• Importing WPC Decking & Flooring from China – The Ultimate Guide

    Posted on 36 Comments

    WPC Decking China

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    Asia Import Platform: General Products

    WPC flooring is currently a trending product among importers. As in the case of other building materials, there are strict regulations in place – regulations which far from all Chinese manufacturers are compliant with. Besides, there is a wide product quality disparity between different suppliers. In this article we explain which product specifications you need to keep track of, why you shouldn’t rely on “warranties” and which product certification standards your WPC decking must be in compliance with.

    Product specifications

    WPC stands for Wood-plastic composite. Basically, the material is made up of wood flour and plastic, such as PVC (Polyvinyl chloride), HDPE (High-density polyethylene) and PP (Polypropylene). Wood flour and HDPE is the most common material composition among Chinese manufacturers.

    There’s no universal definition of ”good quality”. Basically, Chinese manufacturers are “tool boxes”. They provide machinery, labor and manufacture products according to the buyer’s product specifications. A WPC decking product specification shall at a minimum contain the following:

    • Size (e. g. 150*25 mm)
    • Length (e.g. 2.2 m or 2.9 m)
    • Color (e.g. Black, Gray, Olive Green, Red Wood, Coffee, Wood)
    • Material components (e.g. 55% wood power + 35% HDPE +10% chemical additives)
    • Surface (e.g. Smooth, Brushed, Scratched, Grain or Sanded)
    • Lifetime (e.g. 25 years)
    • Usage (e.g. Outdoor or Indoor)
    • Anti-slip (Yes / No)
    • Anti-UV (Yes / No)
    • Waterproof (Yes / No)
    • Weather resistance (e.g. suitable from –40°C to 60 °C.)
    • Flame Retardance (e.g. German B1 Standard)

    The quality of a WPC decking is largely defined by the material components. A higher wood flour content tends to increase the durability – and the price. Keep in mind that it’s up to you to tell the supplier which product specifications your WPC flooring shall be manufactured according to.

    Be aware that manufacturing has a number of technical limitations. This means that there are certain limitations to the dimensions a product can be manufactured in. What’s more, certain WPC suppliers are also lacking the capability to manufacture WPC flooring that is compliant with US, EU and Australian product certification requirements. I’ll get back to that in a bit.

    WPC decking manufacturers in China

    China is the worlds leading manufacturer of WPC decking. More than 450 WPC decking suppliers from China are listed on Alibaba.com. Among these, more than 70% are located in the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. However, this figure is not including Chinese suppliers that are exclusively manufacturing for the domestic market.

    Warranty

    Most Chinese WPC flooring manufacturers list a warranty time in the product description. Keep in mind that a “warranty” can basically mean anything in this context. There’s no international framework in place that regulates the term “warranty”. In the world of international trade, you are essentially on your own – unless you and the supplier sign a contract that clearly defines the warranty terms (among other things). This definition shall answer the following questions:

    1. What shall happen in case a defective product is discovered after the products arrival in the Port of Destination? (It’s not realistic to inspect the quality of every single unit before the shipment)

    2. For how many months or years is the buyer allowed to claim compensation for defective products?

    3. Shall the buyer return the defective units to the manufacturer in China? (If yes, who shall pay for the return freight?)

    4. In case replacement units shall be delivered to the buyer, who shall pay for freight cost?

    5. What shall happen in case the product fails to comply with the relevant product safety standards in the buyer’s country?

    6. What is the definition of a defective product? (e.g. products that are non-compliant with the agreed upon product specifications and product certification standards)

    7. For which types of product defects is the warranty valid? (e.g. scratches and color variations)

    8. How shall a defective products be compensated? (Remake, repair or refund)

    Even if your supplier is accommodating and provides you with very warranty terms, never rely on this as a guarantee for stress free replacements. The best way to minimize your risks is always to verify that the WPC flooring is compliant with your product specifications and relevant certification standards BEFORE it’s shipped from China.

