What is Better PVC or Composite Decking (Plastic Decking vs Composite Decking)

When you first think of decking, you might immediately think of the traditional wooden decking that was once so popular. But, now this classic decking has become less common, and modern alternatives have grown significantly in popularity.

In particular, PVC and composite decking have both become widely sought after. 

What is Better PVC or Composite Decking (Plastic Decking vs Composite Decking)

Both PVC and composite decking have their similarities, but there are some major differences between these two types of decking. People tend to opt for these styles of decking over the classic wood because they require less maintenance. But which is the better option? 

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at both PVC and composite decking to identify which is the best option. So, if you want decking for your home, but are torn over which type of decking to choose, read this to find out which is the best for you. 

What is PVC Decking?

As its name suggests, PVC decking is plastic decking made of polyvinyl chloride. Decking that is made of PVC is usually dyed to make it look like wood, but it actually contains absolutely no wood.

Some people do not enjoy the appearance of PVC, and think it looks completely unlike wood, but others enjoy it because it is a maintenance-free version of classic decking.

That being said, PVC decking does tend to be a more expensive option. But, you will recoup the money spent on PVC decking very quickly when you take into account how hard-wearing and low-maintenance it is. 

What is Composite Decking?

Another popular low maintenance option is composite decking. But, composite decking is very different to PVC decking. Composite decking is made using a variety of different materials, including plastic, wood fiber, and binding agents.

The combination of these ingredients allows the composite decking to look very like wooden decking, but it is much stronger and denser than wood decking. This ensures that it is a lot more durable than wood decking alone.

This also makes it less-maintenance and easier to look after, which is why it is such a popular choice for decking. 

What is the Difference between PVC and Composite Decking?

Now that we’ve taken a look at both PVC and composite decking, let’s take a look at the differences between these two materials. As we have mentioned, in a lot of ways, PVC and composite decking are very similar to one another while also being completely different to each other.

This is mainly because of the way in which they are produced. 

PVC decking is plastic decking. This plastic decking is made of non-recyclable materials, but this ensures that the material will last. Whereas composite decking is made up of lots of different materials, most of which are recycled.

The plastic components of the composite are often taken from recycled plastic bags, buckets and bottles, and the wood fiber is often collected from industrial wood waste. 

But, these two types of material have one major thing in common, and that is that they are both synthetic. Composite decking has existed since the late 1980s, but PVC decking is a lot more recent, only really entering the market in 2005.

So, it is clear that both PVC and composite decking are excellent options. But which is the best? Let’s take a look. 

PVC vs Composite Decking 

If you are considering adding a decking to your garden, then you might be weighing up whether you would prefer PVC or composite decking. To help you out, we’re going to compare PVC and composite decking in order to decide which is the better option. So, let’s get started. 


One of the most important things to consider when choosing which decking is best for you is safety.

When it comes to your home, safety is incredibly important, so the type of decking that you choose should always be safe. In particular, one of the main safety concerns for decking is the risk of slipping. 

If you have young children and are particularly concerned about this happening, then composite decking is the safer option.

PVC decking is 100% plastic, and this makes it a lot more slippery when wet. But, composite decking is made of plastic and wood, and this makes it a lot less dangerous, in terms of slipping. 


If you want the classic decking finish, then you might be wondering which of these options is the best to achieve this. Traditionally, both composite and PVC decking were very far away from the classic decking appearance that you desire.

But, they have come a long way, and now you can achieve a very wood-like appearance with both composite and PVC. 

But, if you want a more authentic wood finish, then composite decking would be the better option. As we said earlier, composite decking is actually made using wood fiber, and this actually makes composite decking look more like wood than PVC decking. 


Another thing that you might want to consider when thinking about decking is which material expands/contracts more with water and temperature. This is a major concern when it comes to real wood decking, so are PVC and composite decking also affected by this? 

Pretty much all materials will expand and contract with heat and moisture. PVC and composite decking is no different. Both of these materials are affected by temperature, in particular, but PVC is more vulnerable than composite.

This is because it is solely made of plastic, whereas composite is made of plastic and wood. So in this category, composite once again comes out on top. 


In short, from our analysis, it seems that composite decking is the better choice out of this and PVC. PVC decking is still an excellent choice, but in terms of appearance, safety and shrinkage, composite comes out on top.

If you are investing money into decking, you want to know that it is safe at all times, and you want to ensure that it always looks good. Composite decking gives you the best chance at achieving this.