The prime functions of vinyl decking are:
- to waterproof the space beneath
- to protect the structure from rot
- to eliminate maintenance
- to provide a durable, long lasting, skid resistant surface
Vinyl Membrane Construction
Vinyl decking is constructed with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which is man’s best attempt at prolonging the life cycle of various building products. It performs an admirable job in delaying the inevitable; however all products designed for exterior use and under constant exposure of the elements will eventually show some signs of degradation.
Manufacturers add UV screens and stabilizers to prolong the life of PVC materials. These additions are designed to assist the vinyl to resist cracking, embrittlement and discoloration. The thicker the vinyl is, the greater its resistance to UV degradation.
North American building codes dictate that 60 mil is the required thickness for pedestrian traffic roofing membranes (commercial flat roofs only require only 48 mil thickness). Today there are many decks still benefiting from the waterproof protection of 24 mil vinyl. When in doubt of how thick a deck or flat roof vinyl needs to be, always refer to the current building code standards.
Appearance versus Waterproofing
After a significant length of time, the initial appearance of a vinyl deck surface will eventually deteriorate, but this does not affect its ability to provide waterproofing.
Duradek vinyl is one of the top performers for maintaining appearance from extended UV exposure when tested against other vinyl brands (test method for ASTM G-90).
As a general guideline
- The lighter the color you choose, the cooler the surface will stay and the less deterioration will occur.
- Darker colors will fade faster and be warmer on the feet.
- All vinyl tends to ‘yellow’ slightly over time. Grays show it the most, while ‘yellowing’ is well hidden within earth-toned options.