How does Composite Decking Compare to Ipe Decking?

Nov 25 08:11 2009 George Amarillo Print This Article

Learn the differences and pros and cons of composite decking and ipe decking.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about composite decking and ipe decking. Composite decking companies pay a ton of money to convince an unsuspecting public that their product is safe,Guest Posting reliable, and a good value. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, let’s cut to the chase. Ipe decking is a much better value, is more eco-friendly and will provide decades of enjoyment to you and your family. On the other hand, composite decking is pretty much going to be the exact opposite. It is a worse value, is not eco-friendly, and will give you and your family headaches.

If you need further proof, all you have to do is do an online search for “composite decking review,” “composite decking issues,” “composite decking problems,” and, worse yet, “composite decking recalls.” You will clearly see that there are numerous companies that would rather you part with your money over and over before they put out a truly reliable product free of defects and issues.  Since these companies insist on and continue to treat people like statistics, it’s time for everyone to know the truth.

Composite decking is prone to the following:

• Rot
• Decay
• Mildew
• Mold
• Fungus
• Disintegration

Why does composite decking have all these problems? Let’s take a look at the ingredients that make up this inferior deck material: plastic, wood fibers, and glue. Sure, the plastic used for composites are recycled, but the due to the recycling process, the plastic becomes weakened. Think about it. How can composite decking be more reliable when it’s made of reduced strength plastics that are exposed to the elements such as sun, rain, snow, and in certain environments, hail or extreme heat and humidity? Also, because of the wood fibers, composite decking is extremely porous. Simply put, it soaks up water very easily. This sponge effect leads to the mold, mildew, and rot issues. Don’t believe it? Just read some of the warranty info on composite decking. There are actually companies out there that tell you it’s your responsibility to keep your deck dry. So, let’s get this straight. They expect you to stand there at the ready immediately after it rains with some fans and towels to dry your deck immediately so that you can avoid mold? If you scoffed when you read that, you’re starting to understand the unreasonable and unsightly ways that composite decking companies go out of their way to market an inferior product.

Ok, enough about composite decking. What about ipe decking?

Ipe decking has been scientifically proven by the Janka Hardness test, the US Naval Laboratory and other institutions as a superior hardwood decking material. Here are the facts about ipe decking:

• 100% natural hardwood
• Ipe lasts for over a century with no maintenance required
• It is so dense and hard that it naturally resists mold, mildew, fungus, rot and decay
• Ipe decking can weather to a nice patina grey, or receive minimal treatments to keep its reddish brown color
• Ipe wood is now more affordable than composite decking

Finally, it’s important to touch on the notion that composite decking is more eco-friendly than ipe or other hardwood decking options. One, plastic, last I checked comes from petroleum, which comes from oil. The process of drilling for oil in the water and on land is one of the more environmentally destructive industry practices we have. Even if some composite decking comes from recycled plastic, to use plastic at all means that you are saying that those non-eco-friendly practices are OK, so long as the plastic ends up getting recycled. As we all know, that kind of logic just doesn’t connect, or make sense. What about ipe? Isn’t logging just as destructive? The fact of the matter is this. Over 80% of deforestation in the Amazon comes from cattle ranching, not logging. In addition, if you do your research into responsible companies that do practice and promote eco-friendly forestry you will find that for every tree that is cut down, there are many companies that will plant five new trees. I don’t see oil companies putting back the oil that they extract.

Ultimately, the final pro vs. con that many people like to mention is that composite decking is cheaper than ipe decking. This is also not true. Of course, you have to shop around. But, as you do, you will quickly find that because composite decking companies merely say that their products are eco-friendly, they have felt justified in raising their prices. As a result, you can now build with ipe decking for about the same or even less than the cost of a composite deck, without all the problems and future headaches.

Hopefully, these facts will help you make your decision easier. You can now move ahead with confidence and build a deck that will provide you, your family, and your loved ones with precious memories for years to come.

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George Amarillo
George Amarillo


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