    This can only be done through a Quality Inspection, combined with a batch sample lab test.
    It’s a lot easier to negotiate with a Chinese supplier while the cargo is still not paid in full and still in the country.

    Product Certification – National requirements and compliance testing

    Most products are regulated by at least one product certification standard (also called product safety standard). These standards vary by country / market and are put in place to protect the consumers and maintain a minimum quality standard on the market. Keep in mind that these standards may have changed since the date of publication.

    European Union

    Wood Polymer Composites are required to be compliant with EN 15534. This standard is also a part of the CE marking directive. Since WPC decking also contains a number of chemical additives, we also recommend importers to test the product for REACH compliance.

    United States

    WPC decking sold in the United States is required to be compliant with ASTM D7032.

    Australia & New Zealand

    All types of flooring sold in Australia must be compliant with the AS/NZS 4586:2004 Standard Slip Resistance Classification. Due to a high risk of forest fires, WPC decking sold in Australia must also be compliant with local fire retardancy standards, such as BAL 29 (bushfire resistance). Click here to read more about AS/NZ product safety standards.

    Fire resistance

    Due to the plastic and chemical content, WPC decking is a potential fire hazard. There is a wide range of various fire retardant standards (most are local) such as B1, B2 and M1. Ensuring that the WPC decking is fire retardant is critical when importing from China.

    Most Chinese manufacturers are NOT compliant with western standards!

    Keep in mind that many suppliers listed on sites such as Alibaba.com are mainly selling their products on the domestic Chinese market. These suppliers are in general not manufacturing products that are in compliance with EU, US and Australian product certification standards.

    Yet, most of them don’t hesitate to sell their products to buyers in these countries. Keep in mind that the importer is always responsible for ensuring compliance with the relevant product standards. This responsibility cannot be shifted to the Chinese manufacturer.

    Importing non compliant WPC flooring is illegal, and may result in a forced recall, or even fines. Thus, it’s critical that compliance is verified before you place your order. There’s help to get. We can help you source reliable WPC manufacturers, that can show previous compliance with regulations in your country. Click here to find out more.

    Lab testing

    I strongly recommend that a sample of each product batch is lab tested for compliance with the relevant standards (including general quality standards, chemical standards and fire retardancy standards). Keep in mind that the tested sample must come from the batch that has been specifically manufactured for you. Testing a sample from a previous batch is useless since it doesn’t verify the compliance of the actual products you’re about to import.

    WPC decking prices

    WPC flooring can be manufactured according to a wide range of standards and specifications. Product certification compliance, dimensions, lifetime and surface treatments all have a major impact on the product price. However, the most important factor is the material composition. As I stated earlier in this article, a higher wood flour content increase the WPC decking durability and therefore results in a price increase.

    A common mistake is to select a supplier solely based on the product price. In November 2013, we made a price research among 24 leading WPC decking manufacturers in China. What we found was that the price difference among these suppliers were huge – the lowest quoted price per square meter being US$4.4, and the highest US$33.

    There’s a logical explanation to this. Some of these suppliers are primarily selling their products on the domestic Chinese market. That certainly is not implying that those suppliers are “bad”. However, a product that is manufactured for the Chinese market is certainly not made in compliance with EU, US and Australian product certification or fire retardant standards. Apart from the issue of legal compliance, a product that is considered to be of “good quality” in a Chinese construction materials wholesale market might be considered junk in Sydney or San Diego.

    What I’m trying to say here is that you can’t compare prices between different suppliers unless you know which specifications the pricing is based on. Only compare the pricing of products that are of an equal quality standard.

