Wood plastic composite decking board Installation
Surface hardness and the wood used in composite boards have an interrelated roll in the potential breakdown of the product. PVC used in a Wood plastic composite decking is a “hard” plastic when compared to HDPE. When installing an HDPE, one can easily use a nail gun or screws but the soft surface tends to “mushroom” up around the fastener. Pre drilling is recommended by most manufactures to reduce the risk of mushrooming. A PVC board will stay flat and not dimple or mushroom. They usually come with recommendations to pre-drill the ends of their boards and to use screws rather than a nail gun.
Before the first tools are lifted (including building the substructure) ensure that the products installation guide is fully understood otherwise the warranty may be void. They all vary slightly (i.e. joist spacing may vary anywhere between 350mm to 500mm) and are constantly changing so before commencing a new project review the installation guide. Most warranties require a warranty card to be filled in and returned to the supplier within 30 days of installation.
Manufactures introduced hollow boards to reduce the product cost, as they require fewer raw materials compared to the same size solid profile. But hollow profiles have an increased sur face area which if installed near water may lead to increased risk of failure as the surrounding atmospheric moisture may be absorbed in to the wood fibre making it swell and shrink putting pressure on the plastic resin (refer to manufactures guidelines). Solid boards have a reduced chance of absorption but can occur with some products. The hollow board requires more accurate installation due to specific fixing points; otherwise the fastener may weaken if installed incorrectly.
Embossing or brushing the deck sur face is the norm for this range of products. This removes lubricates used in the manufacturing process whist adding to slip resistance and appearance. One down side to brushing is the chance of stain absorption as the exposed wood fibre has the chance to suck up any red wine (or similar) to leave a permanent mark. Deck cleaner may be used otherwise it may require a light sand to remove the mark completely. To reduce chance of permanent marking look for smooth or embossed products that has not been brushed.
WPC decking products come in a great range of natural colours including every brown possible, light brown, honey brown, red brown, dark brown and greys. Literature will state WPC decking is colour fast and is fade resistant, but it never will state it will not fade. Therefore advise the home owner the decking will fade over the first 10-12 weeks before it settles down, the rate of fade and the extent of fading is dependent on the quality of the product.