Wood-plastic composite (WPC) decking has been a story of rapid growth in the past seven or eight years, with most merchants and distributors having at least one range of the product to offer to customers.

Naturally, the move to working at home trend over the past two years has boosted garden products, including WPCs, in decking and cladding applications, with fencing also tipped to be a big growth area.

Last year, TTJ estimated WPC’s share of the new decking market (by volume) at around 20%, which may have been slightly too high, with latest estimations from market players putting the share at 15-20%.

The Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) says getting an accurate estimation for WPC decking’s share of the overall market is difficult. Its current estimate is that WPC decking has a market share of around 15%. Its last official estimate was 12% in 2018.

“It would have grown since then, with a very big boom last year with people investing in home and garden products,” said Janet Sycamore, TDCA director.

The more advanced US WPC market is at 20-22% market share.

“We see signs of WPC growth continuing, but timber decking has also grown,” said Ms Sycamore. “It’s been a fantastic market in the last 18 months. Good performance and good aesthetics are very important to buyers. If you get these two things right then it’s bingo!”

However, the TDCA has noticed some poorer quality WPC products finding their way onto the market, with reports of some performance issues.

Ms Sycamore said the association has developed a product approval scheme for WPCs to give confidence to buyers.

“We have had a couple of expert witness cases where we would go and inspect installations [due to reported performance problems],” she said.

She estimated the TDCA was asked to be involved in about 6-10 cases a year.

So far three or four companies have applied to the TDCA WPC product approval scheme, which has a full set of data requirements that need to be satisfied. WPC suppliers need independent third-party testing demonstrating performance in regard to factors such as slip resistance, falling mass impact, flexibility and moisture resistance.

The advent of Brexit and the pandemic delayed the scheme, as companies had a lot of issues to deal with in this time, but the TDCA predicts it will move forward in 2022.

Ms Sycamore says the WPC market is in great need of such an industry association-backed scheme to give confidence to buyers. Once one company is approved, she added, others companies are likely to want to follow.

The TDCA says UC4 treated softwood joists are being used in the majority of WPC decking installations, with incised and treated pine being specified for some projects for longer life.


Composite Prime, a leading importer of WPC products, reported great demand in 2021.

“In 2021 we grew 100% over 2020 and sample requests were up 250% on the previous year as well,” said sales director Charles Taylor.

“There is still a tremendous momentum on garden products, especially on the landscaping side. We found a lot of our pro installers were still being booked up six to nine months in advance in 2021. There was a dip in June and July when everyone was thinking of going on holidays but demand then kept going into the winter.”

Mr Taylor says feedback from the trade put composites overall growth in 2021 at about 40%. “That’s what we are hearing,” he said.

“We made sure in 2021 that we kept plenty of stock on the ground.”

He believes 2022 is looking buoyant, citing sample requests up 100% on last year.

“Some people didn’t get the chance to do their garden, or were put off by increasing timber prices and delayed their projects.”

Mr Taylor recently attended the International Builders’ Show in Florida, where predictions were made that the garden products market would continue growing for the next five years, buoyed by multiple factors, such as the advent of pizza ovens, outdoor kitchens and patio heaters.

“People realised in the lockdown it was quite nice entertaining in the garden. The hot tub market has gone up 1,000%.”

In terms of products, HD Cladding Pro was Composite Prime’s most popular sample request in Q4, 2021 due to specification for garden offices and garden bars.

“People are starting to decide to spend extra money and go for the longevity of products and enjoy the garden rather than having to maintain it.”

The growth of outdoor spaces in the hospitality sector was also a boon in the pandemic.

“People are also starting to see the benefits of having the product as a fence,” Mr Taylor added. “That seems to be where the market is going.”

He conceded the product was expensive in fencing applications, but consumers were valuing its aesthetics and colour.

“Some people are spending £10,000-30,000 on their garden and they have got used to working from home.”

Composite Prime will be launching a specific fencing product soon.

The company’s HD Protect tape, which is applied to the top of softwood deck joists to increase durability, is selling well.

“A lot of merchants don’t understand the necessity for it, but in the US that decking tape market is worth about US$200m,” said Mr Taylor.

The tape, he explained, was a good, affordable way to achieve added protection for softwood treated joists.

Composite Prime is finding a big uptake in its pro installer network, with most consumers wanting a supply and install contract. The installers’ high workload, Mr Taylor added, had led to longer lead times in 2021, which resulted in some clients holding off projects temporarily.

In terms of colours, Composite Prime says grey is still favoured by architects, with a shift to the natural look. A natural oak colour was launched by the company last year.

On the cladding side, its cedar-coloured product is proving popular due to its variations of colour tone, making it appear like real cedar wood. The increase in cedar prices had also made the WPC product cost competitive.

Elsewhere, Composite Prime is planning to launch a board with a specific clip installation system into the US market. HD Protect tape will also be targeted at the US.


Piveteaubois, a leading French softwood sawmiller and industrial manufacturer of timber solutions for the construction, garden and landscaping sectors, has made a move on the WPC market by partnering up with well-established WPC manufacturer Sylneo.

By doing so it will be promoting high performance, aesthetics and environmental credentials to the UK market.

Sylneo, established in 2006, is one of the largest WPC manufacturers in France and it sources its wood waste product content from Piveteaubois’ sawmills.

Sylneo WPC products are made from 60% PEFC-certified French softwood and 40% polypropylene (PP) from companies committed to sustainable development.

Today Sylneo products are made with 80% recycled materials, with a target to reach 100% in 2025, while they are also glue, chlorine and additive-free.

Piveteaubois says a 50m2 area of Sylneo decking stores the equivalent of a typical family car’s CO2 emissions for a whole year.

The quality control tests for the products are performed as per the European standard WPC EN15534-5 and as per the FCBA CTB (The Technological Institute for Forest Cellulose Wood-Construction & Furniture), covering colour retention over time, mechanical strength, moisture take-up of the material and risks of slipping, while dimensional stability of products comply with the BS EN 15534 European Standard.

Sylneo is one of the denser products on the market due to its use of PP, often used to make car bumpers. Quoted advantages include longer centre distance for joists and better resistance to heat.

“We are excited to bring our range to the UK, championing the use of timber and working together for a truly sustainable construction industry,” it said.


Leading European WPC decking manufacturer NOVO-TECH makes the Megawood and EasyDeck brands.

Michael Stubbs and Roger Summer – UK technical and sales support for Germany’s NOVO-TECH GmbH – have been pushing the brand in the UK for several years now.

Mr Stubbs said the short supply chain for Megawood – with lorries able to come from Germany on short lead times – meant good product availability during the pandemic.

New distributors for the brand are expected to come on board this year and the range is also increasing, with new colours and styles. The NOVO-TECH factory has also been expanded, resulting in a further 43,000 tonnes of extra production capacity, just over double its existing output.

This year will also see the full release of the Megawood DELTA board, which uses recycled wind turbine blades in its composition (still with a majority wood flour content) in a 21 x 145mm size.

Contours on the boards give it a crosswise surface structure, allowing the board to be laid without any gradient. Water runs off cross-wise into the deck gaps.

The use of recycled wind turbine blades in its composition is another badge for a company that puts sustainability at the top of its agenda. NOVO-TECH already has Cradle to Cradle Gold Certification for its German Compact Composite material used in deck boards.

As for the market, Mr Stubbs says WPCs remains very popular, though he noted an issue with low pricing and quality of some products finding their way on the market.