it should not be confused with fully synthetic boards. Composite deck boards contain organic and plastic components. Manufacturers combine additives, wood fibers, and recycled plastic like polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to develop composite decking (source). The ratio of wood to plastic varies based on brand and impacts the performance of the decking.
In the early 2000s, manufacturers introduced PVC decking as a solution to the problems associated with composite decking due to its wood content. Unlike composite deck boards, PVC boards involve only artificial materials. They consist of virgin or recycled polyvinyl chloride, a popular plastic used to make products like shower curtains (source), as well as additives for color and quality.
Similarly to PVC decking, companies created totally synthetic HDPE decking to overcome the failings of wood composite boards. HDPE deck boards contain virgin or recycled high-density polyethylene and additives. Like PVC, you likely come in contact with HDPE every day in the form of products like milk jugs and shampoo bottles.
Superior Plastic Decking: WearDeck
While the benefits of plastic decking include less maintenance and a longer lifespan than traditional wood, the quality of your project depends on the material and brand that you select. We reinforce our HDPE deck boards with fiberglass and a proprietary mixture of additives that ensure superior performance. Discover more about our structural, heat-reflective plastic lumber.