Composite decking becoming extremely popular in the last few years with less maintenance and more deck enjoyment. Every year more decks are built using composite, soon to surpass wood as the decking of choice.
But there are also many composite decking brands to choose between. Here is a collection of many of the most popular composite decking brands.
These 11 composite decking brands are increasing in popularity every year. In North America, there are 3 that dominate the market. Each brand has its own distinct advantages and look to compliment your home.
Having researched all these brands comparing appearance, durability, traction, price, and warranty, I have created this round-up of composite deck companies. Giving you a quick reference to start your search for the best composite decking.
Hopefully giving you a better idea, which composite decking company is best for you.
A quick introduction to each decking company followed by what makes them distinct compared to other composite decking brands.
- 1 What is Composite Decking
- 2 Armadillo Composite Decking
- 3 Deckorators Composite Decking
- 4 Envision/Evergreen
- 5 Fiberon Composite Decking
- 6 MoistureShield Composite Decking
- 7 NewTechWood Composite Decking
- 8 TimberTech (Azek)
- 9 Trex Composite Decking
- 10 Wolf Composite Decking
- 11 UltraDeck Composite Decking
- 12 Zuri PVC Decking
- 13 Composite Decking Buying Guide to Find the Best Composite Decking
- 13.1 1. What is in your Composite Deck Budget?
- 13.2 2. How Important is the Wood Look?
- 13.3 3. Will the Decking Get Wet? In Contact with the Ground?
- 13.4 4. Does Your Deck Have Lots of Sun Exposure?
- 13.5 5. What Type of Fasteners Do You Prefer?
- 13.6 6. Does it Meet Code?
- 13.7 7. What is all required to Finish the Composite Decking?
- 13.8 8. Does it Compliment Your House?
- 13.9 9. Do You Want Planters on Your Deck?
- 13.10 10. How Much Traction Do You Need?
- 13.11 11. Who are you Building Your Deck For?
- 13.12 12. How Do You Want to Use Your Deck?
- 13.13 13. Construction Considerations?
What is Composite Decking
Composite decking often refers to any synthetic low-maintenance decking, including wood plastic composite and full PVC decking.
Currently, most are capped with a polymer shell. Enhancing the decking appearance and durability.
I usually make a hard distinction between PVC and composite decking. Arguing they are not the same and PVC decking is better.
But here, we will be a little looser in definition. Including a broader range of decking from a blend of recycled plastic and wood fibres to full plastic PVC.
Now to our decking brands.
Armadillo Composite Decking
Armadillo as a Company
Armadillo is a part of Avon plastic which has been manufacturing plastic products since 1966. Started in Paynesville, MN but has grown into an international company.
1996 started manufacture composite decking.
2010, refined the process creating the decking recognize as Armadillo. A capped composite deck board.
Best Qualities of Armadillo Decking?
Currently, Armadillo offers 3 lines, including 9 decking colours. Lifestyle is their largest collection, capped on all 4 sides designed for residential application.
Designed as an economical low maintenance decking, they are all scalloped to reduce material costs. But with Lifestyle include a full cap including inside the groove. Which is unusual with budget composite decking.
For a more in depth Review of Amadillo Decking, click the link.
How Does Armadillo Compare with Other Composite Decking?
Glad you asked. I was curious too. So, I gathered up some decking samples and did a whole pile of research. Then compared Armadillo head-to-head with the following brands. Click the links to learn more about how Armadillo faired against them.
Deckorators Composite Decking
Deckorators as a Company
Started in 1998 in St. Louis, Missouri but was acquired by UFPI in 2005.
“To provide lifestyle-enhancing products that help homeowners personalize and accessorize a deck as an extension of the home.”
In 2012 they consolidated all their deck accessories under the single name of Deckorators.
Best Qualities of Deckorators Decking
Deckorators has 20 colours among their 8 collections.
Their more economical lines (Trailhead, Tropic and Distress, which is only sold at Lowes) are scalloped. The rest of their boards are a solid profile.
The biggest thing that separates Deckorators from all the rest is Mineral-Based Composite.
Introduced in 2016 but is still a game-changer for composite decking. Unlike other composite decking made with a blend of organic material, it is made with non-rotting, swelling, or expanding minerals.
Giving Deckorators some incredible advantages.
