Ecoscape UK looks at the global growth of the composite decking market and how merchants need to be aware of the details that make one product differ from another.
The global market for composite decking was predicted to grow from £1.2 billion in 2015 to over £2.2 billion by 2020, and the demand for the product means that this prediction looks set to become a reality.
The USA is still leading the way, but the fastest-growing market for composite decking is the rest of the world, and we are certainly seeing sustained demand in the UK as people continue to appreciate the benefits of composite decking, many of which can be seen in our article Composite Decking vs Timber
When Ecoscape UK first began to offer Clarity and Forma decking the demand was largely led by the end-users, but after six years of education and promotion, merchants now recognise the value of offering composite decking alongside other timber ranges.
The qualities of composite decking make it a good choice for UK gardens, with its durability and resistance to splitting and rotting. The Ecoscape UK range of composites are built to last with many manufacturers offering lengthy warranties against staining and / or fading!
The products within our portfolio are also extremely low-maintenance: where timber decks will need to be treated regularly to prevent damage, composite boards can be returned to their pristine condition with a simple wash.
While timber boards will weather and silver over time, the majority of Wood & Plastic Mixed decking retains the same colour. The trend for garden rooms, bi-folding doors and open plan living has blurred the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces, where end-users want a consistent or complementary colour palette inside and out.
Our portfolio of products can achieve this, with a variety of colours, tones and finishes available that will last as long as the decking itself if properly maintained. In fact, the consistently strong sales of our Forma range in grey tones mirror the trend in modern interior design where grey is the neutral shade of choice.
While a large number of homeowners are installing decking for the first time, demand is also being driven by those who previously installed timber decking and are now looking to upgrade.
What’s more, we are seeing more and more commercial properties such as hotels, restaurants, designer outlets and more benefit from composite based materials such as decking, cladding and screening.
A BUSY MARKET PLACE
Many installers are now well-informed enough about the qualities of composite materials to be able to confidently recommend it to their domestic and commercial client base which is a testament to the efforts of composite decking suppliers like Ecoscape UK.
Ecoscape UK has invested a great deal in education, research, training and more to ensure all customers are provided with a in-depth knowledge of all composite materials offered.
However, as the composite market grows, more options are becoming available, and as in any competitive market, stockists must ensure that they are fully informed of the types of composite decking available.
Composite materials remain more expensive than timber, but there is now a broader range of price points within the composite market, thanks to this proliferation of new brands.
This can mean a baffling array of choice for both installers and end-users, and education remains important for decking suppliers and stockists, both of which have a vested interest in providing customers with a product that meets their expectations and requirements.
For example, composite decking boards are now available in both solid and hollow boards, with a marked difference in price point between the two options.
While it may be tempting for stockists to opt for a lower price point because they’re concerned the higher value products will be a tougher sell, the difference in the product quality is stark.
HOLLOW VS SOLID
When it comes to comparing hollow and solid composite decking there is a lot of negative literature written by competitors who specifically sell one or the other when in all honesty, both hollow and solid provide similar results.
Ecoscape UK has independent test results which confirm the stability, durability and longevity of our hollow profile composite boards. When making the decision you may find it important to consider the following facts:
Ecoscape UK boards have specially-engineered arched cavities resulting in a length that is not only 30% lighter than comparable solid decking, but also high strength and stiffness for high-performance applications.
“Art, and nature, even more, make use of these in thousands of operations in which robustness is increased without adding weight, as is seen in the bones of birds and in many stalks that are light and very resistant to bending and breaking” Galileo Galilei on the resistance of hollow solids (1638).
Our composites achieve a greater strength-to-weight ratio, ensuring no drooping or bounce, so boards feel solid underfoot. Similarly, there are different surfaces and finishes, with fully and partially capped or uncapped boards available.
Uncapped boards (Clarity Range) were the first generation of composites to be launched and is slightly less expensive than that of the capped Forma decking.
Fully capped boards such as the Forma range provide customers with a premium composite product that comes with more durability and higher resistance to the typically harsh UK weather.
Both products come with an impressive lifespan;
Clarity Decking is guaranteed for 20 years while Forma Decking is guaranteed for 25 years. As for the anti-slip properties, check out the below data;
Ecoscape UK were among the first UK composite decking company to use this method: co-extruding the interior and exterior in this way means the cap cannot lift or separate, and there is no way of removing it.
As the growth of the composite materials looks set to continue into 2018 and beyond, it is the duty of both suppliers and stockists to ensure the information and education about the range of products on offer, and the differences between them, is communicated to customers – installers and end-users alike.
Ecoscape UK composites achieve a greater strength-to-weight ratio, ensuring no drooping or bounce, so boards feel solid under foot.