How Is Composite Decking Made
Have you ever wondered how composite decking is made?
This popular alternative to traditional wood decking has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its durability and low maintenance requirements.
But what exactly goes into the creation of this innovative material? Composite decking is typically made from a combination of recycled plastic and wood fibers, which are mixed together and then molded into boards.
The result is a highly durable material that requires little upkeep and can withstand harsh outdoor elements such as rain, snow, and UV rays.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the process of making composite decking and explore some of the benefits it offers over traditional wood decking.
Introduction To Composite Decking
Composite decking is a popular alternative to traditional wood decking. It is made of a combination of wood fibers and plastic materials, which provides durability and longevity.
Unlike wood decking, composite decking doesn’t require staining or sealing, making it a low-maintenance option for homeowners.
The manufacturing process of composite decking involves mixing the wood fibers and plastic materials together with various additives. The mixture is then heated and extruded into long boards that are cut to size for installation.
The result is a product that looks like real wood but has the added benefits of being resistant to rot, insects, and moisture.
In addition to its durability, composite decking also comes in a variety of colors and styles to match any home’s aesthetic. Its eco-friendly properties make it an excellent choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact without sacrificing quality or style.
Overall, composite decking offers many advantages over traditional wood decking and has become a popular choice among homeowners looking for a low-maintenance option that will last for years to come.
The Raw Materials: Recycled Plastic And Wood Fibers
Now that we have a basic understanding of what composite decking is, let’s dive into how it’s made. The process of making composite decking involves several steps that work together to create a durable and long-lasting product.
Firstly, recycled plastic and wood fibers are collected as the raw materials. These materials are then cleaned and processed before being combined in a mixer. The mixture is heated to a high temperature, which causes the plastic to melt and coat the wood fibers thoroughly.
Once the mixture has been heated and melted, it is extruded into long, thin boards that resemble traditional wooden planks. The use of high-pressure molding ensures that each board is strong and resistant to wear-and-tear.
This manufacturing process produces an end product that has all the benefits of traditional wooden decks but with added durability and resistance to environmental factors.
Here are three reasons why composite decking is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners:
It requires less maintenance than traditional wooden decks.
It’s eco-friendly since it uses recycled plastic.
Composite decking is available in a wide range of colors and textures, giving homeowners more design options for their outdoor space.
As you can see, composite decking offers several advantages over traditional wooden decks, making it an excellent choice for homeowners who want a low-maintenance option that’s also environmentally friendly.
With its unique manufacturing process, this type of decking is sure to withstand the test of time while providing an attractive outdoor living area for years to come.
Mixing The Materials
Once the materials for composite decking have been gathered, they are ready to be mixed together. The process of mixing these materials is crucial in ensuring that the final product is sturdy and durable.
Typically, composite decking is made up of a mixture of wood fibers and plastic. To begin the mixing process, the wood fibers are first ground into small pieces. This allows them to blend more easily with the plastic material.
Once the wood fibers have been sufficiently ground, they are combined with the plastic material in a large industrial mixer. This mixer ensures that both materials are thoroughly blended together. The resulting mixture is then heated and formed into boards using specialized equipment.
The end result is a strong and durable composite board that can withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy foot traffic. By carefully mixing the materials together, manufacturers can create a superior product that will last for many years to come.
Molding The Boards
Creating the molds is a crucial step in the composite decking process. It’s important to get the sizing and shape just right.
Heating the material is the next step, and it needs to be done correctly to ensure the right consistency.
Once both of these steps are complete, the boards can be molded and cut for the desired shape.
Creating The Molds
Once the composite decking recipe has been formulated, the next step is creating the molds. These molds are responsible for shaping and forming the boards into their desired dimensions. Typically, manufacturers use thick sheets of metal to create the molds since they need to withstand high heat and pressure.
The process begins by designing a 3D model of the deck board’s desired shape and size. The mold-making team uses computer-aided design (CAD) software to create an accurate representation of the final product.
