Composite materials are ideal for outdoor use. They’re long-lasting, low-maintenance, and weather-resistant. Add to that their incredible strength-to-weight ratios and it’s no wonder they’re used in so many outdoor applications.
Outdoor Applications for Composites
There are very few applications not suitable for composites. From a usability perspective, composites are a preferred material for decking, railings, footbridges, and more. Recreationally, composite materials are implemented outdoors on mini golf courses, in tourism destinations, and within outdoor recreational equipment such as jet skis. Composite design has advanced substantially over the last few decades making the material suitable for aesthetic applications such as outdoor fountains, pottery, and even outdoor fireplaces.
The Benefits of Using Composites Outdoors
Why are composites so ideal for outdoor spaces? The primary benefit is. Composites are incredibly resilient, resisting scratching, mold, rot, and even rust. Insects won’t nest inside composite materials and they will never crack, splinter, or warp.
Composites are also very low maintenance relative to other outdoor materials. Composite decking, for example, doesn’t need to be re-stained every few years, and it doesn’t have to be sealed or coated with mold retardant. Composite materials such as fiberglass and wood composites are highly cost-effective building materials, especially when their longevity is factored in. Composites are lightweight making them easy-to-distribute and to install.
Types of Outdoor Composites
There are, of course, thousands of different kinds of composites. Different composures change the specifications of each material. Glass fiber composites are incredibly strong, suitable for high-use outdoor applications such as vehicular bridges. Thermoplastic composites are lightweight and cost-effective, making them suitable for residential applications such as decorative lawn ornaments and patio furniture. Composites can also be layered – with each other or with other materials such as concrete – to impart even more strength qualities into the finished product.
Generally, thermoplastic and recycled wood composites are the most commonly used for residential outdoor building. These materials are commercially available in hundreds of shapes, sizes, and colors and are suitable for decking, patios, furniture, and more. On a larger scale, glass fiber composites are the preferred material for infrastructure and other heavily-used outdoor applications. Fiberglass composites offer myriad structural benefits to outdoor spaces such as public transit waiting areas, parks, and even amusement park rides. Depending on the makeup, glass fiber composites are even suitable for implementation in high-strength situations such as suspension bridge decking and ferry boats.
B&W Fiberglass is a leader in glass composite materials for outdoor applications. Our products are used in almost every industry imaginable, from aerospace to construction. For more information on how our composite solutions are facilitating attractive, cost-effective outdoor design, contact a team member at B&W today.