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Is composite warmer than wood?

Answers to all your questions regarding composite heat

patio composite

I have heard that composite is warmer than wood. Is it true?

Are you planning to redo your patio this summer and you are undecided about the floor covering? Would you like to benefit from the advantages of composite or PVC, but have you often heard that it becomes much hotter than wood in the sun ? There is a lot of conflicting information out there regarding the warmth of composite. Some are true, some are false, but in general, much depends on the context and conditions of each situation. However, it is true to say that composite gets a little warmer than wood of an equivalent color in the sun, but there are important nuances. In order to enlighten you, we have put together some useful information on the subject . You will then be able to choose your floor covering with full knowledge of the facts!

Photo: Composite patio.

composite chaud bois

Some facts that will help you understand

1. A composite floor will always be warmer than wood , since the thermo-conductivity of plastic (contained in the shell which covers the composite boards) is higher than that of wood, therefore it is a better conductor of heat.

2. A PVC floor will become cooler than an equivalent colored composite floor . The density of the material being lower, it retains less heat.

3. Light colors absorb less heat than dark ones . We can note a difference of approximately 13 degrees for two composite boards from the same company, one being light and the other dark.

4. Your composite patio floor becomes 15 to 30 degrees warmer than the surrounding air on a sunny day. Note that a stained wood floor, in the same color shade as the composite, will experience slightly lower, but similar results .

5. When the composite is in the shade or when there are significant cloudy periods, the temperature can drop by 3 to 7 degrees compared to fully sunny surfaces.

6. The time of day has a big role to play . When the sun is at its zenith the angle of the sun differs from when it is late in the afternoon. We can then note a reduction in the heat of the composite of approximately 11 degrees between these two moments.

Even knowing these facts, people mostly choose composite because of its great qualities . It is a maintenance-free material, guaranteed for years. It is more expensive to purchase, but the cost of maintaining a finished wooden patio will quickly exceed this price difference. In addition, it is an ecological material made from sawdust and recycled plastic.

chaleur du composite

The chosen composite brand

First of all, the first factor to take into consideration to reduce the heat of the composite is the chosen brand . Several companies offer interesting products, but not always of good quality. In big box stores, you will often find a composite or PVC on special at a really attractive price. The bad surprise is that it's probably a product made in China, with a poor quality shell and if that's the case, it will absorb heat a lot more. There are also porosity problems which accentuate discoloration and retain stains as well as expansion problems . Products designed and manufactured in America are quality composites and PVC , adapted to our conditions . Certainly, they are more expensive , but their manufacturing and warranty are far superior . The warranty periods vary between 25 and 50 years depending on the brand and range chosen! If you want to be sure not to make a mistake, rely on well-known brands that have proven themselves with us.

Photo: Composite patio from a well-known brand made in North America.

patio composite

The choice of composite color is important

The second important element is color . Just like wood, the darker the color of the composite, the more heat it will absorb on a sunny day. On the contrary, the lighter the color chosen, the less warm the surface will become . A smart strategy that maximizes both the look and practicality of your patio is to create a color duo. You choose a light color for the center of your floor and a darker one around the edges . You will benefit from a surface that will absorb less heat while enhancing the style of your patio! The warmth of composite versus unstained wood is undoubtedly superior. However, the majority of people who build a wooden patio will stain it. If we compare a treated wood and composite patio of a similar color, the result varies on average by only 5 degrees Celsius.

Photo: Example of a composite patio with a lighter center and dark accents around the edges. This limits the heat over the majority of the surface area.

gazebo lounge contemporain

A few final thoughts

To summarize, yes, composite is a little warmer than wood of the same color . But what other elements should you take into consideration when you have to make a choice? Composite has many qualities that wood cannot match . Furthermore, how many days in the summer will be truly hot and fully sunny? Not a lot. The heat of the composite can also be reduced by installing shade elements on its patio . Whether it is a simple parasol, a pergola with vegetation or shade sail or even a gazebo, these elements help to protect the composite from the sun, thus reducing the heat it absorbs. The important thing is to clearly identify your needs and weigh the pros and cons before making a choice so as not to regret it.

To help you make a choice of materials, take inspiration from our creations !

Photo: Patio with gazebo to provide a shaded area where the composite will absorb less heat.

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