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What Is Composite Wood Decking?

| Uncategorized | May 21, 2013

Composite wood is the most inexpensive form of wood plastic composite decking. Composite Wood decks are faux-wood pieces attached to a base such as particle board. A clear, protective coating of plastic is applied to both sides. The Deck is then sealed with heat and/or pressure, which completes the process of lamination.

Veneer Composite wood is a layer of solid wood between three and five millimeters thick. This veneer layer is glued and pressed onto a core panel of a different material, like plywood, and attached to the materials base. Veneer wood plastic composite decking can be finished and sanded with the usual techniques. They are easily repaired by light re-sanding.

Solid composite wood is composed of completely solid wood, and is more expensive than composite wood or veneer composite wood. The standard thickness of a solid composite wood board is usually 1.5cm or more. This thickness ensures that your WPC decking can be sanded repeatedly throughout its lifetime. The most common type of WPC decking is 5/16″ thick in sheets 2′ by 2′ containing a repeating pattern. It’s held together with a linen mesh backing or a removable paper facing.

Baroque Patterns

There are a wide variety of patterns including rhombs, Monaco, and Monticello all imitating some of early Baroque decks. The patterns look particularly stunning when stained a dark walnut color and a silky smooth finish is applied to bring out the 3D effect of these Decks. WPC lends itself well to a do-it-yourself operation, at least for the installation. It’s similar to laying tile, but the sheets are 2′ by 2′ and leaving little gaps is quite acceptable.

Block Patterns

Block Decking is really the pre-runner of modern wood plastic composite. The most basic pattern is made from 2 1/4 ” by 3/4″ strips, 9″ long, and four strips being held with a metal band on the underside. This makes a neat 9″ square tile with an interlocking tongue and grooves on all sides. Even when the adhesive fails, gravity will keep this deck in place until someone comes along and removes it, cleans it up and re-installs it. Block Decking wears as well as strip decking.

Herringbone Patterns

Herringbone in the traditional 2″ by 9″ by 3/4″ or larger patterns are the most elegant of all the glue down hardwood Decks. Reasonably priced material, it is very labor intensive to install. When this deck is sanded and stained it produces a stunning light-dark effect as you sit down the rows. A miniature version of this is the square edged composite wood using 1″ by 4″ by 5/16″ slats to make the herringbone pattern. It comes with a mesh backed and is simple to install. Avoid the larger 3/8″ by 9″ square edged material; it is prone to warping and twisting in place. I’ve also yet to see an enjoyable pre-finished composite wood except beveled edged versions of the block Deck.

What to Avoid

Avoid perforated paper backing. Only half the wood will contact the glue. Avoid the 5/16″ tongue and groove composite wood, even though it comes pre-finished. When that finish wears out, you only have 1 or 2 sanding cycles at best. Avoid the 6″ by 6″ Squares because they do not contact the sub-Deck as well as the smaller 4″ by 4″ square edged material.


Wood plastic composite decking longevity depends on a suitable adhesive. PVA Decking adhesives will start to fail 15-25 years or sooner depending on the indoor humidity swings. A rubber based mastic like Dri-TacĀ® Has the ability to stretch along with seasonal movement of wood and stays tacky throughout the life of the deck? I’ve used it for about 3000 square feet of green Deck in the past 4 years and not one piece has come loose.

Composite Wood decking, no matter what type, is a lovely choice for your hardwood Deck. There are many enhancements, like finishing and staining, which can make it stand out in a house or apartment. It’s unfunny, beautiful patterns, ease of the installation, and excellent pricing make composite wood decking a popular choice for many hardwood deck owners.

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