Environmental consciousness is commonplace in British Columbia. From reusable water bottles to electric cars, Vancouver-area residents care about buying eco-friendly. And when it comes to building and renovating homes, Vancouverites maintain our eco-conscious consumption. But while there are numerous building products on the market that claim to be ‘green’, it’s sometimes hard to know which products live up to the earth-friendly claims and which ones are eco-duds. As deck experts and fellow eco-minded consumers, Citywide Sundecks is here to weigh in on the most environmentally friendly decking material.
Environmental pros and cons of common deck materials
Many deck materials claim to be environmentally friendly and many are, to varying degrees. At Citywide Sundecks, we install wood, composite, vinyl, and liquid decking. Each of these popular deck materials has environmental pros and cons:
Pros – Wood is natural and compostable. At the end of a wooden deck’s lifespan, it rots and becomes harmlessly part of the ecosystem once again.
Cons – Timber’s organic nature requires it to be coated for protection from the environment. Harsh chemicals in stain, sealant, and paint can be damaging to the environment and are usually required annually.
Pros – composite (wood mixed with plastic) lasts longer than traditional wood, never requiring painting or stainings and is made from recycled materials.
Cons – This mixed material can’t be recycled at the end of its lifespan. Manufacturing can require excessive energy and water.
Pros – This PVC based material is long lasting (up to 30 years) and takes up much less landfill space than its composite counterpart.
Cons – This material is non-recyclable and requires significant energy in manufacturing.
Pros – Liquid deck coatings, generally urethane-based, are long-lasting and easily repaired. When the coating is worn, rather than needing to remove the material, another coat is simply added. This saves tons of waste.
Cons – Liquid coatings are chemical, some properties are toxic in the liquid form, disposal of unused material requires special processing to protect the environment.
The most environmentally friendly decking
The materials mentioned above have varying issues for the environment ranging from inability to recycle, energy inefficiency, short lifespan, the volume of waste, and toxic chemical concerns. There is one material, that overcomes all these shortcomings while looking fantastic in any home: Cellular PVC.
Cellular PVC, marketed as a composite deck material, is 100% PVC. Unlike traditional composite decking, it’s 100% recyclable. At Citywide Sundecks, we install the cellular PVC brand, AZEK.
Through our years of experience in deck construction and restoration, we’ve seen a lot of different decking materials and brands. Above them all, AZEK stands out for their research-based sustainable manufacturing and beautiful product.[widgetkit id=”48″ name=”The Most Eco-Friendly Decking Material: AZEK Cellular PVC”]
Each year, AZEK Building Products reduces the amount of trash sent to landfills by recycling and reusing the majority of waste material during manufacturing. The AZEK Deck line is manufactured from up to 36% recycled material.
Annually, over 100,000 trees are saved by using AZEK cellular PVC products over wood or composite decking. Not only is their product helping forests, but the company recently drove a successful #sharesfortrees campaign for Earth Day, donating $5k for 5,000 planted trees through the National Forest Foundation.
AZEK is safe. Made without the use of urea or formaldehyde, AZEK Building Products are certified by the National Green Building Standard (NGBS).
Beyond being an environmentally-friendly choice for any homeowner, AZEK has many other benefits. It’s one of the most durable, low maintenance, and beautiful materials used in decking. Unlike composite or timber decking, it holds up when in direct contact with soil or water for extended periods of time. Because it’s entirely plastic, it can be heated and molded into incredible curved and circular designs for one-of-a-kind results.
If you’re considering a new deck and are interested in a beautiful, durable, environmentally friendly product, consider AZEK.