- Voyage provides 34% or better surface traction than composite decking.
- Enhanced textured embossing for better traction both when wet or dry
- 35% lighter than traditional composites
- Virtually no thermal expansion or contraction
- Warrantied for installation in the ground or water
Voyage, Vault and Frontier are more expensive but are a league of their own for performance.
If you demand quality and are willing to try something different, check them out. They are a class of their own.
To learn more read a Review of Deckorators Decking, click the link.
How Does Deckorators Compare with Other Composite Decking?
Deckorators having both Mineral and wood-based composites makes comparison a little tricky.
For Trex, the dominant decking on the market, I compared it against Deckorators complete lines. Their mineral and wood composite.
Having separate TimberTech from Azek PVC decking, I strictly compared the two companies’ composite decking. Leaving out their superior PVC and Mineral decking.
Follow the links to whichever series you are more interested in comparing.
Envision as a Company
Little less known than other dominant composite brands. Partly because it is just one brand of many of the Tamko Building Products. Unlike Trex and companies who live or die on composite, Envision is part of a bigger umbrella company, which specialty is not composite.
- Start in 1999, EPOCH Composite Products, a subsidiary of Tamko Building products.
- Introduce Envision premium capped composite decking in 2011.
“high-end, luxury decking featuring unmatched beauty with dramatic colour and bold highlights in each deck board.”
- Became Envision Building Products LLC in 2019
Best Qualities of Envision Composite Decking
Envision has 17 colours which all are built on their Evergrain core. The higher-end lines like Distinction have the look of hardwood.
The Evergrain core is distinct from many other composite deck boards in that it is manufactured using Compression Technology. Similar to how a diamond is made. The material plastic and wood fibres are formed using compression and heat. Unlike most composite, which is extruded.
Non-Repeating Grains, you know exactly what I am talking about if you have installed enough composite decking. A constant repeating of patterns.
Which if you don’t catch it, the odd board with the grains the wrong direction. Creating an eyesore. With some companies, the pattern repeats itself on the same board in less than 4’ (1.2m) really should the lack of originality.
This is not a problem with Envision. They manufacture decking with original grains. Much closer to the appearance of natural wood. Which never repeats itself.
Deep distinct wood grains. Something of the vein of Trex but their own particular depth and patterns.
To read my fuller Review of Envision Composite Decking, click the link.
How Does Envision Compare with Other Composite Decking?
As I said, Envision has a similar texture to Trex, but that is not the only thing that I have compared. Click the link to read the complete comparison of the two brands.
I also researched and wrote a full comparison of Envision and TimberTech. Appearance is the most significant distinction between the two and how they are manufactured but click the link to see the full comparison.
Fiberon Composite Decking
Not new to the market but in the last few years has seen rapid growth in market share. Jockeying with Trex and TimberTech (Azek) to dominate the market.
Fiberon as a Company
Started in 1997in New London, North Carolina. Focussed on selling high-quality composite decking, railing and fencing manufactured in an eco-friendly fashion. Not exclusively a decking company but still their primary focus.
“Decks should be enjoyed, not maintained.”
Not only are they focused on low maintenance but being environmentally sustainable. Being one of the leaders in recycled content in their decking. The percentage varies by line but is as high as 98.5%.
Currently, they have two manufacturing and recycling centres opening a second plant in the West in Meridian, Idaho. Creating efficient continental distribution.
Fiberon is an innovator in composite decking. Laying claim to these impressive firsts and more.
- First capped composite decking with multi-chromatic technology
- First PVC composite railing
- First stain and fade warranty on capped composites
- First moulded and embossed WPC decking
Best Qualities of Fiberon Decking
Fiberon is a mixed company in that they sell both composite and PVC decking. With a total of 31 colours, including 10 PVC boards.
Fiberon also has a mix of scalloped and solid boards along with 3 and 4 sided caps for all your decking designing needs.
Fiberon has done a phenomenal job of making synthetic decking with authentic-looking wood grains and colouring. They are good-looking boards.
Fiberon’s biggest distinction from other composite decking is the length of its warranty.
- Concordia, 50-years
- Sanctuary, 40-years.
- GoodLife Escapes, 30-year
Fifty years is unheard of with composite decking. Competing with PVC decking, which is 100% synthetic.
If you are building your “forever deck” and warranty to match it, Fiberon is a good option.
