PVC Decking Guide

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Choosing to add a deck to your property is an exciting decision. Adding a deck means increasing the useable space in your yard and having an area where you can expand your living space to the outdoors. Planning a deck can be intimidating also, however, since there are a lot of decisions. One of the biggest is what decking material to use. This is a decision that is impossible to make if you don’t understand your options. Read in for a guide to one option: PVC decking.

What Is PVC?

PVC, or polyvinylchloride, is the third most popular synthetic plastic polymer produced in the world. It is used in hundreds of applications, from piping to window cladding, to decorative elements like lattice. You likely already have multiple areas of your home that benefit from the use of PVC. Your deck is another area that could, if you decide it is the right decking material for your needs.

What Are It’s Benefits?

PVC is a completely synthetic plastic through and through, which makes it ideal for waterside decking. This is because there is no organic content at all, so there is nothing to mold or rot. This water resistance makes it a clear choice if you are building in damp environments. In a similar vein, the lack of organic material means you also don’t have to worry about insects. There is nothing for them to eat, so there is nothing to attract them at all. PVC decking is also resistant to fire, which may or may not be a top-level concern for you. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, or if you simply want to have a fire pit on your deck, this could be a deciding factor, however. PVC is also resistant to dents, and it is very easy to maintain without any high-cost activities.

What Are It’s Drawbacks?

First and foremost for most people, PVC has a higher upfront cost than traditional wood decking. This may well be balanced out over the years since you won’t have to shell out for annual maintenance as you would for other materials, but it is something to think about before making your final decision.  PVC is also subject to expansion and contraction with temperature changes (as many materials are). PVC should be carefully installed as instructed so there are adequate gaps to allow for this. Choosing a lighter decking color also helps limit this, since lighter colors absorb less heat. PVC also has the potential for chemical reactions (again, it is not the only material that does). Specifically, some bug sprays and suntan lotions can stain PVC and rubber, vinyl, or polypropylene backed rugs can have issues as well. Finally, PVC is not rated to be structural support for your deck, so you will still need wood posts and beams.

Free Deck Plans
and DIY Designs

Hundreds of DIY deck plans to choose from and download

Plan 2LM2614P10

This 2 level deck features a 10′ x 12′ top deck completely covered by a decorative pergola. The 16′ x 14′ bottom deck design casually

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Plan 1LL1412

This 14′ x 12′ deck features clipped corners, an overhead pergola, and a cascading staircase. The pergola provides shade and an element of enclosure over

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Plan 1LK2212

This 22′ x 12′ deck mixes things up with an angled front face and a central stair that follows the geometry of the undulating perimeter.

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