Used in many manufactured products and building applications, composite materials can offer more durability and versatility than traditional materials. Composite lumber is most often used in outdoor building projects like sheds or decks, while composite metal products are used in vehicles and industrial machines. Most composite materials are made from a mixture of concrete, resin, metal, fiberglass, or wood products, and choosing the best material for a specific project will depend on how the material will be used.
A composite lumber made of wood and resin would be a good choice for an outdoor deck because the resin would make the material resistant to fading and warping while still retaining the look of wooden planks. Composite decking materials are the most commonly used composite materials by homeowners that wish to complete construction projects without professional help. Construction professionals also use composite building materials in new buildings because these materials offer the look of traditional materials like wood with added structural integrity or colorfastness.
For individuals who want the look of granite or marble without the maintenance or cost of real stone products, composite materials made of plastic, resin, and stone can be a good choice. These types of composite building materials are used in bathroom and kitchen countertops. Many composite countertops use recycled materials such as glass, paper, or aluminum, so they are considered more eco-friendly than raw materials. Composite countertops usually contain chips of recycled materials suspended in a resin or epoxy.
Other composite building materials include siding, composite lumber, roofing, foundations, windows, insulation, pipes, and ceilings. Most composite materials used where wood would normally be used in construction are made from wood fibers and plastic. Composite building materials used in roofing are often made from epoxies to offer the look of traditional clay roofing tiles without the weight. Siding made from composite materials are similar to composite decking materials in that they generally keep the look of wood while using other materials such as metal or epoxy for durability and colorfastness.
Various manufactured products like automobile parts are also made of composite materials, including metals and fiberglass blends. Some composite products such as plastic-and-natural-fiber fabrics can also be a good choice for repairing or replacing seats or other fabric parts in cars, motorcycles, and boats. When choosing composite products for use in vehicle repair, consumers should check with the manufacturer to learn the specifications of the material and make sure that it will meet their needs.