Enjoying your deck with your dog is one of life’s pleasures. But if you want to make sure your pup is safe while on deck, you need to choose the best brand of composite decking.
Not all types of composite decking are created equal – some are more pet-friendly than others. Some types of composite decking feature a rough surface that can easily trap dirt and debris. This can be a real problem if your dog likes to play outdoors. Instead, look for types of composite decking that have a smooth surface, which will be much easier to clean.
With composite decking, you won’t have to worry about your dog getting scratched by any sharp edges. Composite decking doesn’t splinter and with hidden fasteners, there is no nail popping either.
What is the best composite decking for dogs?
Some of the best composite decking for dogs are Fortress Apex, Trex Transcend and Zuri PVC decking because of their durable caps and surface traction. Minimizing decking damage from the dog’s nails and preventing wipeouts on a slippery deck surface. The PVC boards also have lower heat retention.
Let me explain why I recommend these as the best composite for your dog.
Top 3 Composite Decking For Dogs
Zuri is a PVC board with the appearance of a hardwood floor protected by a transparent acrylic layer. The hero here is the acrylic cap which is 30% more durable and five times more resistant to wear than composite decking. Minimize the impact of your dog’s claws on the deck.
Zuri also has excellent traction rating to keep your dog on his feet and you.
The PVC core also reduces heat retention compounded by the colour chosen. For example, pressure-treated pine has a heat retention of 71, one of the lowest levels of wood decking. But Zuri Chestnut is 68. Your pooch’s paws will be cooler on Zuri Chestnut than almost any decking option.
TimberTech Azek claims to be up to 30° cooler than competitive boards, but their cap is not as durable as Zuri. Scratching less than many other composite deck boards but more than Zuri.
Zuri also has a smoother finish making cleaning easier.
They don’t warranty specifically against stains from dogs, but they are more stain-resistant for common staining products like ketchup, mustard and red wine. Giving you a longer window of 7 days to clean up those spills before damaging the decking. Much longer than many other composites which, you must clean up spills within 48 hours to prevent staining.
Zuri is a pricier decking option, with decking costing between $5 and $8 a lineal foot. The bigger range is due to variation of colour and price and of course local market.
Fortress Decking has 2 lines, Apex and INFINITY® I-SERIES. The Infinity is co-extruded high-density bamboo and recycled plastic core with a 360° complete protective cap. But for dogs, the higher end Apex is even better with its Bamboo cellular PVC core with engineered acrylic polymer cap. The PVC core is cooler underfoot, plus the cap doesn’t have deep wood grains making cleaning much easier, while giving less for the dog’s nails to catch on. Surprisingly it also has better traction than the Infinity line.
Fortress decking is on the higher end for decking costs, especially the better performing Apex. You should expect to pay around $8 – $9 a lineal foot. Infinity I series costs less, $5-6 but the Apex is better for dogs.
Trex’s Transcend is a true composite decking that has one of the more durable caps. Keeping your deck looking better with fewer scratches than many other options. This is specifically Transcend, not Trex’s other lines. The other boards are much better priced, but their cap is less durable. Trex is very upfront about this giving their Enhance line only 1 star but Transcend 5. My own experience agrees with them.
A real plus of Transcend over my two other recommendations is price. Transcend, made from 95% recycled plastic and reclaimed wood fibres, will cost around $4.70 a lineal foot. It is also much more readily available. Almost any building store that sells decking will stock Trex. Being the most recognized name in composite decking.
A drawback of Trex is heat and deep wood grains.
A common complaint of composite decking is it gets hot in the sun. Trex is no different. If you install Trex, include some shade for your deck to give your dog some relief from the heat.
Your dog’s nails are more likely to catch on the deep wood grains, increasing potential for damage. Also, mud and hair from your dog can build up in the deep grains, increasing the required effort to clean. It can be done but will be a little harder than a smoother surface decking.
Trex’s Transcend traction is good but not impressive, especially if you compare it with Zuri’s traction.
Comparing the Top Composite Decking for Dogs
How do these top options compare with each other? In particular, their cap durability and cleanability. But not forget the difference in decking core.
Durability of Decking Caps for Less Claw Scratches
While both Trex Transcend and Zuri boast durable caps, Trex’s falls short in terms of scratch resistance when compared to Zuri. The embossed woodgrains on Trex also have a tendency to trap dirt and debris more easily than those on Zuri, making it harder to clean.
Both Zuri and Fortress Apex have one of the most robust materials, Acrylic, minimizing wear and tear from your dog. Zuri has more product testing than Fortress as proof of its durability.
Zuri’s slightly higher price point than Trex Transcend is justified by its many advantages: better scratch resistance, a smoother finish, and easier cleaning.
What About Decking Colour Options?
Comparing Zuri and Fortress Apex is more challenging as Apex only has 4 colours but Zuri 6 more vibrant look of hardwood. Trex Transcend has a few more colour options with 8 to choose between. All are beautiful and will enhance any home, but your options are limited.
Decking Core for Heat Retention of Dog Comfort
Zuri’s PVC core makes it cooler to the touch than many other composite decking materials while also reducing heat retention. Apex is also made from PVC, with its advantages, but we don’t have third-party data on results.
But both will be cooler than Trex which is a mix of recycled wood and plastic, which retain more heat.
Traction Under Dogs Paws Minimizing Falls
There is a big difference between the traction rating of Trex Transcend and Zuri decking materials. Trex Transcend is slippery, both wet and dry.
| Slip Resistance (Dry)Slip Resistance (Wet)Zuri0.82- 0.860.89 – 0.97Trex Transcend0.43-0.520.32-0.39Comparing Traction|
Meaning that Zuri is much safer for dogs, as they are less likely to slip and fall on the surface. Compared to Fortress Apex wire brush finish which also provides excellent grip.
It is hard to compare the two because of the different testing methods. Zuri is tested in Canada and Fortress Apex Australia. But both hands down, or should I say paws, will grip better wet and dry than Trex Transcend.
Comparing Decking Warranty
It’s important to consider the warranty when it comes to finding the best composite decking for dogs.
Fortress Decking offers a 50-year warranty, while Zuri Decking and Trex Transcend both only offer 25-year fade and stain warranties.
Also, Trex Transcend only warrants against stains if cleaned within 48 hours, but Fortress and Zuri Decking both have a 7-day window to clean up any spills before they can cause damage. This does not include dog messes but does hsow th edurablity of the decking against being stained.
Warranty does not determine how well the product performs but often is a sign of the company’s faith in its product. So if you’re looking for a deck that will last and resist fading and staining, Fortress Decking may be the best option.
However, if you’re willing to be more vigilant about spills and clean them up immediately, Trex Transcend is still a good option.
If you have a dog, it’s important to think about the decking material that will be best for them.
Trex Transcend is made from recycled wood and plastic, which can retain more heat than Zuri or Fortress Apex Decking. If your pup tends to slip, they’ll need something that provides better traction, like Zuri or Fortress Apex.
Zuri Decking is my top pick because it has better scratch resistance, a smoother finish, and easier cleaning than Trex Transcend. It’s also cooler to the touch, making it a safer choice for dogs.
Another good option for your dog is Fortress PVC Apex decking with similar traction but a longer warranty than Zuri.
But if the price is key, Transcend is better priced than either option. If you are okay with a bit of extra cleaning requirement and a slightly hotter deck in the summer.