What is WPC?
WPC stands for Wood Plastic Composite and WPC Decking or Wood Plastic Composite Decking is often referred to as simply ‘Plastic Decking’ or ‘Composite Decking’. It is an “Engineered Recycled Wood” .
DECKER products are manufactured by extrusion of a mixture of wood fibres (approx. 60%), recycled HDPE (approx. 30%) and additives including colourants, UV stabilisers and bonding agents, none of which are toxic or harmful.
What makes DECKER’s Wood Plastic Composite Decking even more unique?
Our DECKER Design 25mm range is generally thicker than most comparable Australian competitor 2nd generation decking. We now only sell solid decking; our experience with hollow decking has been mixed and in 2017 we took the decision to remove hollow products from our offering.
The additional thickness (most competitors are 22-23mm) makes all the difference in stiffening the boards, improving their longevity and firming them under foot.
Our DECKER Protect 23mm range is similar thickness but denser than comparable Australian competitor co-extruded, capped or 3rd generation decking.
Distinctively, our standard width is 140mm and our standard length is 3.6m.
Colour Range – why do you offer a broad range of colours?
Historically DECKER Design has been offered in four colours, which we have extended by adding a light beige (White Gold” and a darker grey (“Graphite”). We have found that our mid-grey Ironbark is our most popular colour by far, and interestingly is the least “hardwood like” looking. Composite decking can be manufactured in a range of colours so why stick to wood colours – just because outdoor flooring historically has been hardwoods, possibly with tints applied after installation, composite decking offers a designer colour choice for your outdoor living spaces, which we believe is becoming more important for customers. Often the feedback we receive from residential customers is colour is their primary choice factor.
Our DECKER Protect range has been introduced in five standard colours, but this has been chosen from a potential range of twelve manufacturing colours – so if you want a blue, green or orange, please ask.
The great thing about DECKER being so long in this industry is that we have learnt from others.
For example, we learnt many years ago that using bonding glue on composites will often result in the board coming loose over time and creating a ‘moving’ deck under foot. This is why our Invisi-clips are made to grab the boards tightly and do not rely on any glue to hold them.
Additionally, we have observed that attempts to manufacture hollow composites to reduce cost is actually a false economy in terms of the integrity of the product in the long term; which is why we now only sell solid decking and no longer market hollow composites.
We saw the failings of 5.4m boards over time especially in the US where they relied on face fixing and made a decision on this in 2012. We prefer 3.6m standard lengths and recommend against face fixing and using our “Invisi-Clip system instead.
How do you compare against the cheap composites on the market?
There are always cheap products that are made using flour, bamboo or plastics lacking the quality needed for guaranteed longevity but the reality is the consumer should compare apples to apples, or rather Decker to decking boards, as it were, and compare warranties.
DECKER Design is a 2nd generation uncoated composite decking product with an invisible fixing system. Some competitors supply square edged boards for face fixing; some have expensive fixing systems, like Modwood’s Klevaklip. Some boards require narrower maximum joist spacings.
Potential buyers should look at the per square metre costs including fixings to make a fair comparison on cost between product offerings. Decker will always provide you with a quotation (free of charge) if you request one to help you compare and budget.
DECKER Protect is a 3rd generation capped or co-extruded composite decking product, also with an invisible fixing system. Co-extrusion bonds a protective coating on the composite board and is a more expensive manufacturing process; hence a more expensive product but with added no fade no stain qualities over 2nd generation products.
Why are composites priced in so many different ways?
This just appears to be a confusion technique. Decker believe in transparent pricing, so if you would like our composites priced per linear, per square, per weight or in any other fashion; please let us know and we will oblige. It is important to always consider how much product you will need to get a comparable price – for example, our product is wider than most so you will need less boards for the same area, which saves on installation time. Similarly, our 25mm thick boards give a wide maximum joist spacing, reducing sub-frame materials and labour costs.
So, the total cost of the deck should be considered for true comparison. We normally quote a price per square metre as an indicator that is more easily compared to longer or narrower boards.
Why is your length offered at 3.6m standard, rather than 4.8m, 5.4m or even 6.0m?
We have been supplying composites for many years and we standardised on one size which will not be ideal for everyone all of the time but does suit the majority of our customers.
Longer boards up to 6.0m are driven by the maximum length of 20ft containers of around 6.1m for importation.
