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IHR Archive Blog What Are Composite Timbers?

What Are Composite Timbers?

Composite timbers are a type of construction material that is made from a combination of wood fibres (sawdust), plastic and various binding agents. This makes it a lighter, stronger and more durable alternative to natural wood.

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It is also resistant to rot, termites and mould but doesn’t require the ongoing maintenance that real timber does. It doesn’t need painting or staining and can be cleaned easily using soap and water.

There are several types of composite timber, all with their own specific qualities and properties. For example, some are softer than others and can be easier to cut with a saw or a jigsaw. Some are engineered to be more resistant to fading and stains and have been formulated to expand and contract with the weather.

The wood fibres in a composite timber board can be hardwood, rice husk or saw dust and the type of wood fibre used will affect the overall quality and durability of the product. Similarly, the type of plastic component is often HPDE (high-density polyethylene) or PVC.

Some composites are capped at the ends, which helps to keep moisture out of the boards and reduces rot and termites. The end caps are usually coloured and can be shaped to match the board. Capped composites are more expensive than non-capped decking, but they offer a long warranty against fading and stains.

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