Differences Plastic Material In Wpc Products

The two main types of plastic used in in WPC decking products are high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

HDPE is a softer, more flexible substance, and is the most common plastic used in WPC decking. It can be sourced from recycled materials like milk bottles or from pure polymer.

Recycled materials that use lower grade recycled HDPE, which is not chemically designed for exterior use, may result in quicker deterioration of the product. The alternative HDPE, from polymer, is made from virgin material, i.e. petroleum or oil, so although stronger it suffers under sustainability measures.

HDPE is also less fire resistant and suppliers have had to combat this by including fire retardant additives in their manufacturing processes.

PVC is harder, fire resistant and UV resistant, making it the most commonly used exterior plastic – think gutters, down pipes etc - however, its hard surface lends itself to installation difficulties and an underfoot feeling that is dissimilar to real timber.

The wood fibre in WPC also plays an important role in its performance and is used as a filler to reduce the production costs. Any product with more than 55 per cent timber fibre could jeopardise its longevity. Similarly, the type of wood product determines the strength of WPC decking and as with normal decking, hardwood is generally considered to perform better than soft wood fibre in WPC boards.