Wood-plastic composite (referred to as WPC – wood-polymer composite) is a relatively new material that was originally developed in the United States in response to a shortage of solid wood. This advanced material, which feels like wood, is used for the production of cladding and patio systems or small outdoor (garden) furnishings wherever solid wood is used, particularly because of its easy workability and very low maintenance costs. It is probably most often used as a suitable surface for decking systems. Its maintenance is relatively simple, but requires specific steps to ensure that it is fully functional in the long term.
What is wood plastic
A wood-plastic composite is a blend of a thermoplastic matrix (i.e. a hot-formable polymer) and agglomerated wood (most commonly fibre or sawdust or wood flour). The combination of these two components translates into unique material properties, which are further enhanced by additives that affect the polymer matrix in particular. The material is thus UV-stable and colourfast and does not require treatment with coatings or other means. It can be exposed to adverse weather conditions (high temperatures, humidity, frost) and will retain its dimensions and appearance. Its maintenance is then similar to that required for plastic furniture, as the desired wooden appearance is provided by the filler firmly sealed in the matrix.
Maintenance of a wood-plastic patio
An installed wood-plastic patio basically only requires dirt removal, either with water or water and detergent. For effective removal of larger build-ups, apply a pressure washer that will also get into the creases (the terrace surface is usually treated with slip-resistant elements). Unlike solid wood, there is no need to sand the surface (use does not create scuffs or cause it to scuff) unless it is damaged by heat or mechanically (by cutting). In this case, it is sufficient to clean the surface gently.