However, the reality is that with composites, each board will expand and contract based upon length, so boards longer than 3.6m need expansion joints between board ends and fixed objects should be bigger to account for the expansion on a per meter basis.
In addition, our products weigh between 3.7kg and 4.7kg per metre, meaning 3.6m boards are between 13kg and 17kg each. Two people can easily carry two boards together and a single board can be lifted for cutting and installation by one person. Longer boards would be much harder to manage, increasing labour cost.
Alternatively, we offer to customise lengths for larger projects when a specific length makes sense for the area to minimise cutting and installation time.
Do composites fade?
Yes, all uncoated or 2nd generation composites exposed to the sun will undergo some minor fading. It is possible for the colour to drop a few shades over the first three to six months and then the product will appear naturalised and fading halts.
Obviously, the degree of fading depends upon the extent of exposure to direct sunlight but we estimate fading or colour loss should not exceed 5%.
Note however that the embossed pattern may appear to fade more as the stamped grain look is initially darker and fades slightly more than the rest of the surface.
3rd generation co-extruded composite decking like DECKER Protect is designed not to fade.
How does Decker WPC compare to Wood for Cutting, Shaping and Drillling?
Wood Plastic Composite Decking cuts, is shaped and drills in a similar way to wood or timber.
You can use timber saws, wood routers and wood drill-bits when working with wood plastic composites. No special tools are required, although pre-drilling is recommended if using screws through the material.
When working with WPC, as with wood. be careful of flying waste and always wear protective clothing and glasses.
What are the benefits of the Invisi-clip hidden clip system?
Composite deck boards can expand and contract more than timber, therefore the decking boards move very slightly. Face fixing requires pre-drilling but the expansion and contraction places stress on the screws. The Invisi-clip system was designed especially to take stress away from the face fixing method.
As stated above, we understand that longer boards mean more movement overall, and we have chosen a shorter length, 3.6m as our standard. We understand that if you use our Invisi-clip system, not only does it look better and reduce injuries, but it takes stress points away from the timber so there is rarely any issue once it is down. No more injuries treading on a raised screw head on a board!
We recommend for warranty that there is a gap between the boards when running side by side of 4-5mm. This gap is recommended for drainage purposes as every deck should have (including timber). The Invisi-clips are designed to automatically create this gap within our guidelines.
We recommend avoiding face fixing or gluing boards in place where possible. You can use Plastic T Invisi-clips if your concern is being able to remove a single board at some stage in the future. We also provide Starter Clips for fitting the first and last board when there isn’t another board to clip into.
Can DECKER’s Composite Decking be fitted around pools and or salt water?
Yes, absolutely. Decker’s composite decking is moisture resistant; however, it should be noted that composite products are not designed to be immersed in water for long periods (i.e. weeks.) as damage and swelling may occur. Our solid composite decking products is a really good choice surrounding pools and or salt water environments.
Can DECKER's WPC decking be fitted direct to concrete or tiled patio or alfresco?
No, not directly but indirectly works providing there is a minimum clearance over the solid surface of 50mm, to allow for ventilation and evaporation or dispersal of moisture.
We supply wood plastic composite (WPC) joists designed to be fixed directly to a solid concrete or tiled surface The decking boards can then be laid across the joists (spaced at 450mm or less).
If greater heights are required, we recommend Pedestals, which are plastic adjustable height posts designed to rest on the surface and hold a joist frame for the decking.
Generally, a slight fall of the underlying concrete or tiled surface or alternatively the decking surface is recommended to allow moisture to run away. (Note: All Hollow WPC or composite decking will degrade if moisture remains in the voids. )
If a decking board on your deck later requires replacement , what can I do?
We always recommend that you order and keep a few spare boards just in case something unforeseen happens and then damaged boards can simply be replaced.
We sometimes receive requests for extra boards where our product range has moved on and we can’t offer a direct replacement – so not allowing for extra boards when ordering can occasionally be a false economy
Note: If the DECKER Design boards have been kept out of the weather, it may take 3 to 6 months for the boards colour to match the rest of the deck.
Is DECKER WPC Decking hotter than wood or timber because of plastic content?
We don’t think so but we haven’t done any testing.
Our view, based upon research (Modwood) and experience, is that wood plastic composite decking is not materially different in temperature than an equivalent colour of timber, whether stained, varnished or virgin. We believe colour is the most important factor, and darker colours retain more heat than lighter colours.
Would you actually walk barefoot on a timber deck on a really hot summer’s day?