Azek Environmental Impacts
Azek decking is made of unsustainable plastic material. The environmental effects of manufacturing Azek are the same as any other plastic product; it depletes non-renewables like petroleum and freshwater. There are also byproducts, such as air pollutants, involved with plastic manufacturing. With a Janka Hardness of only 659, Azek boards are not reusable after its life as decking, but is Azek recyclable?
This is an area where Azek outperforms composites. As detailed earlier in this article, composite materials like Trex, are a combination of two recyclable materials (plastics and wood pulp) that result in a non-recyclable finished product. Azek, on the other hand, is 100% plastic; therefore, it is a recyclable material.
Ipe Decking can be reused after its life as a decking material. It is renewable, recyclable, and supports fundamental, low-carbon emitting jobs. Legally traded Ipe also supports value in natural forests, which can offset the forces that encourage deforestation and encourage sustainability.
Azek Resistance to Insects and Fire
Just like Ipe, insects are not interested in boring into Azek and plastic decking. However, Azek received a “Class A” rating for flame spread, one of the highest ratings that can be achieved. Ipe also receives a Class A rating in the ASTM Flame Spread. That said, Ipe took on significantly less fire damage than Azek, according to Matt Risinger’s flame experiment (see Azek at 6:33).
Azek Vs Ipe Cost Comparison
According to H1ouse.org, Azek costs around $8.12 PLF, for a 16’ board. Compare that to Ipe at about $4.00 PLF. Over twice as much as Ipe! Ipe outperforms Azek in durability, longevity, mold resistance, environmental factors, and natural beauty.
Azek’s workability and ease of installation is the most significant advantage Azek has over Ipe. However, the additional labor of installation with Ipe is still marginal when considering the difference in cost. Azek may be more water-resistant than composite materials but does not compare to the natural water resistance of Ipe. It also expands and contracts more than Ipe Decking, which is key to Ipe’s incredible longevity.
In conclusion, insect attack and fire ratings are similar for both materials. However, Azek is significantly more expensive than Ipe, is not for the environmentally conscious, and does not compare with Ipe’s durability or natural beauty.