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PVC Decking vs. Wood Decking: Why PVC Decking is a Top Choice for Your Deck

Deciding on the best material for your deck project can pose a challenge and may result in you researching the differences between PVC decking vs. wood decking. PVC decking, characterized by its remarkable durability, minimal maintenance requirements, and eco-friendliness, stands out as an excellent choice for many. Unlike its wood counterpart, PVC decking resists warping, rotting, and insect damage, making it a reliable option for enduring outdoor elements without the need for frequent upkeep. 

While concerns regarding the aesthetic appeal of PVC decking versus wood decking may arise, PVC often perfectly replicates natural wood grain and is available in a diverse range of colours for all tastes. For a comprehensive understanding of PVC decking’s advantages over traditional wood decking, continue reading. We will also provide insights into how PVC fares against composite decking to help you finalize which decking material is right for your project.

What Is PVC Decking?

PVC decking, or polyvinyl chloride decking, is a sustainable and high-quality alternative to wooden decking. Similar to composite decking, PVC decking differs from wood decking in that it is made with plastic and recyclable materials instead of wood.

Despite the differences in materials, PVC decking offers all the stylistic benefits of wood decking, including an authentic wood grain look with a variety of natural colours available. For example, Clubhouse Ultra PVC Decking is available in 10 different shades, from soft, gray-toned Brookstone and Clay to rich shades like Ipe and Walnut.

On top of its appealing appearance, PVC decking offers a range of benefits over wood decking, including superior durability, significantly reduced maintenance time and cost, and less susceptibility to damage from moisture, insects, mold, and mildew.

Overall, PVC decking is a popular choice among homeowners seeking a resilient and easy-to-maintain substitute for conventional wood decking.

8 Benefits of PVC Decking vs. Wood Decking

1. Highly Durable

As with composite vs. wood decking, a primary advantage of PVC decking over wood decking is its durability. This type of decking is highly resistant to problems that often affect wood decking, such as rotting, mold, and mildew, as well as insect damage. Since neither wood nor wood filler are not used in the deck boards, PVC decking won’t crack, warp, or splinter either.

These benefits result in fewer repairs needing to be done across the lifespan of the deck. It also means that PVC is very long-lasting, often having at least double the lifespan of a wooden deck. Many PVC deck products, like Clubhouse PVC, come with a warranty of 50 years or longer as well, ensuring several decades of usage before replacement is required. 

Lastly, PVC decking is extremely bendable and lightweight, much more so than wood decking. These characteristics mean you can use the decking in a range of designs without compromising durability.

2. Very Low Maintenance

Several durability benefits of PVC decking lead to the next advantage of PVC over wood decking: reduced maintenance requirements. As mentioned, PVC decking is less prone to issues like insect infestation, cracking, warping, and mold or mildew issues. By not being susceptible to these concerns, timely and costly repairs are also avoided.

In addition, PVC decking does not need to be re-painted, re-stained, or re-sealed whereas wood decking needs to be every one to two years on average. Instead, PVC decking typically only requires periodic cleaning with soap and warm water to maintain its pristine appearance. 

Many also find that PVC decking is considerably easier to install compared to wood decking, meaning installation is even quicker and less of a hassle than the installation of a wood deck.

3. Resistant to Moisture

Although falling under the umbrella of durability, this particular advantage of PVC decking is worth highlighting separately. PVC decks exhibit exceptional resistance to moisture, a quality that sets them apart from traditional wood decking.

Given that most decks inevitably encounter wet conditions, whether from rain, snow, or ice, this advantage is highly important. It ensures that your deck remains impervious to moisture-related damage and decay, sparing you the need for repairs or even replacement.

Additionally, the moisture-resistant nature of PVC deck boards makes them well-suited for installation around swimming pools or in regions characterized by high humidity and coastal climates, where exposure to moisture is inevitable.

4. Available in a Variety of Styles

Having covered some of the practical advantages of PVC deck boards over wood, it’s also important to see how PVC compares to wood in terms of design. Conveniently, PVC decking comes in a variety of colours, textures, and finishes, many of which highly mimic natural wood.

Clubhouse Ultra PVC Decking features natural wood grain details thanks to proprietary embossing technology. This results in decking that has the desirable appearance of wood decking without the maintenance and durability drawbacks. 