They also have 25-year warranties which have become standard with composite decking. To the point, if they don’t, I would not recommend purchasing.
Want ot learn more about Fiberon decking, read the full Review of Fiberon Composite Decking.
How Does Fiberon Compare with Other Composite Decking?
With Fiberon being one of the BIG 3, it is quite possible you are trying to decide between them. I was curious myself how they stack up with each other. TimberTech vs Fiberon and, of course, Trex. Click the links below to see my full comparisons.
MoistureShield Composite Decking
Their name says it all. MoistureShield composite decking is designed for moisture. Water the #1 destroyer of decks.
MoistureShield as a Company
Headquartered and manufacturing in Springdale, Arizona.
- Started in 1988 as Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies. This is a very large element of who they are as a company, to the point of calling themselves not a decking company but a recycler that makes decking from reclaimed material.
- Bought by Oldcastle APG, in 2017.
- 2019 changed their name to the name we recognize, MoistureShield.
Best Qualities of MoistureShield Decking
Midrange for colours options with only 18. All are capped except Vantage, which includes 5 colours that will fade with exposure. Something they are very upfront about.
“With a proven history of 30 years with no structural field failures.”
Tim Ortman, President, Oldcastle APG
3 things of note about MoistureShield.
#1 it is designed for water. MoistureShield has gone beyond a protective cap to minimize water damage. Going all the way to the core. Encapsulating every wood fibre in a way that even if soaked in water, it wouldn’t damage.
“Less than 0.06% swelling”
If you build with MoistureShield, water will never be an issue.
Making MoistureShield an ideal candidate for docks or poolside’s as no amount of water will harm it.
With water comes slipping but not with MoistureShield.
#2 it has incredible traction. Better when dry but still excellent when wet. Competing with PVC decking for traction.
#3 is CoolDeck® Technology. Not universal on all their decking, but select boards are designed to reduce heat by up to 35%. There is much debating about which decking is cooler, but building a south-facing deck without shading is something to consider. Their decking claims to do exactly that.
To learn more, read Review of MoistureShield Decking, click the link.
How Does MoistureShield Compare with Other Composite Decking?
MoistureShield has done an excellent job of focusing on what they want to be known for as decking. Making them very distinct from other composite deck boards.
But that doesn’t mean we can compare. Click the links below to do exactly that, Compare MoistureShield with other popular decking brands.
NewTechWood Composite Decking
NewTechWood as a Company
Started in 2004 byHuidong Meixin Plastic Lumber Products Manufacturing Co. Ltd based in the People’s Republic of China.
In 2010 began developing NewTechWood UltraShield®. Seeking to make an attractive, low fading, scratch-resistant composite decking.
Best Qualities of NewTechWood Decking
- 16 colours
- 360° capping
- High-density polyethylene.
Their Voyager Series has six hollow cylinders through the centre of the board. Making them much lighter than solid or even scalloped decking.
Twin finishing of the 4 sides cap. On one side of the decking, you have an embossed woodgrain finish. On the other side, a brushed finish. Two distinctly different looks from the same board.
Which is very rare with composite decking.
Fiberon Concordia has colour and streaking on the underside, improving the appearance of the bottom of the decking but is not designed to be walked on. NewTechWood goes one step by making finishing the appearance and usability of both sides of their decking.
How Does NewTechWood Compare with Other Composite Decking?
NewTechWood’s design separates it from many other composite deck boards. Most are solid or scalloped. Few have hollow cylinders reducing weight and costs.
To better understand how NewTechWood compares to other composites, a good place to start would be Trex vs NewTechWood. Giving you a better picture of NewTechWood by comparing it to one of the leading composite brands on the market.
As the awkward naming shows, we are dealing with a blended company. Attempting to integrate the two while still emphasizing their own distinctions.
TimberTech (Azek) as a Company
TimberTech was started in 1997 manufacturing composite decking.
“Our brand exists to challenge convention. To rage against mediocrity. We believe “Good Enough” is never enough. We are TimberTech.”
Manufacturing facilities, in Wilmington, OH, and Scranton, PA.
Acquired in 2012 by Azek the third-largest manufacturer of PVC products. With their own line of decking, which they integrated into the TimberTech brand. At the same time, highlighting their PVC decking with the Azek name.