    Trade Fairs

    Visiting a Trade Fair is often an efficient way to meet a large number of WPC decking manufacturers, and get a feeling for their products. Below we list a number of upcoming Trade Fairs:

  • (USA & EU)

    We help startups & brands get quality products made in China & Vietnam

    • Product Specifications
    • Supplier identification
    • Product samples
    • Manufacturing, quality control & lab testing

    BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION

  • 36 Responses to “Importing WPC Decking & Flooring from China – The Ultimate Guide

    1. Sue at 10:54 am

      We are end users of WPC decking & fencing.
      We live in tbe UK
      Our garden redesign has been constantly frustrated by lack of supply of product from the UK importer.
      We are being informed time after time that deliveries will be late, orders not fulfilled for the end user like us.
      We are unable to get any support or information from our UK supplier who appears to wash his hands of all responsibility.
      In short if you are in business with a chinese supplier please make sure bith you and your supplier fully understand and adhere to contractual obligations. Take heed of this article, remember most of all that you are in business to serve your end user and if end users are not happy your business reputation will be sullied Trust is everything in business. We do nit have any trust that our supplier is working for me and will not recommend them.

    2. Ryan at 3:10 am

      Hi
      Is it possible to get an email of suitable manufacturers for importing WPC into New Zealand / Australia please.

      Regards

    3. Shiros at 5:32 pm

      Hi
      Can you send me the reliable wpc manufactures details

      1. ChinaImportal at 5:14 am

        We’ll contact you by email

    4. Rachel at 10:28 pm

      Hi we are in Australia and looking to purchase 200m2 of wpc decking for our pool and deck renovations. I’m just really unsure of what to purchase and the details of importing to Australia I hope you can help .

    5. Irina at 8:55 pm

      Hello Frederic ,

      Thank you for an interesting article. I wondered if you had some recommendations for suppliers to the UK and UK product certification. Thank you

      1. ChinaImportal at 5:46 am

        Hi Irina,

        Not sure what you mean?

    6. Charles at 5:55 am

      Hello Frederik

      That was a great article with ample info. I was thinking of Using this on a step construction on water front.I wonder if Chinese or Indian WPC is good. Could you give me some insight. i am from India

    7. Matthew harwood at 9:30 am

      Hi Fredrik
      Great article..!! I supply and fit decking’s in England and have been using a wpc deck board supplied by a British company called fenseys. ( the PAL Group ) The board has been failing after 2.5 years.. and they aren’t interested!!
      They import from china.. Are there certain criteria they should meet as they are selling this board in Europe? Legislation they have to comply too.?
      I understand this may be outside your field of expertise but any more information would be greatly appreciated!!
      Regards

      Matt Harwood

    8. peter at 11:05 pm

      could you please email me a list of reliable company’s that i can get good quality wpc decking from for the climat in Ireland

    9. Frank at 8:15 am

      Here is a manufacturer of wpc product, the main product are decking floor and wall panel.
      We have in this line for 15years and exported to more than 50 countries.
      And have got a good feedback from the customer.
      At present, we are looking for the suitable partner, do you have interest?
      If you have, pls contact me:coowinwood@coowingroup.com
      Website:www.coowingroup.com

    10. Amei at 8:49 am

      hello Fredrik,
      we are WPC decking floor factory.before this year our main mark is china main land. now do the export. do you have good advices?

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 10:58 am

        你好!

        Yes, first of all you need to ensure compliance with product regulations in your target markets. I also suggest you read these two articles in Chinese, that I have written for China Chief Executive:

        http://www.ceconline.com/import_export_trading/ma/8800071554/01/?pa_cha_15

        http://www.ceconline.com/strategy/ma/8800071007/01/

        http://www.ceconline.com/sales_marketing/ma/8800071554/01/

    11. Michael Braun at 5:40 pm

      Hi Frederick,
      Thank you very much for your article.
      Could you also please forward me your list of recommended suppliers?
      Do have also an overivew about the whole shipment costs to austria ?

      Thanks again,
      Michael

    12. Chad at 5:04 am

      Hi Frederick,
      Thank you very much for your article. Could you also please forward me your list of recommended suppliers?

      Thanks again,
      Chad.

    13. John Wang at 9:53 pm

      Hi Frederik,

      Thanks for your valuable info. Your article will help small businesses like me to take extreme precautions before concluding any contract with Chinese suppliers.
      Can you please also send me a list of your recommended manufaturers of WPC materials.
      Thanks

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 4:25 am

        Hello John,

        I’ll send you an email with more information!

