In the trend: Decking boards from WPC


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WPC is the name of the wonder material from which more and more terraces are being built. What is behind it? The abbreviation stands for "wood plastic composites", ie a mixture of wood fibers and plastic. In fact, one has to take the term even further, because some of the novel planks contain natural fibers, but not necessarily wood, but sometimes fibers from paper or rice straw - the base material is in all cases the cellulose fiber, the building material of plant cell walls. The term NFC, which stands for "natural fiber composites", ie "natural fiber composites", is also used as an umbrella term.

The mixing ratio is usually 50 to 75 percent natural fibers and 25 to 50 percent plastic. In addition, WPC planks contain various additives such as dyes and UV blockers. The combination of different materials combines their respective advantages in the material WPC: The warm, wood-like surface structure with the insensitivity and easy care of plastic. In addition, most WPC can be made from waste products produced in wood or paper processing. As plastics, almost all manufacturers use only plasticizer-free, non-toxic polymers such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP).

WPC are not a wood substitute

The product designers are also a bit guilty that WPC still has a reputation for being a cheap wood substitute. After all, there are many brands on the market that are based on the natural building material in terms of color and surface structure. However, there are also products that deliberately separate themselves from the model of wooden planks in terms of color and design - thus underlining that WPC can be seen as a separate material. Incidentally, this also applies to their architectural effect, because a terrace made of WPC planks often fits better with modern building materials such as exposed concrete, glass and steel than a conventional wooden deck.

Cavity board ProFi Silver Green by UPM

Cavity board ProFi Night Sky Black by UPM

UPM's WPC hollow-core planks "ProFi Deck" consciously disassociate themselves from the wood look. Here are the shades "Silver Green" (left) and "Night Sky Black" (right)

WPC are easy to clean and durable

There are a variety of different products on the market and the reputation of WPC planks has suffered due to low-quality cheap goods from the Far East unfortunately something. Wrong, because brand manufacturers like UPM attach great importance to the quality and durability of their products.
High-quality WPC are superior to classic wooden decking in many respects: good branded products have a very long lifespan, which can certainly compete with the most durable tropical timbers. In addition, such WPC are insensitive to dirt, moisture and scratches. As far as stability is concerned, good hollow chamber profiles are in no way inferior to solid WPC planks. The top and bottom are connected inside with several vertical plastic webs. You can withstand it easily, for example, when a morning workout on the terrace a dumbbell falls to the ground. The advantages of such hollow-core planks: Less material is needed during production, and the decking boards are easier to transport and process due to their lower weight. In addition, heating cables and LED spotlights can be easily integrated.

Dirt does not collect

What to do with stains? WPC planks, such as UPM's "ProFi Deck" series, have a sheath that keeps contaminants on the surface and does not shrink. However, if, for example, spilled red wine or coffee, you should immediately remove the stains with water and a mild detergent. Do not use bleaching agents. For more stubborn stains, there are also special detergents on the market. Before you resort to other means such as a pressure washer, you should read the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning.

Dog on polluted WPC terrace

Who can be angry with him? You do not have to, because soiling can be removed easily and without residue on high quality WPC planks

Incidentally, on most WPC planks you do not need to apply glazes or oils for color refreshment, as is the case with a wooden deck. Although WPC planks become slightly lighter over the years, they remain largely color-stable even in old age and unlike solid wood planks they do not gray.

Tips for processing WPC planks

WPC planks are basically processed like wood, regardless of whether they are lightweight hollow sections or heavier solid planks. Since composite materials, in contrast to natural wood have only low manufacturing tolerances, laying a terrace with WPC is usually much easier than with solid wood planks. Bring the boards to the correct length with a saw and attach them to the substructure. One should fall back on the special installation systems of the manufacturers. The planks are usually fastened with special clip systems so that no screw heads interfere on the surface.Depending on the manufacturer, aluminum profiles as well as wood and special WPC profiles are used as the support structure. When installing a terrace made of WPC, always adhere to the manufacturer's installation instructions. In particular, it is important to ensure good ventilation of the construction as well as sufficient expansion joints, since some planks can expand in heat, especially in the longitudinal direction by several millimeters per running meter.

Rail Step: Angle profile for stairs and end edges

Hollow chamber profile with heating cable

The so-called "rail step" (left) is a special angle profile, with which one can easily integrate steps and edges into the WPC terrace. Hollow chamber profiles (right) can even be heated with special heating cables

By the way, manufacturers like UPM have special angle profiles for stairs or terrace constructions on different levels in the program, with which the steps can be made particularly appealing. The angle strips have a special profiling on the surface in order to minimize the risk of slipping. The visible end faces of the hollow section profiles are covered with special end caps to conceal the interior.

Foot-warming floor covering

Due to their wood fiber content, WPC planks are almost as warm on the floor as wooden planks. Hollow chamber profiles are also well insulated by the cavity in the interior against rising ground cold. However, dark coverings also heat up a lot in the blazing sun, which is why you should opt for lighter shades if you like to walk barefoot on your WPC terrace in the summer. With regard to the cold season, it is also possible to equip hollow-core planks with heating cables. This is for example in the vicinity of a swimming pool. By the way, another benefit of WPC comes to mind here: you can do it barefoot without kicking painful wood splinters into the soles of your feet.

Expert tips about WPC

Thomas Wilper

Thomas Wilper is an expert for terraces made of wood and WPC

Mr. Wilper, WPC is marketed as an uncomplicated, durable material. Is that true?

"Only if you follow the manufacturer's assembly instructions and if the manufacturer has described the product in detail and tested it in practice, but the information is very different and difficult to compare no problem."

What are the advantages over wood?

"A major advantage is the lower water absorption, which leads to better dimensional stability, less cracking and increased resistance to fungal attack." The addition of pigments makes the planks quite color-stable, with hollow profiles showing a slight lightening over the years often in the first three to six months something on and then remain color-stable.Also slight color differences are detectable and no reason for complaint.Other advantage: The surface can be described as barefoot suitable for most products.

What are the disadvantages?

"Floors with dark shades heat up strongly in the sunshine.WPC is not suitable for load-bearing constructions.With bars or balconies you can only use products with a building inspectorate approval (abZ)."

Which mistakes should you avoid when laying?

"The most common mistakes are too small distances to adjacent structures and lack of ventilation, the longitudinal expansion of the floorboards - up to five millimeters per meter - must be taken into account, and often faults are made in hollow floorboards, and they are at the level of the lawn without gradients Moisture will then penetrate and swell, but if the installation guidelines are followed, hollow chamber profiles are unproblematic and long-lasting. "

There are a variety of different WPC products. What should one pay attention to when buying?

"The properties of the WPC planks depend on the respective recipes and technical processes and are very different, but there is the quality seal of the" Quality Community wood materials. "The planks marked with them meet a certain standard and thus provide appropriate safety."

Video Board: Versa plank- Wood Plastic Composite Wpc Product Promotion.

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