So, like Fiberon, they offer both PVC and true composite decking.
Best Qualities of TimberTech (Azek) Decking
A total of 27 colours, of which 10 are PVC. A mix of solid and scallop profiles and entry-level composite capped only on 3 sides. Their premium boards are still capped on all four sides, including in the groove.
Another great quality of Azek decking, specifically Azek PVC decking, is fire rating. It has a Class A (25) flame spread rating. Not quite as much as Type X drywall used in construction to prevent fire from spreading but really close.
This is particularly helpful when building a deck in a WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE (W.U.I). Which is essential to prevent a wildfire from engulfing your house.
TimberTech (Azek) has longer warranties than most other brands. TimberTech Pro has a 30 years warranty. Five years longer than most other composite decking brands. Fiberon is the exception.
Beauty is very subjective. But TimberTech (Azek) works very hard to make realistic-looking decking. Imitating wood decking better than most. Not exactly, but impressive in appearance.
Of course, as with most things, their premium collection, like the Vintage Collection, is most impressive. But even the more economical boards, TimberTech Edge includes colour variation and streaking.
Contrasting with Trex’s deep embossing TimberTech does a lot of wire brush finishes. Providing a smoother but not slippery decking with a distinctly different look.
For more about TimberTech read Review of Timbertech Decking, click the link.
How Does TimberTech (Azek) Compare with Other Composite Decking?
With TimberTech’s composite decking, you scroll through this list to see each decking brand comparisons and links to fuller articles.
Azek is their PVC line, which is not as common among composite decking brands. Therefore I have compared it with other PVC brands or lines. Click the links below to see how Azek compares to others.
Azek is often portrayed as the premier PVC decking for its outstanding performance and appearances. But before installing Azek, take a few minutes to compare it with Zuri, it has many features, including appearance to be considered.
Trex Composite Decking
Trex is the Kleenex of composite decking. A brand synonym with composite decking. With people often calling all composite decking Trex. Which is to Trex’s advantage and disadvantage.
Trex as a Company
Headquartered in Winchester, Virginia.
One of the original innovators (1996) of composite decking and for years they dominate the market player.
Today, Fiberon and TimberTech, along with Trex, are the majority of composite decking.
“To enhance the lives of people by engineering what’s next in outdoor living.”
Trex has grown into much more than only a composite decking manufacturer. From railing to pergolas, lights and outdoor games, and many other products to enhance your time in your backyard. They even manufacture deck furniture to go with your low-maintenance deck.
Best Qualities of Trex Decking
Trex sells 20 different deck boards. From their premium Transcend line (8) to their Enhance Basics (3). They have a decking board for every budget. Or almost.
Trex is an affordable budget friendly composite decking.
When comparing apples to apples. Or should I say composite to composite?
Boards equal in performance, durability and warranty Trex will cost you less.
Transcend is their most expensive and highest rated. An extremely durable low-maintenance solid decking. Despite being their premium decking, it is still middle range in cost compared to other brands.
Enhance Basics is the other end for pricing.
“Priced to put pressure on Pressure Treated decking.”
Not the cheapest composite decking out there but very close. It is hard to justify installing wood when comparing cost with Trex Enhance Basic. They are that close. Especially when considering maintenance costs which Trex has virtually none.
Consistent Warranties. 25 years on all their decking.
It does not matter if you are comparing their best or lowest price. They back it all the same. Making comparison much more straightforward than with brands that have multiple tiers of warranties and coverage.
Distinct deep wood embossing. This creates a very identifiable look. Trex’s woodgrains are deeper and more pronounced than most. Giving a very clear look and feel to their decking.
How Does Trex Compare with Other Composite Decking?
This is the one that happens all the time. It doesn’t matter which brand you are holding in your hand. In the back of your mind, you are asking. How does this compare to Trex?
Thanks to Trex being the leader and dominant brand for so many years.
Rather than list all the links and comparisons under here, under Trex. Scroll through all the brands listed here, and you will find their comparison with Trex.
For something different, read a more in-depth look at the Pros and Cons of Trex Decking.
Wolf Composite Decking
Wolf Home Products as a Company
Started in 1843 as a single store selling “dry goods and lumber”. So, they have come a long way to composite decking.
Currently headquartered in New York, Pa.
In 2010 they introduced Wolf-branded products.
