There is probably no such thing as the ideal material for making decking boards. Whether solid wood or WPC. From an ecological point of view, The two materials have advantages and disadvantages that make a clear assessment difficult.
In the past few years, decking boards made from WPC have achieved a not inconsiderable market share all over the world . Therefore We want to take a closer look at the properties as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this material at this point.
WPC is the abbreviation for “Wood Plastic Composite“, which means something like “wood-plastic composite”. This term is now somewhat out of date, as other cellulosic materials such as rice husks or meadow grass are used instead of wood. Decking boards made of WPC are usually made from 60% wood in the form of wood chips and sawdust, as well as 40% plastic and corresponding additives in the extrusion process. The decking boards made of WPC can then be attached to a substructure like pure wooden boards. In the meantime, there are also special click systems for WPC boards that allow easy attachment.
All the advantages and disadvantages of WPC decking are listed below.
- Large selection of colors and shapes: since decking boards made of WPC are manufactured in a technical process, the color can be chosen as desired. In addition, the boards are usually equipped with grooves of different degrees on the top and bottom. Depending on your taste, you can choose the fine or coarse profile. Armo decking, for example, provides a large selection.
- High color fastness. Pure wooden planks turn gray relatively quickly after laying due to the influence of precipitation and UV radiation. This does not happen with WPC. With this material, too, the UV radiation will cause the color to lighten over time. However, this is by no means as strong as with wood.
- The full profiles high-quality WPC decking boards with are durable.
- The boards made of WPC splinters are not, so there is no risk of injury. Wood planks made of WPC are particularly easy to care for. Special care such as oiling is not required.
- The decking is only one color. Anyone who appreciates a natural wood look and does not want to do without fine color gradations, wood grain and knotholes should use pure wooden floorboards made from local woods.
- A plastic content of 30-40% means a high consumption of raw materials and energy. However, this disadvantage can be compensated for by using recycled plastic.
- WPC decking with hollow profiles has proven to be less durable. Weather influences such as rain, strong temperature fluctuations and UV radiation can cause significant damage to these boards
- WPC boards can get very hot in direct sunlight
Ecological evaluation of WPC
Basically, WPC is interesting from an ecological point of view wherever it replaces pure plastics. This is the case, for example, in the automotive industry, which is still the largest consumer of wood-plastic composites.
This does not generally apply to decking. Here the WPC replaces pure wooden planks. At the same time, however, it is not true that decking boards made of WPC are generally judged to be worse from an ecological point of view than pure wooden boards.