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Composite wood for my terrace

Composite wood for my terrace

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There is more and more composite wood on the market for exterior materials. What exactly is composite wood and how do you choose a quality product? Hervé Pelé, commercial sales manager at Deceuninck, answers all your questions.

What is composite wood made of?

It is a mixture of wood fiber and polymer. Wood fiber comes either from sawdust from several species of wood, or from fiber - long or short - from a single species of wood. Each wood having a different behavior, it is better to favor the fiber made of a single species of wood. As far as the polymer is concerned, it is either polyethylene, polypropylene or PVC.

What are the advantages of composite wood?

Composite wood is rot-proof (it resists parasites and fungi). It is non-slip. It is robust and flexible. It can therefore support a significant weight without deforming. It has no knots. The blades are therefore very straight and allow daring projects. He does not green. It does not change color over time. It doesn't split unless you screw it on. He is splinter-free. It is very easy to maintain. It supports cleaning with bleach and a high pressure cleaner. It does not need to be sober, oiled or saturated.

Does composite wood look like natural wood?

Composite wood especially looks like… composite wood! Wood lovers, who appreciate its patina over time, will prefer natural wood. Composite wood is well suited for contemporary terraces, in particular. It is available in many colors, including black, which is one of our best sellers today. With composite wood, you get the same heat as with wood. It smells like wood when you cut it. But the aesthetics depend on the manufacturer. Some products are a bit "plastic", others are not.

How to choose a quality composite wood?

We must first ensure that the wood comes from a single species. Then, if it is alveolar blades, the polymer must be PVC. If the slides are full, the polymer should be polyethylene or polypropylene. The expansion must be at least 3 mm per meter. The blades must be at least 26 mm thick to be very resistant. You also need to check the Vicat point, which is the degree to which the blades begin to soften. Below 85 °, it is not good. The warranty on the product must be at least 10 years. Some products, like ours, even have a 25 year warranty. If composite wood has PEFC certification, that's better, but few manufacturers have it. It is also necessary to look if the manufacturer offers a technical file to accompany the customer, that is to say an installation manual to avoid making mistakes. Indeed, composite wood does not arise like natural wood. It expands especially in length while natural wood expands in width. Composite wood must absolutely be fixed with a system of clips and especially not with screws because the material would risk splitting.

Are there standards for composite wood?

There is a standard "NF Composite Wood". And the Terrasses Bois Association (ATB) is in the process of implementing a new standard, which should see the light of day in the second half of 2012. It will be more rigorous than the current standard. It will notably take into account water absorption, abrasion, punching (that is to say the moment when the wood marks or breaks) and aesthetics.

What are the remedies if composite wood is installed incorrectly?

If you put it down yourself, you can only take it out on yourself. On the other hand, if you have called on an installer and there is a problem, there has been since January 2011 a DTU on terrace laying with a section on "polymer wood". This refers to insurance experts. Most of the problems encountered come from the fact that installers, who are used to laying wooden terraces, think they know how to install composite wood. However, the installation must take into account the fact that composite wood does not expand in the same direction as natural wood.

What is the price of composite wood per square meter?

For entry-level products, prices start at € 30 per m², but you have to make sure that the product is made from a single species of wood and that the Vicat point is correct. The mid-range is between 49 and 55 € per m². Finally, the top of the range starts at € 75 per m².

What products do you offer at Deceuninck?

Our composite wood is available in 8 colors and in two ranges: O-Terrace, for individuals, and O-Terrace +, for public places. Our blades are cellular, which makes them particularly solid. Our products are 28 and 32 mm thick. One of them is NF certified. Seven years ago, we developed a patented material called Twinson, PEFC certified. It contains 50% of Scots pine fibers and 50% of PVC and additives. All our products are reversible, with a different width of grooves on each side to vary the aesthetics. We are the only ones to offer lengths of 4.50 m and 6 m.

Where can you buy composite wood and especially Twinson?

Composite wood is found in wood specialists and in material traders. We currently have nearly 400 distribution points. To find out more or to find out where Twinson is sold: Photos to inspire or to dream… Discover "Decorative photos"