Similar to Trex in that Wolf Home Products makes composite and many other outdoor home products like lighting and cabinets for your deck kitchen.
Best Qualities of Wolf Decking
Similar to TimberTech (Azek) and Fiberon making both traditional cap composite and PVC decking. Having 16 colours between the two lines with another 7 in their porch line.
Wolf Serenity (PVC) is the larger of the two with a total of 11 colours.
Cost or the lack of. Is Wolf Serenity strongest point.
PVC decking is a premium product often sold a the premium price. Most PVC decking is $5+ many around $7 a lineal foot. Wolf’s PVC is between $3 and $4 lineal foot. Making it very affordable for PVC decking.
On top of that, it is installed using Camo screws. Again, creating more savings for you. Most composite clips are around $1-2 a square foot for a deck. More if you do 12” on centre which is often recommended for PVC decking.
A small saving but helps to make a premium product even more economical.
Wolf includes COLORWATCH100® to help minimize fading. A critical component if your decking is going to look good in 50 years.
For a more in depth Review of Wolf Serenity PVC decking, click the link.
How Does Wolf Compare with Other Composite Decking?
There are many characteristics to compare, but to get you started, check out Wolf Vs Azek.
Which will give you a better idea of what makes Wolf distinct from other decking. Comparing it to one of the leading PVC decking brands.
UltraDeck Composite Decking
UltraDeck [Midwest Manufacturing®] as a company
Another composite decking manufactured by a larger company. UltraDeck is made by Midwest which was started in 1969. Headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
They patent UltraDeck Fusion in 2005. Which has expanded to 6 lines of composite decking.
Best Qualities of UltraDeck
Its hard to focus on a particular aspect about UltraDeck with a wide variety of decking profiles including, solid, scalloped and hollow core. And even QuickCap with minimal structural strength but designed to lay over existing decking that needs to be spruced up.
UltraDeck has 15 colours, 17 if you include quick cap which I don’t because it’s an overlay not designed as stand-alone decking.
Similar to NewTechWood Natural is reversible with a woodgrain finish on one side, the other brushed.
Inspired and Fusions are look and perform similarly to other composite decking.
A unique part of UltraDeck is their profiles. The solid and scallop boards have a slightly smaller bottom lip on their groove. Creating a smaller gap from the top of the decking.
Beyond that the biggest advantage of UltraDeck is price.
If you want to learn even more read, A Carpenter’s Review of Ultradeck (Mernards) Composite Decking.
How Does UltraDeck Compare with Other Composite Decking?
If you are contemplating UltraDeck, I am guessing something about it has attracted you to this distinct Mid-West composite decking. But how does it compare to two of the leaders in composite decking? Click the links below to see.
Zuri PVC Decking
Not a composite but I included as an excellent synthetic decking.
Zuri [Royal Building Solutions] as a company
Zuri is not part of stand-alone decking company but part of Royal Building Solutions, which is Westlake. Westlake Company is the second-largest producer of PVC in North America and the third-largest worldwide. Which would make it a tie with Azek. So I am not sure which is larger or if it even matters. The point is Zuri is part of a large company with a great deal of experience with PVC products.
Headquartered in Woodbridge, Ontario.
Royal Building Solutions manufactures many different exterior products, including vinyl siding, shingles and composite stone. With a strong focus on low maintenance, durable PVC products.
Which includes Zuri PVC decking.
Best Qualities of Zuri decking
Limited to 6 colours but with many of the benefits of PVC decking like lower heat build-up.
But this is not what stands out about Zuri.
Zuri is made with a photo-realistic wood image protected with a clear acrylic coating.
Which does two things.
Zuri is the most realistic hardwood-looking decking that I have seen. It stands alone in appearance. If you want the look of hardwood outdoors, Zuri is a must.
On top of that realistic image is acrylic. One of the strongest and most durable finishes on the market. Claiming to be 5X more resistant to wear than composite decking. Making this amazing-looking decking, decking that should be enjoyed. With endless footsteps of people enjoying your outdoor living space.
To learn more read a Review of Zuri PVC Decking, click the link.
How Does Zuri Compare with Other Composite Decking?
Just kidding, as much as Zuri is a class of its own, we can still compare it to other decking.
For example, Azek vs Zuri one of the leading brands of PVC decking.
