Low Maintenance Plastic Decking
Plastic Wood Decking for Strength and Appearance
Homeowners who dislike maintenance tasks have a new option with plastic wood decking. It is virtually maintenance free and offers
the same quality as wood, but with a longer life. Made of polyvinylchloride, plastic decking has several applications, including patio decks,
pool decks, boat docks, picnic tables, landscaping, and practically any other outdoor application where high maintenance needs to be replaced
with a quality product.
When building a deck, plastic decking materials can be used as the substructure, as well as the surface, and will provide many years of
appealing use with many companies offering up to 20-year-warranties.
There are two types of plastic decking materials, including monoextruded and coextruded. When this material is made, the vinyl is pushed
through a die to form the desired shape. As the name implies monoextruded is shaped as one single unit.
In coextruded product, there is a thin layer of a higher quality product adhered to an inner product often made of a lesser quality material.
This does not reduce the quality unless the outer layer is damaged in someway and exposes the inner part of the plastic wood decking. This could
be especially important if the material is being used in a high traffic area where scratches or dents, like on a boat dock, are possible.
Tongue and Groove Improves Stability
Plastic wood decking boards come in a tongue and groove design, which improves its strength, especially on longer spans. Although the material
is slightly less stiff than wood, spacing of the support joists remain at 16” on center and can even be as wide as 24” centers, depending on the
When considering purchasing plastic decking, be sure to check on how much of the UV inhibitor (think sun block) is mixed in with the
polyvinylchloride. This will determine whether fading of the color over time from exposure to the sun will be an issue. Some manufacturers use
enough UV inhibitor that they guarantee no fading over the life of the materials.
Maintenance is not an issue with plastic decking as hosing it down occasionally with a garden hose is usually the only requirement. It is a
product designed to give years of dependable service with little or not additional cost for maintenance, and if a part of the decking becomes
damaged, replacement parts are easy to obtain and install yourself.
Metal decking is very strong but the cost is prohibitive for most consumers and it
only represents a very small percentage of the decking market. It is used mainly in commercial applications.