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WPC decking: 5 prejudices
WPC decking: 5 prejudices
Video: WPC decking: 5 prejudices
Video: Ipe vs. Composite vs. PVC vs. Cedar: Which Decking is Best? 2023, February
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There are still many property owners who have reservations about WPC planks and therefore prefer to use conventional wood products - mostly Bangkirai or another tropical wood. The composite material has long since proven its suitability for everyday use. We are clearing up five common prejudices.

Table of contents Table of contents WPC decking: 5 prejudices - and the truth

  • Prejudice 1: WPC boards are ecologically questionable
  • Prejudice 2: WPC are prone to stains and scratches
  • Prejudice 3: WPC are a cheap substitute for wood
  • Prejudice 4: Decking boards made of WPC fade heavily in old age
  • Prejudice 5: WPC boards are neither durable nor weatherproof

Table of contents Table of contents WPC decking: 5 prejudices - and the truth

  • Prejudice 1: WPC boards are ecologically questionable
  • Prejudice 2: WPC are prone to stains and scratches
  • Prejudice 3: WPC are a cheap substitute for wood
  • Prejudice 4: Decking boards made of WPC fade heavily in old age
  • Prejudice 5: WPC boards are neither durable nor weatherproof

Prejudice 1: WPC boards are ecologically questionable

The abbreviation WPC stands for "wood plastic composites", which can be translated as "wood-plastic composites". It is basically a recycling product made from cellulose fibers, which are generated as waste products in traditional wood or paper processing. The plastic polymers used are PVC-free and contain no plasticizers or other harmful chemicals. Like the cellulose fibers of some manufacturers, they come from excess and waste that are produced during the production of self-adhesive labels and can be used in a meaningful way for WPC production. The disposal of WPC is also not a problem: The material can, for example, be recycled or burned in a waste incineration plant free of harmful substances.

Prejudice 2: WPC are prone to stains and scratches

The saying "Who buys cheap, buys twice" applies to WPC terrace boards, as does so many products, because the quality of Noname products is not always satisfactory - especially when it comes to stain and scratch resistance. Therefore, especially with WPC floorboards, you should rather spend a little more money and choose a branded product. Some manufacturers have developed a special manufacturing process that, for example, completely encapsulates the fibers and provides the decking boards with a specially coated surface. It is insensitive to dirt and shows an extremely high resistance to mechanical damage.

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WPC boards are insensitive to dirt and can be cleaned easily.

Photo: UPM

Prejudice 3: WPC are a cheap substitute for wood

WPC should not be seen as an imitation or replacement of wood. There are products that are visually based on the classic wooden floorboards, but it is a separate material class that harmonises very well with the modern, architectural garden design. Concrete blocks for the garden are no longer considered inferior imitations, even though they are not natural stones. Terrace tiles in particular, which have their own unique look and are not based on classic natural stone, have long been established in garden design.

Prejudice 4: Decking boards made of WPC fade heavily in old age

The color stability of WPC is also a question of quality. Brand manufacturers attach particular importance to the durability of their products and process the wood fibers so that they no longer contain lingin. These special fibers, which are very important for the tensile strength in natural wood, are not required for WPC. They have the disadvantage that they yellow with age and can therefore change the original color of the WPC.

Hollow-wall planks lighten over the years, but remain largely color-stable even in old age and, unlike solid wooden planks, do not turn gray. With solid floorboards, there is usually a slight brightening within the first three to six months after processing, but there is no need to fear severe fading or graying. After that, only a very slight weathering takes place, but this is also the charm of the material.

With classic decking made from domestic wood or tropical wood, the color changes much more over the years and the weather influences also leave clear traces.

UPM ProFi-Dielen im Farbvergleich
UPM ProFi-Dielen im Farbvergleich

UPM ProFi floorboards "Autumn Brown" in new condition and after aging.

Photo: UPM

Prejudice 5: WPC boards are neither durable nor weatherproof

High quality WPC planks are absolutely weatherproof and dimensionally stable. In contrast to wooden planks, they do not swell when damp and do not “work”. Therefore, there are no manufacturing tolerances, which makes processing considerably easier. In terms of durability, WPC planks are comparable to the highest quality tropical woods. The plastic part is weather-resistant and at the same time also protects the wood fibers from the weather. The UV light causes the plastic to age, but this process is extremely slowed down by the addition of UV stabilizers.

There are sometimes reservations about hollow boards in terms of stability and durability. The independent wood expert Thomas Wilper from Münster can clear up this prejudice: “The large WPC manufacturers have now perfected their production methods so that hollow-chamber planks made of WPC are in no way inferior to solid planks in terms of stability. The webs installed inside are arranged and dimensioned in such a way that the WPC planks can withstand the loads that arise over the years. It is only important that you follow the manufacturer's installation recommendations and observe the maximum distances between the substructure bars of a WPC terrace. Compared to solid planks, hollow section profiles also have three major advantages: They are much lighter, the material consumption is lower and you can even lay heating cables in the profiles for underfloor heating if necessary."

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