But as we have said at the beginning, it is good to include both PVC and composite decking when comparing decking brands.
Two much more common composite decking brands are TimberTech and Trex. Which I have compared more extensively. Click the links to see how Zuri stacks up to two of the leading composite decking brands.
There are over 10 major brands composite decking brands to select from. Among them with over 50 collections, with multiply boards within those collections to select from. I bet there are over 200 to select from.
But don’t worry.
Composite Decking Buying Guide to Find the Best Composite Decking
Questions that will help you narrow down which composite decking is right for you.
Pushing aside the decking that will not work for your deck.
These are hard questions but helpful questions for selecting the best composite decking.
The first is money.
1. What is in your Composite Deck Budget?
This is always the most awkward question but the most important.
How much are you willing to spend on your deck?
I have had countless people sidestep this question when discussing the best deck for them. Look the other way or say they don’t know but would love an estimate.
Which is all meaningless. With so many composite deck boards on the market, the budget can quickly guide the conversation to the best decking for you.
Trex is helpful, and they divide their boards into three price categories, Good, Better and Best.
I like to go one step further with 4 in my fuller article about Composite Decking Costs.
- Most Economical Under $2.50 a lineal foot
- Budget Decking $2.50- 3.00 a lineal foot
- Mid-Range $3 – 6 a lineal foot
- High End $6 – 9 a lineal foot
Click the link to see all the boards in each category, but the price will narrow down the decking option quicker than anything else.
If you have only $2.50 to spend on decking you are limited to 4 brands with 7 boards.
Trex, UltraDeck, Deckorators and TimberTech.
Quality brands but limited selection in that price range.
If you have a little more to spend, say $6 a lineal foot.
In that price range, you have the most options. 19 to choose between with the many benefits. Including PVC, which has some serious advantages over composite decking.
There will be extras, but we will get to that later.
Budget is so important in selecting composite decking?
Find your budget, and you are almost halfway there in selecting your composite decking.
2. How Important is the Wood Look?
Next to price is appearance.
If you don’t enjoy being on your deck. The aesthetics of the decking. Enjoying glancing at it through the corner of your eye. Price matters little in selecting your composite decking.
There is much variation between boards in appearance from colour, streaking, embossing, to name a few.
But often, it all boils down to how close to the look of wood are you looking for?
Most composite has “wood grains” embossed on them. Trex’s are deep and more pronounced. On the opposite side of the spectrum is TimberTech, with its wire brush finish.
TimberTech Azek’s Vintage collection is one of the better ones for looking like
Zuri, also a PVC, has the appearance of hardwood flooring on your deck. Drawing very strongly from the look of wood.
What separates these other deckings from these is how “plasticky” the others look. More important than colouring and woodgrain is the decking sheen. Regardless of colouring, the less it looks like plastic, the better.
3. Will the Decking Get Wet? In Contact with the Ground?
If you are building a dock or deck around a pool, water resistance is critical. Along with traction when wet but we will get to that more later.If water is a concern, MoistureShield and Deckorators mineral-based composites are two of the best.
MoistureShield prides itself as to be imperator by water. Claiming you could build a deck underwater.
Deckorators’ Voyage, Vault and Frontier all can be installed in or in contact with water. Without any organic material, they will not rot regardless of how much water you soak them in.
Two brands to take a look at if your deck is going to be close to water or the ground.
4. Does Your Deck Have Lots of Sun Exposure?
Next to moisture sun will do the most damage to decking. If your deck is south facing or will get a lot of sun you want to install decking that can hold up to its UV.
On top of durability is cool deck boards.
There is much debate about which boards are coolest, but Azek and MoistureShield both claim to have cooler boards.
Often this is more an issue of colour but worth checking them out for your full sun deck. The lighter the colour the cooler the decking.
Not very common in North America yet, but Fortress developed in South Africa is one of the more durable for full sun. You decks can check out why along with Azek and MoistureShield at Best Composite Decking for a Full Sun Deck.
5. What Type of Fasteners Do You Prefer?
There are multiple types of hidden fasteners for composite decking on the market. When selecting composite, you should consider the impact of fasteners. Both in cost and how hidden they are.
The least visible at the lowest cost is probably Wolf which uses Camo edge screws.