Clubhouse PVC Decking in Walnut

5. Better Colour Retention

As previously noted, when investing in PVC decking, you can discover a range of colours to suit every style preference. But how does the colour retention of PVC decking compare to that of wood decking? The colour of PVC decking remains vibrant for a longer duration and requires significantly less maintenance than wood decking.

PVC decking boards are much less susceptible to fading due to UV rays or other factors that are known to cause colour fading with wood decks. There’s also no requirement to re-paint or re-stain a PVC deck to preserve the colour of the boards and keep them looking like new.

6. Extremely Environmentally Friendly

Eco-conscious homeowners or those working on projects that need to meet sustainability targets will be pleased to learn that PVC decking boards are highly eco-friendly, much more so than most wood decking. 

A lot of PVC decking is made from recycled materials, therefore diverting this material away from landfills. The longer lifespan of PVC decks compared to wood decks also translates to reduced resource consumption for repairs and replacements. 

In addition, you can recycle many brands of PVC deck boards, including Clubhouse PVC, providing a sustainable solution for excess material from installation, or when it’s eventually time to replace the deck. This practice ensures that discarded decking material doesn’t end up in landfills, but rather can be repurposed into new products, mitigating the use of new, potentially environmentally harmful materials.

7. Excellent Safety Features

Among the most important advantages of PVC decking over wood is its safety features. Notably, PVC decking is engineered with slip-resistant surfaces, significantly reducing the risk of slips and falls, especially when wet.

Another safety benefit of PVC decking is not having to worry about splinters or loose and dangerous nails or screws. Clubhouse PVC additionally has military-grade heat-blocking technology and top-of-the-line heat dissipation features, ensuring that people (and pets) can walk across the deck barefoot even on the hottest day without concern. Clubhouse PVC deck boards are also superior to the competition, with boards staying up to 30% cooler than those produced by other low-maintenance deck brands. 

Lastly, PVC decking is generally not very flammable or a major fire danger. For example, Clubhouse Ultra PVC Decking has a Class A Flame Spread Rating, which means that it has undergone rigorous testing and has been certified to withstand heat from fire for significantly longer than deck boards with lower ratings. 

8. Lower Lifetime Cost

Many see the higher upfront cost of PVC decking compared to wood and go for a wood deck based on that perceived drawback alone. However, what really needs to be looked at is the lifetime cost of each type of decking, which is considerably lower with a PVC deck, making it a more cost-effective option over time.

Wood decks come with significant maintenance expenses, including the annual or biennial cost of sanding and re-painting, re-staining, or re-sealing the deck. There are also higher repair costs associated with wood decks and they have around half the lifespan of a PVC deck. 

Therefore, to accurately compare costs, you must at least double the upfront investment of a wood deck to match the upfront expenses linked to a PVC deck. You must also keep in mind the additional yearly costs associated with the upkeep of a wood deck that won’t be present if you invest in a PVC deck. 

Additionally, some PVC decking products, including Clubhouse PVC Decking, offer warranties that provide added value and peace of mind. A PVC or composite deck is often associated with contributing to a higher increase in home value compared to a wood deck as well. 

PVC vs. Composite Decking: What’s The Difference?

Along with wanting to compare PVC decking to wood decking, many wonder: “Is PVC decking better than composite decking?”

PVC decking and composite decking share many similarities along with a few key differences. Both composite decking and PVC decking boast remarkable durability, being resistant to issues like cracking, warping, mold, and mildew. PVC decking tends to be more resistant to these issues, especially moisture-related issues. This makes PVC decking a favourable choice for installations around pools, docks/marinas, and other areas prone to moisture exposure.

Conveniently, both PVC and composite decking are available in an extensive range of colours and finishes, including those that resemble wood grain. The colours on both types of decking are also highly resistant to fading and UV damage. While both materials require a higher upfront investment than wood (although generally a lower lifetime cost), PVC typically needs a slightly higher upfront than composite decking, something worth considering if you are on a strict budget.

Overall, choosing between PVC and composite decking depends on your needs and budget. Always research and compare the different materials, including looking at cost, style, and the installation process, to determine which type of decking is best for your project.

In Conclusion

PVC decking offers an ideal combination of durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal, often surpassing wood decking in these categories. PVC decking is also eco-friendly and cost-effective over its lifetime, making it an optimal choice for homeowners and those completing professional decking projects. 

If PVC sounds like the perfect decking material for you, explore our Clubhouse PVC offerings to begin the process of building your dream deck. For those inclined towards composite options, review our TruNorth Composite Decking selection to uncover the best option for your project.