WPC decking is a great alternative for creating outdoor spaces around the home. They are inexpensive and very easy to install. In contrast to tiled or paved terraces, WPC decking is extremely undemanding. This applies both to the preparation and to the processing of the materials. In addition, they are very durable and pleasant to walk on. This makes the WPC tile the ideal product for the price-conscious do-it-yourselfer.
What is WPC?
Fast, practical and easy: lay WPC floorboards
WPC means “Wood Plastic Composite” and means that they consist of a mixed material (compound) of wood dust and plastic particles. Polyethylene (PE) is mainly used as plastic . These not only produce good material properties.
In addition, they can also be used thermally very well:
Polyethylene breaks down into carbon dioxide and water vapor when it burns. This makes the WPC planks with PE plastic ecologically harmless . Anyone who has reservations about installing plastic floorboards for environmental reasons can simply ask the retailer for a PE-WPC floorboard . Another plastic used is PVC , which is polyvinyl chloride. This is much more difficult when it comes to disposal. In addition to the WPC planks, there are also BPC planks. Instead of wood, these have bamboo shavings and sawdust as filler.
Advantages and disadvantages
The WPC floorboards are the cheaper alternative to the solid wood floorboards. However, solid wood floorboards have numerous disadvantages, so that their use should be carefully considered: wood warps, splinteres, absorbs water, rots and the color runs. The WPC planks can partially compensate for these disadvantages. However, they are not entirely harmless.
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The advantages of WPC boards:
- constant quality in diameter, wall thickness, color
- consistent product properties
- easy processing
- very durable and weather-resistant
- barefoot suitable
- large color selection
- easy to maintain
- only minimal substructure required
- easy to assemble
- to be dismantled without residue
- suitable for installing electrical components
The disadvantages of WPC planks:
- Product containing plastic – only conditionally suitable for environmentally conscious customers
- strongly fluctuating product quality at the manufacturers
- limited carrying capacity
Laying WPC – instructions
Laying out a terrace with WPC decking – step by step
The particular advantage of WPC planks is that they are extremely easy on the foundation. They can be laid practically directly on the meadow. Simple paving slabs made of concrete are sufficient as a foundation for a terrace in the garden. The old washed concrete slabs with an edge length of 30 cm are perfect for this. They offer a large support surface, weather resistance and the feet of the substructure cannot slip off. Ideally, however, at least the turf is removed. This prevents grass and weeds from growing through the terrace.
First you need to create the terrace . You can plan the terrace in the garden or on a house wall, WPC boards are suitable for any type of installation. Prefer a terrace with straight edges. Laying the decking is particularly easy. Curved contours are possible, but very expensive to produce.
Lay the WPC floorboards on the substructure that the manufacturer supplies. This substructure consists of a beam and adjustable feet. Here it is important to know the distances and to keep to them before setting up.
To install decking you need:
- the crossbeams are laid at a distance of 30 cm
- the feet can be set a distance of 50 cm
- the cross beams are installed with an overlap of approx. 30 cm
This results in the pattern of paving slabs that you need to install to lay the decking . Measure the foundation plates exactly, the less correction work you have afterwards.
When laying WPC planks, it is important to pay attention to the slope . The floorboards should have a gradient of approx. 2° in the longitudinal direction . In the transverse direction, on the other hand, they must lie straight. Without a slope, puddles form on the terrace. Dirt collects there or slippery black ice surfaces form in winter. If the gradient is laid in the transverse direction , dirt constantly collects in the grooves and cannot drain off. The grooves quickly fill up, then a growth of moss and lichen forms.
However , if the slope is correctly set up when laying out the terrace, the rainwater runs off quickly and cleanly along the grooves and takes all dirt particles with it. A correct slope guarantees the self-cleaning of the terrace. Of course, the slope is always led away from the house wall. If a mistake is made when laying out the terrace, the living room will fill up with water every time it rains.
The gradient is adjusted using the rotatable feet of the substructure. To do this, first screw all the swivel feet in all the way to the smallest distance. Then unscrew the foot closest to the wall of the house completely or adjust it so that the upper edge of the floorboard connects to the window reveal. Now go to the other end of the lower beam and turn the swivel foot out there as well.
A gradient of 2° means:
For every meter in length, the beam must lose 2 cm in height. With a beam with a standard length of 2.50 meters, this results in a drop of 5 cm over the entire length. To do this, place a second beam of the same length on the base beam and on this, in turn, place a spirit level that is as long as possible . Now raise the upper bar until the spirit level shows “Straight”.
Now measure the distance between the beams. Adjust the swivel foot that is removed from the house wall until the correct slope is reached. Then unscrew all the other swivel feet until they are just resting on the paving slabs. Do the same for all other bars. Also measure in the transverse direction to avoid installing a rocker.
The substructure must be laid in such a way that it does not protrude beyond the wooden beam at any point. WPC planks are not very rigid and break off easily .
Once the substructure is complete, you can start laying the WPC floorboards . To do this, start on the outside, i.e. the point furthest away from the house wall. The decking boards are attached to the substructure with clips and screws.
TIP: Never screw directly into the wood of the substructure, but pre-drill each screw connection. Work with two cordless screwdrivers, which saves you the hassle of switching from bit to drill and back.
When laying the terrace floorboards , work “end to end” until you have reached the house wall or the end of the desired terrace area. Lay the last WPC planks. Laying the last WPC planks is only a bit tricky at first glance.
Basically, it’s very simple:
1st step: DO NOT screw the penultimate board, just lay it on. Allow the plank to overhang at the sides.
Step 2: First, cut off an end plank of the right width with a circular saw. A circular table saw is ideal for a straight house wall, as it guarantees a straight cut. In the case of a curved finish, first draw the course of the contour on the finishing board using a block and a pencil. Then saw the plank to size with a jigsaw.
3rd step: Lay the finishing plank next to the penultimate plank
4th step: Now push the screw shoes into the groove, in the right number for the beams of the substructure.
5th step: Lay the penultimate board and the end board completely on the substructure.
6th step: Use the drill to move the screw shoes along the groove until they sit exactly over the beams of the substructure.
7th step: Fix the screw shoes to the substructure by drilling and screwing
8th step: Fix the end plank on the other side to the substructure as well. As with the first plank, you have to drill through the plank. The trade offers plastic caps in matching colors so that the screw heads are well concealed.
Beautiful terrace in the garden with WPC boards:
As you can see, WPC planks are not only practical , durable and safe. Their installation is also particularly simple . We hope you enjoy your new terrace in the garden made of WPC decking.