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Synthetic Decking

Many manufacturers are now producing a variety of synthetic decking materials that look better than ever. Synthetic decking has a number of advantages over wooden decking:

  • It is extremely durable and will not rot, crack or peel.
  • It can easily be cleaned by hosing it off; no other maintenance is required.
  • Synthetics are also easy to install with ordinary power tools
  • There is no waste from the kinds of defects (knots, cracks) that can be found in wood.

These new decking products are available in a variety of convincing colors and textures. Many of them are nontoxic and are made from recycled products. Attractive matching handrails and trims are also available.

Consider the following if you are interested in synthetic decking:

  • Polyethylene based composites are a mixture of wood and plastic. These are the most popular of the synthetics. The decking is durable and strong and easy to install, but this material is a bit softer than other synthetic decking. As a result, it wears a little more and there are stricter limits on the joist spacing.
  • Polypropylene and wood fiber composites use a stiffer and denser plastic that results in a plank that can span a longer distance. This decking has a very durable surface that resists moisture.
  • Wood free plastics are a growing part of the synthetic market. This decking can be manufactured from polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, or PVC. Some manufacturers also add some non wooden fibers to their composites. These materials are less prone to expansion and contraction from heat and cold. Because they do not contain any wood, there are no problems with moisture. This decking can also be reinforced with glass or carbon rods to create true structural products.

If you are interested in purchasing only a “green” decking material, check carefully to make sure what you choose is actually made from recycled materials. Not all synthetic decking can be produced from recyclables.

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