Combining the natural beauty of wood with the strength of durable recycled plastic, it’s no wonder composite wood is becoming ever more popular with home and business owners across the world. If you’re completely new to composite wood, and want to know if it’s right for your project, then read on. In this handy beginner’s guide, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about composite wood material – including what it is, the available types, its benefits and its applications. 

What Is Composite Wood?

Composite wood is a man-made product formed by mixing together recycled wood and recycled plastic, as well as resin or bonding agents and UV stabilisers. Produced under high heat, this creates a highly durable wood plastic composite material with a wealth of advantages – while displaying the authentic appearance of natural wood.

What Are the Benefits of Composite Wood?

The unique blend of recycled plastic and wood gives composite wood many desirable properties.

The benefits of composite wood include:

  • Anti-slip 
  • High strength 
  • Durability 
  • Mould and fungus resistance 
  • Does not warp, rot or twist 
  • Stain-resistance 
  • Long life 
  • Minimal water absorption 
  • Low maintenance 
  • Splinter-free 
  • Easy installation 
  • Hidden fixtures and fittings 

These desirable traits mean that composite wood is able to withstand all weathers, making it particularly suited for an outdoor environment. Let’s take a closer look at the applications.

The 4 Main Applications of Composite Wood 

  • Outdoor decking: The primary place that composite wood is used is in the creation of outdoor decks for both commercial and domestic spaces. Whether you own a restaurant, beer garden, or want to treat your own home to a dedicated outdoor living space, composite decking is a popular choice – thanks to its durability, long life, anti-slip properties, and resistance to mould.
  • Outdoor furniture: Benches, garden chairs and other types of outdoor furniture can be crafted from composite material. Outdoor furniture needs to be designed to weather all conditions, which is why composite wood is often chosen to make these pieces. Being splinter-free and resistant to mould are particularly useful for this application.
  • Fencing: When erecting a fence, users are searching for longevity, beauty, low-maintenance and resistance to the outdoor elements – traits that composite wood can offer.
  • Landscaping: Whether you’re creating a flower bed or need some edging and borders laying down, composite decking can do the job. Not only does it look beautiful for landscaping purposes, but it also will last for many years with minimal maintenance.

Are There Different Types of Composite Wood?

Depending on which supplier you opt for will depend on the types of products on offer. There are many variations of composite wood and with that comes a range of qualities. Be mindful to check test data, in particular anti-slip and strength ratings, to ensure you’re getting a premium quality composite wood product.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of composite boards: hollow and solid. The difference between hollow are solid boards are:

  • Hollow: Generally cheaper than solid boards, the hollow alternative is suited to those with limited budget. Hollow boards are perfect for residential and light commercial use and are fixed with a hidden clip fixing system.
  • Solid: This board has a higher density than the hollow type, granting it greater durability, strength and longevity. The solid boards are fixed with colour-coded screws.

How Do I Choose a Supplier?

Before choosing your decking, it’s best to order a free sample from the company you’re considering to see if it’s of the right look and quality that you’re seeking. Here at SAiGE Composite Products, we can send samples of all our composite products so you can handle the material up close and perform your own quality checks before placing a full order. This means you know exactly what you’re getting before you buy. Also, we highly recommend looking at a company’s test reports, paying special attention to the anti-slip and strength ratings to ensure you’re purchasing a durable, long-lasting board.

How Do I Install Composite Products?

Installation will depend entirely on what the application is and the manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, a multi-level deck may require an installer to attend your property and carry out the job for you. On the other hand, and depending on your DIY skills, a fence or edging may be something you can achieve yourself.

Either way, composite products have been designed to be easy to install, complete with hidden fixtures and fittings for a seamless finish. This makes it a straightforward installation for whoever is carrying out the job.