Composite decking offers benefits that wood can’t – it’s weather, pest, and rot-resistant. The best composite decking brands feature a range of low-maintenance products to fit various budget levels.
While composite decking is about 15-20% more expensive than pressure-treated pine, it often outlasts wood decks and doesn’t require stains or sealers.
What Are Composite Decking Boards?
Composite deck boards are made of wood and plastic – a combination of synthetic and natural materials. The wood portion may include sawdust, wood fibers, or wood chips. Manufacturers combine wood with new or recycled plastic to form the boards. These boards also contain pigment for color, UV inhibitors to prevent fading, and borate preservatives to protect from insect damage.
Best Composite Decking Brands
The best composite decking brands offer products in many colors – some mimic the look of wood, while others mimic a painted deck.
Among composite decking brands, Trex is an industry leader. Trex introduced composite decking in 1996, and has since grown their product line and the quality of their decking.
Trex offers four lines, each carrying a 25 to 50-year limited warranty. Their least expensive line is Trex Enhance, which comes in five color options. Trex’s most expensive line, Trex Transcend Lineage, offers heat-mitigating technology for cool-to-the-touch deck boards.
You can order samples of Trex decking via their website. They sell their products through Lowes, The Home Depot, and local retailers.
Fiberon offers composite PE decking and PVC decking. PVC decking differs from composite as it’s plastic only, containing no wood fibers. They offer six lines of decking, with many colors and grain patterns to choose from.
Fiberon decking comes with a 25-50 year limited warranty depending on the line. They offer samples via their website. You can purchase Fiberon decking from The Home Depot and through local lumber shops.
DuraLife decking features a step-clip fastener system eliminating the need for spacers and fasteners – a dream come true for DIYers wanting to save time and reduce workloads. They offer three lines – a hardwoods, resort, and landscape collection.
Duralife has tested its decking for all weather, including extreme heat, cold, and snow. Their boards also feature CoolTrac, which makes them more slip resistant and cooler to the touch. You can order samples of DuraLife decking and find a retailer via their website.
As the name would suggest, MoistureShield offers composite decking with extreme moisture resistance. Their decking boards resist moisture and rotting, even when installed on the ground or in water.
Moisture Shield carries four lines at various price points and with different designs and color options. You can order a sample of their decking through their website and locate local dealers.
Envision carries four lines of composite decking, all in wood tones. They even carry a composite cladding that homeowners can use as siding. If you want a composite wood-look deck, Envision is one brand to consider. They offer a deck visualizer on their website, allowing you to try out different options with railing.
You can request samples via the Envision website. Use the “where to buy” tab to find a dealer near you.
Timber Tech offers natural-looking composite and PVC decking. You can peruse their deck boards by the type of wood you like and color. Some examples of Timber Tech composite decking include Cypress, Weathered Teak, Dark Hickory, and English Walnut.
You can order samples, find a contractor, and locate retailers through the Timber Tech website.
Deckorators carries two lines, including mineral-based composite and wood plastic composite decking. They have six collections of deck and porch boards. Their mineral-based decking is similar to PVC and comes with a 50 year structural warranty and the best strength-to-weight ratio.
Dekorators has popular wood-tone decking boards and multiple profiles to choose from. A couple of their collections are available at Lowes. You can find other retailers through their website.
Wolf Decking manufactures two lines of composite decking, including their Serenity and Perspective collections. There are multiple natural-looking finishes within each line. All of their products are moisture, mold, and mildew resistant. The Perspective line is made of 94% recycled content.
Composite Decking Vs Wood Decking
Let’s look at the pros and cons of composite decking.
Composite Decking Pros
- Less Maintenance – Composite is easier to maintain than wood decking. It’s wood, weather, insect, and fade resistant to a certain degree. The only required maintenance is cleaning the deck as needed.
- More Choices – Since composite is made with synthetic materials and pressed together, manufacturers can create a specific color or pattern without using paint post-production.
- Recycled – Some brands use recycled plastic and wood in their products.
- Durable – Composite decking is durable, resisting scratches and handling heavy loads.
- Rotproof – Composite wood is rot-proof because it has plastic in it.
- Fade-resistant – Although it fades a little over time, composite doesn’t fade as fast as real wood.
- Long Boards – The ability to buy longer boards will save you installation time. Some companies even offer a snap-together system that doesn’t require fasteners.
Composite Decking Cons
- Expensive – Composite decking is quite a bit more expensive than real wood.
- Not Natural – While composite looks similar to real boards, you can tell the difference.
Is Composite Decking Worth It?
Composite decking is more expensive than wood but may save you money in the long run.
Trex Decking has many great deals, for example. They have some of the lowest composite deck prices without compromising quality. Fiberon also offers low-cost composite decking. Find them and other brands at your local hardware store or order online.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Can I Paint My Composite Deck?
You can paint a composite deck, but it’s not a good idea. The deck style wasn’t designed for paint. Their purpose is to provide a durable and natural surface color.
If you’re set on painting, you’ll need to apply an acrylic primer and then acrylic paint. However, before you begin, you’ll need to pressure wash your deck surface.
Can You Cut Composite Decking With A Circular Saw?
You can use a circular saw to cut composite decking as composite cuts like wood. Before you begin, mark the board using a quick square. You’ll need to hold the square against the board’s face to get the most accurate measurements.
Can You Mix Composite Wood With Decking Wood?
Composite wood and decking wood can be mixed. The reason why people mix wood materials is to save money. Also, when you mix them, there’s not a lot of maintenance required afterward to preserve your water resistant deck.
What Is Composite Decking Made Of?
Composite decking is made of recycled wood, plastic, and additives. Decking brands are made with different mixture percentages. It’s not uncommon for composite manufacturers to use recycled materials. The plastic ingredients include polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, and polyethylene.
How Long Does A Composite Deck Last?
A composite deck will last on average 25 to 30 years. Composite decking brands have different warranties. Each brand has a different shelf-life and will depend on its building materials.