    14. Eran Man at 11:05 pm

      Dear Fredrik,
      Very nice article !
      I am looking for the Warranty for 12 Years of WPC based on 30 % HDPE, of WPC imported from China

      What is the UV additive percentage the supplier should put in the WPC material formulation
      Same for Anti-Fungi and Anti Oxidation.

      Regards,
      Eran
      Can you have any % of material you can share with me

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 8:05 pm

        Hello Eran,

        I suggest that you don’t rely too much on these warranties. What you need is a quality assurance process, that at a minimum consists of a pre-shipment quality inspection, and lab testing on batch samples.

        The additives percentage varies between different suppliers, and their products. There’s no “right” and “wrong” here. Chinese suppliers manufacture products according to the buyer’s product specifications.

      2. Vincent at 11:06 am

        Dear Eran,

        For the Warranty for 12 years, I think it shoud be with co-extrusion wpc, while for normal wpc made in China, can only for 10 years at most if the supplier is trustworth. Some will claim their normal one can reach 12 years, but as the leading manufacturer in China, we know that is not the truth.

        Vincent from SENTAI

    15. Paul Douglas at 11:35 pm

      Thanks for an interesting article. There seems to be so many to chose from and I wondered if you had some recommendations for suppliers to the UK. I have a friend who can ship in containers from 3 ports in China. The forestry commission here have concerns about any timber products including crates coming to Uk so certification is required

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 10:40 am

        Hi Paul,

        I’ll send you an email regarding WPC flooring and product certification in the UK.

    16. Shawn at 6:26 pm

      Hello, I am trying to help my friend import WPC material from his company in china into the US. Is there anyone that could help me out as far as licenses/fees and any other useful info that I should be aware of. Thanks

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 10:27 pm

        Hello Shawn,

        I’ve sent you an email with a few questions.

    17. Nils Antonsen at 7:38 pm

      Thanks for a most interesting article. Could you please also send me the list of recommended manufacturer?

    18. jean astruc at 1:58 pm

      THANKS Mr Frederik for the valuable information ,thanks for help & precious advice its of upmost importance, keep it up great job.From Mauritius (indian ocean)

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 10:26 pm

        Thanks Jean! Keep coming back, we publish new articles on a weekly basis.

    19. Ryan Song at 5:19 am

      Can you please also send me a list of your recommendation manufaturers.
      Thanks heaps

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 2:13 pm

        Hello Ryan,

        I’ll send you an email with more information.

        1. Zack Goldsmith at 10:55 am

          Hi,

          Could you also please send me a list of reliable manufacturers. Appreciate it. Zack

          1. ChinaImportal at 3:40 am

            Hi Zack,

            We will contact you by email

    20. Michael - Foundationfloors.com at 1:24 pm

      Warranties will help to convince everyone to give trust to every product she or he wants to buy. But, yes I agree that we have to view elaborately our order and check whether the condition is match with our criteria. Keep in mind that the suppliers are legal and have portfolio online to ensure the quality of the products we will order.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 4:29 pm

        Hello Michael,

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. The thing is that a lot of buyers assume that “warranty” (as stated on some random Alibaba page) means that the supplier will replace defective units within a certain time frame – free of charge.

        However, it’s not viable to do so, unless the volume is large enough to be shipped by sea. Instead, most suppliers define their warranty as something along the lines of “we’ll send it free of charge with your next order”. There are exceptions to this rule, but it almost always require quite a bit of negotiation – and a signed and stamped Sales Agreement.

        The best is to assume that anything that’s shipped from China will not be compensated by the supplier, in case it would prove to be defective. While there are cases where compensation is paid out, it shall be considered a bonus.

        1. Eirik Wraal at 8:59 pm

          Thank You for an interesting article. We are working to find a good and reliable manufacturer for import into Norway. Do You have any recommendation based no Your survey?

          1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 6:56 pm

            Hello Eirik,

            I will send you an email with more information!

    Comments are closed.