Once complete, this digital design is sent to a CNC machine that can cut out the metal sheets with laser precision. After cutting out all necessary pieces, they are then welded together to form a complete mold.
The welds are then sanded down until smooth, and any imperfections filled in with putty or epoxy. It’s essential that these molds are flawless as any dips or bumps will be transferred onto every board produced.
Heating The Material
Now that the molds have been made, it’s time for the next step in the composite decking manufacturing process: heating the material. This is a critical step in creating high-quality composite boards as it helps to activate the bonding agents within the material.
The material is usually heated in an industrial-sized oven, which can reach temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The time and temperature required will depend on the specific recipe used by each manufacturer, but generally, it takes around ten minutes for the material to reach its optimal temperature.
Once heated, the material becomes soft and pliable, ready for molding. The mold is then filled with the hot composite mixture and subjected to high pressure to ensure that it takes on the desired shape.
This process is called compression molding and involves using hydraulic presses to apply pressure of up to 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi) onto the mold.
Enhancing Durability And Longevity
As mentioned earlier, composite decking is made by combining wood fibers and plastic materials. However, to ensure its durability and longevity, further steps are taken during the manufacturing process.
Firstly, the mixture is heated and compressed under high pressure to form solid boards. This process not only ensures that the boards are dense and strong but also eliminates any air pockets that could lead to swelling or warping over time.
Additionally, manufacturers may add UV inhibitors and other additives to protect the decking from fading, staining, or other forms of damage caused by exposure to the elements.
With these enhancements, composite decking can withstand years of use without needing constant maintenance or replacement.
Benefits Of Composite Decking Over Traditional Wood Decking
By enhancing the durability and longevity of your decking, you ensure that your investment yields high returns for a long time. One way to achieve this is by using composite decking.
But how exactly is composite decking made?
Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fibers, plastic, and binding agents. The wood fibers are often obtained from sawdust or wood chips from lumber mills, while the plastic can be recycled polyethylene or PVC. These materials are then mixed together with binding agents to form a strong and durable material that can withstand harsh weather conditions.
The mixture is then heated and molded into various shapes and sizes to create the desired decking product.
Composite decking boards come in different colors, textures, and finishes to suit different tastes and preferences. This makes it an attractive alternative to traditional wood decking that requires constant maintenance to keep its appearance intact.
In the next section, we’ll explore some of the benefits of composite decking over traditional wood decking.
Maintaining And Caring For Composite Decking
As a proud owner of composite decking, it’s important to know how to maintain and care for it. After all, you want your deck to last for many years without any issues.
Here are some tips on how to keep your composite decking looking great:
- Regularly clean your deck with soap and water or a specialized composite deck cleaner.
- Use a soft-bristled brush when cleaning the deck to avoid any scratches or damage.
- Avoid using pressure washers as they can damage the surface of your decking.
In addition to regular cleaning, you should also be aware of any potential issues that may arise with your composite decking.
One common issue is mold growth, which can occur if there’s excessive moisture on the surface of the deck. To prevent mold growth, make sure your deck is properly ventilated and remove any standing water immediately.
Another thing to keep in mind is that composite decking can expand and contract due to changes in temperature. This means you should leave some space between boards during installation to allow for movement.
Additionally, avoid placing heavy items on your deck for extended periods of time as this can cause sagging or warping.
Remember, proper maintenance and care will go a long way in ensuring that your composite decking looks great for years to come!
In conclusion, composite decking is an innovative and eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood decking. By using recycled plastic and wood fibers, manufacturers create a durable and long-lasting material that requires less maintenance than its wooden counterpart.
The process of making composite decking involves mixing the materials together before molding them into boards.
One interesting statistic is that in 2019, the global composite decking market was valued at $2.33 billion and is expected to reach $3.07 billion by 2027 (source: Fortune Business Insights). This growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for sustainable building materials and the benefits that composite decking offers over traditional wood decking.
As a homeowner, investing in composite decking not only adds value to your property but also reduces your carbon footprint. Overall, choosing composite decking is a wise choice for both your wallet and the environment.