Easiest to install, but the most visible would be Trex. With a visible clip with a straight drive screw from the top. Making adjustments and installation a breeze. But there is nothing hidden about them. The clips are easily seen between the gaps.
The most hidden but also the more costly and harder to install would be Cortex plugs. Which are face screwed and then hidden with a matching composite plug. A keen eye can see the plug, but it is the most hidden fastener on the market.
For most leading brands, you can buy Cortex, which is great for finishing up picture frames and transition borders.
The biggest drawback next to price is the decking must have enough material to hold the screw and the plug. Eliminating many lower-priced scalloped boards. The big exception is Fiberon. Even Fiberon’s lower-cost boards have enough material above the scallops allowing for Cortex plugs.
If the budget is tight, but you still want the best-hidden fasteners, consider Fiberon when selecting composite decking.
6. Does it Meet Code?
Most composite decking does meet building code both in Canada and United States. Most noticeability designed for joists framing at 16″ (400mm) on centre.
That being said many PVC boards like Paramount are better installed with joists at 12″ (300mm) on centre.
More importantly, is documentation.
In Calgary, where I build deck’s all composite decking permit applications must include a CCMC report. Which not all boards have.
Confirm what is required in your jurisdiction before selecting composite decking. The choice may be made for you already.
7. What is all required to Finish the Composite Decking?
Like fasteners, not all composite decking requires the same material to finish.
This can include end caps, fascia boards, skirting, railing etc.
What is required to finish the decking can add to the cost and time to construct.
Plus, I have found little extras like ends caps are often the first thing to break with decking.
Choose closely with your eyes wide open.
8. Does it Compliment Your House?
Similar to appearance but look greater than just the deck but the house it’s attached to.
Will the colour and design match the house?
Most composite decking includes the standard variations of Brown, Grey, Blonde and Red, but not all will look good on every house.
For example, I am a big fan of the amazing look of Zuri’s hardwood decking but with most generic house. No offence. It will not compliment the house. It’s just a little too much. The beautiful hardwood finish needs a house to match.
If you are looking for greys and browns for your house, Fiberon has 31 different greys and browns to choose from. Including some very realistic wood looking ones.
9. Do You Want Planters on Your Deck?
Decks are beautiful spaces for outdoor gardens. Often with the addition of a deck planter, life and colour are brought to the deck.
But if you plan to include a planter on your composite decking, you need to select decking that will not be damaged by water and cleans off easily. You will spill water while watering the plants. And dirt will get on the decking.
Consider how the decking will work with planters on it.
10. How Much Traction Do You Need?
Another great question that will limit which composite decking you buy is traction.
Many have very more traction ratings.
If you don’t want to slip and slide on your deck, you will need to check out Composite Decking with the Best Traction. Where I have gathered together 12 popular decking options with their traction ratings.
PVC decking are among the top performers for traction. Trex’s Transcend is one of the better performing composites.
Deckorators Mineral-Based is phenomenal in the field. I have walked on few decks that grip as well, but surprisingly, it is not the best in the lab.
11. Who are you Building Your Deck For?
Not the least, but when all things are being considered, who are you selecting the decking for?
Seniors, kids and dogs all have different needs and elements to consider when selecting decking.
When selecting composite decking, take a moment to ponder the who.
Who will be using the deck the most?
If kids check out kid friendly decking.
If someone older, consider senior deck design.
Or someone with four legs, like your best friend, there are many reasons to select composite decking for dogs.
Regardless of who it is. Consider who you will be sharing the deck with. Select accordingly.
12. How Do You Want to Use Your Deck?
Closely related to who in selecting composite decking is how. How do you want to use your deck?
Decks are very versatile outdoor spaces. Allowing many options for use.
Three of the most common are lounging, dining and grilling. And, of course, a combination. You can click the link to learn better about deck sizing for use.
How you will use the deck will determine the type and design of furniture. Which will often impact decking selection.
Also, if you plan to do a lot of grilling or dining, selecting composite decking that will not stain is important. Hate to ruin your deck with dripping from your burger.
The bare minimum, easy to clean.
13. Construction Considerations?
Lastly is construction considerations.
Will the expansion and contraction affect your decking pattern?
If so, stay away from PVC decking and consider Deckorators mineral-based composite with minimal expansion and contraction.
If you are building it yourself, consider Trex one of the most DIY-friendly composite decking.