If you’re looking for durable, eco-friendly, high quality, and low maintenance decking material, look no farther than composite decking.
Composite decking is an alternative to traditional lumber. Unlike solid wood, composite decking boards won’t splinter or decay and don’t require regular maintenance. This guide will help you understand the best composite decking brands of 2020—so you can make sure your new deck will be made with the best possible materials.
What is composite decking?
Composite decking is made out of a mixture of wood fiber, recycled plastic, and a binding agent. Composite decking is easier to clean, longer-lasting, and comes in a variety of colors and textures, making it a popular choice for homeowners everywhere.
Composite deck boards may consist of mixed wood fibers and artificial materials or be entirely artificial.
Artificial options are typically made of either PVC or HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Boards with wood fibers may be uncapped or capped with an extra hard layer of PVC protecting the inner wooden core, which makes them resistant to moisture, weathering, and fading.
Composite options tend to be a little pricier up front—but homeowners save money in the long run because they aren’t paying for expensive maintenance and repairs.
To help you build a composite deck of top-notch quality, Decks & Docks has put together our list of the best composite decking brands in 2020. If you want the best summer deck around, consider one of these incredible brands.
As one of the first composite decking board companies, Trex is considered the inventor of composite decks and continuously sets the standards for composite decks, making them a reliable and high-quality choice across the board.
Trex divides its products into three categories according to their level of quality and price point. These categories are “Good,” “Better,” and “Best.”
“Good” includes products under their TrexEnhance® Basics line. “Better” includes their TrexEnhance® Naturals and TrexSelect® Earth Tones lines. “Best” includes TrexTranscend® Earth Tones & Tropicals.
Higher-quality Trex products are more scratch-resistant and come in a larger variety of colors—but all come with a 25-year warranty, making Trex a cost-effective option at all price points for homeowners.
Materials & Construction
All Trex boards are made out of 95% recycled material, including recycled plastic bags and wood reclaimed from landfills. Trex prides itself on being eco-friendly—a big draw for environmentally-conscious homeowners.
For maximum durability, all Trex boards are capped on three sides. This means that these boards have a harder shell of material surrounding their core.
TrexEnhance® boards are scalloped on the top side, which reduces their weight and lowers the price. TrexSelect® and TrexTranscend®, on the other hand, have a solid profile, which makes them heavier but also more durable.
Trex offers a variety of colors and textures for all of its product lines. Color selection varies from line to line, but each offers a variety of cool and warm colors.
- TrexEnhance® Basics line comes in 3 colors.
- TrexEnhance® Naturals and TrexSelect® Earth Tones each come in 5 colors.
- TrexTranscend® Earth Tones & Tropicals line boasts 10 colors for homeowners to choose from. This line also offers boards with multi-toned color streaking for homeowners who want their decks to stand out.
To lower the cost and reduce weight, the TrexEnhance® Basics line has a less realistic wood grain pattern and is also less resistant to scratches than higher-quality lines. The realism of the wood grain pattern increases with quality and price.
In particular, the TrexTranscend® line of boards has a more realistic wood grain pattern than any other line, managing to look flawlessly gorgeous while also providing maximum resistance to scuffs, scratches, and stains.
WearDeck is a composite decking industry titan. Their commercial-grade composite products are durable enough to withstand the tests of time and nature again and again. WearDeck sorts their composite decking boards by profile and dimensions so customers can be sure every plank is of the same high quality.
Their 8 profiles come in a variety of different widths and lengths, some of which can be customized. Customers can use WearDeck boards for decking, railing, trim, and more.
Materials & Construction
WearDeck products are fully synthetic, meaning they contain no wood fibers. Their boards are crafted from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) reinforced with fiberglass to create an end-product that’s beautiful, long-lasting, and low-maintenance.
This hardy construction means WearDeck boards are also stain-resistant, splinter-free, and heat-reflective to keep your feet from burning on sun-exposed boards. Because of their innovative use of fiberglass, WearDeck boards can span longer lengths than other brands without needing additional structural support underneath. A WearDeck board can span 24” on center (OC) with a 1” materials whereas most competitors have a maximum space of 16” OC.
Most brands only supply boards up to 20’ feet in length, but WearDeck has a Custom Cut Program that allows customers to select a customized length up to 28’ to fit their project.
WearDeck’s offer a selection of 8 colors for their deck boards. This selection is smaller than some other brands, but each shade is neutral and versatile enough to suit a wide variety of tastes. Customers can select any color for whichever profile they choose.
Each color also comes with a subtle wood grain pattern to add the perfect finishing touch.
TimberTech is another top-tier composite decking brand, notable for its range of color and texture options that give homeowners customization opportunities they won’t find anywhere else.
TimberTech divides its products into three lines: TimberTech AZEK®, PRO®, and EDGE™. The products in these lines come with a 50-year, 30-year, and 25-year fade and stain warranty respectively. TimberTech is also the first company to offer multi-width boards, which are great for porches and smaller decks.
In 2012, the building company AZEK acquired decking powerhouse TimberTech and launched their famed capped polymer decking. TimberTech now handles all of the AZEK decking business, but you may see some suppliers still refer to the two as different companies.
Materials & Construction
TimberTech emphasizes their commitment to sustainability, which is why their composite boards are roughly 80% recycled material, depending on the line.
TimberTech AZEK® is their highest tier product line and is a capped polymer decking made without wood particles—meaning it’s not technically a true composite. This tier guarantees complete resistance to water and is 30% lighter than comparable products from other brands. AZEK® composite deck boards are capped with a highly durable outer shell and a less dense core.
The PRO® and EDGE™ lines are not as premium as AZEK®, but they’re not far behind, either.
PRO® is 4-sided capped composite decking, meaning the interior is made of recycled wood with a full synthetic cap for extra protection.
EDGE™ is a 3-sided capped composite. It may be less water-resistant than the higher tiers—but it’s certainly more budget-friendly and attainable for homeowners looking to build their first deck. (That 25-year stain and fade warranty and 25-year limited structural warranty certainly helps.)
TimberTech shines brightest with the number of color and texture options they offer to aesthetically-minded homeowners.
Each product line includes a monochromatic option with less texture for a modern and minimalistic look, as well as a bevy of natural-looking texture options for a more traditional style. Lines are further divided into three collections of varying shades and textures.
- The TimberTech AZEK® line includes a whopping total of 26 colors, spread out between their Vintage, Arbor, and Harvest collections.
- The PRO® line has 16 colors through the Legacy, Reserve, and Terrain collections.
- The EDGE™ line features 6 colors in the Premier, Prime+, and Prime collections.
All options come with a limited fade and stain warranty to help keep your deck looking beautiful for a long, long time.
Make Your Deck The Hangout Spot of the Summer!
Summer is the best time to build and enjoy a new deck—it’s the perfect place to have summer barbecues, family picnics, and hangout sessions outdoors.
By using composite boards, you can ensure your deck will enjoy many summers to come without fading, splintering, or other damage. You can also take comfort in the eco-friendliness and sustainability of your composite deck.
If you want to learn about composite decking options, feel free to contact us anytime. A member of our team here at Decks & Docks can answer all of your questions—and help you build the deck of your dreams.