Composite decking is the perfect solution for durable decking without all the maintenance. But what is the best composite decking for the money?
The best composite decking for your money is Trex’s Basic Enhance. Some other low-cost composite deckings are Deckorators Tropics and TimberTech Prime+. Not as well priced, but still, a good economical option is Fiberon’s GoodLife.
This is a very common question people ask when thinking about building a deck. Especially when trying to figure out a good deck budget while still avoiding all the work involved with a wood deck. In particular, pressure-treated decking is still the cheapest decking to buy but may not be the most affordable decking to own.
This is why, I often recommend these brands from some of the top composite decking brands I have researched and installed. They all offer a minimum of 25 years of low maintenance, providing years of deck enjoyment without breaking the bank.
Cost of the Best Priced Composite Decking
Even within these 4 brands there is some variation how much money you will pay.
|Best Priced Composite Decking||Lineal Price|
|Enhance Basics [Trex]||$1.83|
|Prime+ Collection® [TimberTech]||$2.40 – 2.65|
|Enhance Natural [Trex]||$2.90|
|Fiberon Good Life||$3.30|
The one costing the least amount of money is Trex’s Enhance Basics. Only offering three solid colours with no variation or streaking. Very similar to the look of pressure-treated wood but without all the maintenance.
If you are willing to pay a little more money, you will have more options for colour and simply better-looking decking. Not as good as the best, but an attractive element to your deck.
But better-looking composite decking will generally cost you twice or three times as much money.
What to Expect from Low-Cost Composite Decking?
The cost-saving features to expect with low-cost composite are.
All these features don’t reduce the performance of the decking but do reduce its price, making it more affordable. Let me explain what they are and how they reduce the cost of composite decking.
Scalloping the bottom of the deck board is an almost universal way to reduce the cost by reducing the amount of material. Nearly every brand does it, especially the lower-priced ones.
How they do it, does differ a little between brands.
Trex does more, five but smaller plows on the bottom of the board.
TimberTech, Fiberon and Deckorators have 2 or 3 larger channels on the underside of their boards.
One distinct difference is Fiberon leaves enough material that you can use Cortex plugs to fasten your edge board without unsightly face fasteners. Setting it apart from all the other budget board options.
Uncapped decking bottoms also help to reduce material costs, reducing the composite decking price.
Trex is consistent with all their decking when it comes to capping. Their budget line Enhance and their Best line Transcend are only capped on the top and sides.
The same is true with Deckorator’s wood-based composites. They also are consistent in only capping the top and sides.
Fiberon and TimberTech are not. With their premium boards, they cap on all 4 sides. With TimberTech this includes the groove. Creating 100% protection for their premium lines. But with their cheaper deck boards, they are only capped on 3 sides.
Lower Quality cap of the lower costing boards. This may not be universal, but Trex is upfront about this. Giving Enhance only 1 star for scratch resistance and Transcend 5 stars.
My experience confirms this. When building with Transcend, I worry less about dragging or moving the boards around. Their cap is quite durable. Enhance is a different story. Just dragging a board over the decking can leave a mark and must be avoided. You can just imagine what a chair leg could do.
But overall, this will only affect the appearance of the decking, not how long it will last.
High Lights of the Best Priced Composite Decking
Despite these boards costing less money, they still have a lot to offer.
Low Maintenance is still part of the package and the advantage of all quality composite decking. You might be paying less, but you still will need to do no more work than clean off your deck with these brands. No sanding, staining, replacing rotten boards.
25-year warranty, including fading and staining of the decking. Promising that you can enjoy your deck for years to come even if you didn’t spend a fortune on it.
Colour Options to suit your home and taste. This one surprised me. Initially, I was like, no, the cheaper boards will have less streaking, colour variation, all the things that make a deck look great.
This may be because of Trex. Their cheapest decking is Enhance Basics, with only 3 solid colours.
Trex Enhance Basics Colours
- Beach Dune
- Enhance Saddle
- Clam Shell
Good boards but nothing to wow over.
But if you move up in price a little, the options start opening up. Even with Trex, Naturals includes 4 different colours with streaking.
Trex Enhance Naturals Colours
- Foggy Warf
- Rocky Harbor
- Toasted Sand
- Coastal Bluff
Deckorators has 6 colours to choose from, but 3 are exclusively sold at Lowes. There is minimal streaking almost no colour variation on the board.
Trailhead (WBC) Decking
Tropics (WBC) Decking [Lowes Exclusive]
- Tidal Gray
- Hana Brown
Distressed (WBC) Decking [Lowes Exclusive]
TimberTech Prime+ Collection® only has 3 colours but does blend colours, creating amore natural wood look without any streaking. They have a straight wood grain finish sometimes referred to as wire brush. Setting them apart from other brands like Trex with their deep embossed wood grains.
- Sea Salt Gray
- Coconut Husk®
- Dark Cocoa
Fiberon as a whole has more colour options than most brands, and the same can be said about their lower-cost boards. In total, they offer 9 low-cost colour options.
Good Life Escape Collection
Features multi-tonal colours that resemble exotic hardwoods.
- Beach House
- Tuscan Villa
Good Life Weekender Collection
Solid colours for a more traditional stained deck look.
ArmorGuard (Exclusively at Home Depot)
- Brazilian Walnut
- Nantucket Gray
What is the Lowest Costing PVC Decking?
If you want to upgrade from composite decking, PVC is an excellent option. Not wanting to break the bank, consider Wolf Serenity PVC decking. Serenity is the lowest costing PVC decking costing between $3.00 – 3.75 a lineal foot in most markets.Which is less than you will pay for most quality composite decking but with all the advantages of PVC.
What is the cheapest composite decking brand?
As a whole Trex is the cheapest composite decking brand. With most of their decking boards priced below similar quality composite decking. This is true for Enhance, Select and Transcend. If you buy Trex’s, you will pay less.
Is Trex worth the money?
Trex is worth the money you pay for it because you get a decent-looking decking that lasts more than 25 years with minimal maintenance.
Trex is the most recognizable composite brand and is similar to all quality composite in warranty and performance.
Click the link for a more in-depth discussion about if composite decking is worth the cost. I even discuss when it is not worth it to buy composite decking.
What is cheaper than Trex?
If Trex is out of your budget and you want something cheaper than Trex decking, buy 5/4 pressure-treated decking.
Word of caution, wood will cost you more than composite decking in the long run.
It will not last as long, will require more work to maintain but initially, pressure-treated decking will cost half as much as a Trex or even more. Saving you a few thousand when you build your deck.
Is There a Cheaper Version of Trex?
No, consider how little you pay for Trex Enhances Basics. There are no cheaper quality composite boards that you can buy. Trex Enhance is the most affordable capped composite decking you can buy.
UltraDeck does have lower-priced composite decking, but it is not capped like Trex. Not really making it a cheaper version.
There are other brands of composite decking that may be cheaper than Trex, but you do need to question their warranty and quality.