Avoid Wood/Plastic Composite
Wood/Plastic composites are a mixture of plastic and sawdust or wood flour, extruded through a die into planks.
It has good rot resistance, and is often guaranteed for up to 25 years.
Wood/plastic composite has a similar look and feel to wood, partially due to the wood content which is around 55%.
We have considered supplying this type of product, but a couple of chance encounters with people who have used it discouraged us for the time being.
A man came to talk to us on our stand at Greenbuild Expo, Manchester 2012.
His 120 sq metres of wood plastic composite decking had been recently laid, and water had been absorbed by the wood component of the decking boards causing the whole deck to warp.
He asked if our 100% recycled plastic product would perform any better, which it will of course, as it is totally non-absorbant and frost proof too.
This warping was not covered by the warranty because, he was told, the boards had been laid incorrectly and should have been laid at a slight angle to avoid water standing for long periods on top of the boards. It was in the small print.
In June 2007 a UK Forestry Commission briefing note (read it here) had this to say about wood/plastic composites:
"It seems clear that the marketing of WPC products was over ambitious in its rot free claims and low maintenance.
In the USA, the promotion of WPC as rot free and not requiring wood preservatives was challenged as scientific evidence arose of the growth of decay fungi in WPC in service and the failure of WPC boardwalks in the southern states of America after a few years of service".
WPC can of course incorporate zinc borate wood preservative, though this addition of preservative is not ideal.
One of the many advantages of 100% recycled plastic is that it is completely waterproof inhibiting the growth of any type of algae or fungi.
Even if after some time a little green film does appear, it can be easily mopped off or jet sprayed.
Since there is no ingress into the recycled plastic and nothing can take root there to cause disintegration of the product.
It is no exaggeration to say that it will last more than 5 times longer than wood.
It will also of course last longer than wood plastic composite.