If you’re building a deck or any outdoor structure, you need to make sure to use the right material. While some materials are aesthetically pleasing, they may become warped, worn, or damaged depending on the climate you live in and the weather. As a result, more and more homeowners are moving away from using wood to construct their decks and porches, and are instead using synthetic materials like PVC foam board and composite decking. If you’re planning a new outdoor renovation, here’s what you need to know about the differences between these two materials.
Useful in a variety of applications, from siding to decks, composite cladding offers a natural wood look with superior weathering. Composite combines two different materials, often a wood and plastic, in order to offer the look and durability of traditional cedar decking without requiring as much work to maintain it. You will need to clean composite occasionally, but the maintenance is far less cumbersome than a traditional wood deck, as a monthly wipe down is usually enough to remove any dirt or blemishes from your cladding.
Unlike other treated woods, composite decking is also colorfast, because it’s made with multiple coats of staining which are baked into the material. This means that you don’t need to worry about the color of your decking fading with time, either. Composite cladding is also mold and mildew resistant, another benefit of choosing it over a truly natural substance susceptible to all kinds of fluctuations in temperature and moisture. You can walk on composite barefoot without worrying about splinters, too, which is great for families with young children.
PVC foam board
PVC foam board emulates a wood look, but is far less convincing than composite decking as it doesn’t contain any wood fibers. That being said, PVC foam board does offer some of the same benefits of composite cladding. For example, PVC foam board is just as easy to clean off with a hose or broom, just like composite decking. It is also a splinter-free material, so it is safe for families and for bare feet. PVC foam board is also resistant to mildews and molds, and is a durable choice for decks. Although it offers many of the same benefits as composite decking, PVC foam board is a newer product on the market, and, as a result, tends to be more expensive than composite options.
While some people may be willing to pay extra for PVC foam board, others may prefer that their deck looks more realistic and costs less. In those kinds of situations, it’s best to select a composite material for your deck. Personal preference will also play a role in your decision, as some people prefer the feeling of composite more than PVC. On the other hand, families may appreciate that PVC foam board is less heat absorbing, particularly if they plan on being on their deck in the summer when temperatures rise.
While PVC foam board and composite decking both offer a few similar benefits, there are a few differences that may affect your decision. Composite decking is the much more affordable option for a deck, and for most individuals, will offer all of the important strengths of PVC foam board, too. That being said, a home construction project often comes down to personal taste, too, so make sure to carefully weigh each pro and con prior to making a choice. Make sure to consider whether or not you want to have a deck railing for your new deck, too, as that may also play into how you make your decision. The best news is that if you’re looking for a durable, safe, and colorfast choice, both PVC foam board and composite decking will be able to get the job done.