Deckorators vs Fortress

Comparing Deckorators Mineral Based Composite with Fortress Decking

When comparing Deckorators decking boards with Fortress there are 5 key characteristics to consider.

  • Appearance
  • Slip Resistance
  • Price
  • Warranty
  • Durability

How do Deckorators and Fortress decking compare?

Fortress has a longer warranty and a distinctly different appearance compared to Deckorators. But overall, Deckorators is consistently priced better along with having consistent traction rating among all their mineral-based composite decking.

But we will need to go a little further into this before concluding which composite decking is right for you.

Comparing how much they differ from each other.

If it’s not a clear-cut answer. What are my reasons for considering one better than the other? To see if you agree with my conclusion, could they be understood differently? Or does my reason not matter for your deck?

A good example is appearance.

I have my reasons why I think Fortress will look better on your deck, but you may not share my values of what makes a deck board look good.

So let’s get into it, starting with where Fortress is better than Deckorators.

How is Fortress Better than Deckorators Decking?

Of these 5 key performance matrices for evaluating decking, Fortress is better than Deckorators for.

  • Warranty
  • Appearance (Debatable)

Fortress wins warranty due to length, but there are a few more complicating issues when comparing.

Appearance is debatable because each brand offers a distinctly different look. Causing one to favour one over another. But we give Fortress the win with its distinct wood grain textures. A very distinct-looking board, but it may not be for everyone.

Deckorators VS Fortress for Warranty

None have the best decking warranty in the market, but Fortress Apex board is competitive with the best.

But let’s get to comparing Deckorators and Fortress warranties.

Starting with length.

  • Deckorators 25 years fade & stain, 50 years structural
  • Fortress Infinity I Series 30 years
  • Fortress Apex 50-year warranty

For fading and staining, right away Fortress is better with longer coverage. Fortress Apex is double Deckorators Voyage and Vault warranty.

Their more economical decking Infinity is closer but still has 5 years on Deckorators.

Deckorators does include a 50-year structural warranty. It is great and reassuring that their decking should last a lifetime. No worries about boards breaking under feet out on the deck. But not covering fading and staining for the same length allowed Fortress to pull ahead.

Prorating Warranty Payment

Warranty payout also favours Fortress, with 100% for the first 10 years.

Compared to only 6 years with Deckorators.

The amount diminishes every few years after, but Fortress’s initial longer complete coverage puts every consecutive time after that in their favour. If Fortress decking fails, it doesn’t matter when. They will payout more than Deckorators.

Well, except maybe the first 6 years. Where Deckorators add-on makes it a little more complicated.

Labour warranty

Deckorators include a 25-year labour warranty. Yes, it’s pro-rated also, but at 10 years, they will cover 80% of the labour cost to replace the failed boards. The first 6 is 100%

Labour is a huge part of the cost of building a deck. Making this super valuable.

Compared to Fortress no labour warranty.

The percentage is where it gets a little more complicated.

If labour is equal to material costs.

Then Deckorators mineral-based composites will payout more compared to the same year of Fortress Infinity board.

But if labour is less than the cost of material, then Fortress will pay more for replacement.

With Apex’s much longer warranty, it consistently payouts more.

So we can debate a little with Infinity of who has the better warranty. But with Apex, it’s clearly Fortress.

With the length and amount of payout, we put Fortress as the winner for warranty.

Deckorators VS Fortress for Appearance

Fortress and Deckorators (MBC) have the same number of colours to choose from, 8.

Fortress Decking

  • Infinity I Series (4)
  • Apex Series (4)

Deckorators (MBC)

  • Voyage (MBC) Decking (6)
  • Vault (MBC) Decking (2)

Deckorators also have a 21’dark slate board design for picture framing the deck. Works beautifully to finish off a 20′ wide deck. The extra 1′ allows for mitres and slight overhang of the perpendicular picture frame boards. The colour complements most deck boards, and the dark contrast dresses up the deck beautifully, but since it is only intended for picture framing. We didn’t count it as a decking colour option.

Some more subjective but appearance-enhancing characteristics are where we feel Fortress pulls ahead.

Pictures don’t fully convey the difference between the two.

But get a sample in your hands, like we have.

Either you will love it or hate it.

We loved it and declare it a better-looking decking.

But you may not, and then Deckorators is for you.

How is Deckorators Better than Fortress Decking?

We choose 2 areas.

  • Price
  • Slip Resistance

Put with some unresolved debate. Let me explain, starting with cost.

Deckorators VS Fortress Price

First, where you live, and shop will significantly impact how much you pay. So these are averages but may not be true for you.

Average Lineal Decking Price
Fortress Infinity$4-5.00
Deckorators (MBC)$5-6.00
Fortress Apex$6-7.00

 Well, the debate continues.

Half of Fortress boards will cost a $1 more per foot. The other half a $1 less.

So it does depend on which line you choose Of which one will save you money.

But as a whole, Deckorators has more options in the middle price range to choose from.

Plus, all of Deckorators boards are solid profile, Where Fortress Infinity boards are scalloped. A very unique scallop designed to reduce weight without reducing strength.

But still, solid boards are considered premium.

Therefore we will say Deckorators decking is a better value.

Deckorators VS Fortress for Slip Resistance

Deckorators possibly only won this one because of the type of slip resistance testing reported.

 DryWet
Deckorators (MBC) 0.73-0.74 0.66-0.69
Fortress Apex0.95?
Slip Resistance

Our greatest concern for slipping is when the deck gets wet. So we value wet testing over dry testing.

Because as you see, Fortress Apex has superior grip when dry.

But did not report the in the same manner for wet friction resistance.

Wet Pendulum Slip Resistance Test
Apex6567
Infinity33-36
Decking Slip Resistance

Apex is clearly better than Infinity. But the reporting numbers cannot be compared straight across to Deckorators.

Making it harder to evaluate.

Never good to assume but assuming that the slip resistance comparison between Apex and Infinity roughly translates over the same to Deckorators. Just like price.

Half perform better. Half perform worse.

Giving Deckorators the win for consistent traction among all their mineral-based decking boards.

Deckorators VS Fortress for Durability

Deckorators vs Fortress for Decking Core Performance

The heart of the matter, the decking core we have two very different products.

What is Deckorators Made of?

Decorators (MBC), like the name, says it’s composed of minerals and virgin polypropylene. The addition of minerals gives it some key advantages.

  • 34% better traction
  • 35% lighter than traditional composites
  • Virtually no thermal expansion or contraction
  • Warrantied for installation in the ground or water
  • Nothing for mould and fungi to grow on

The minerals do make it harder to cut. You can still use standard woodworking tools, but it does not cut as easily and will need additional time to file the edges smooth.

But virtual no expansion and contraction as the temperature rises and falls, opening up possibilities for unique decking patterns and inserts. Designs that cannot be done with Fortress when allowing for expansion and contraction.

Plus, Deckorators can be installed near and in water and not void their warranty.

Deckorators is also slightly thinner (7/8″0) compared to Fortress. Which measures a full 1″ thick.

For flame spread ratings, they both are class B. With only a slight difference, with Fortress scoring 110 in flame spread, Deckorators 100. The lower the number, the slower the fire spreads. Giving Deckorators just a slight edge. Nothing to change classification.

What is Fortress Decking Made From?

Fortress has two distinctly different formulations of composite decking. Both contain a degree of bamboo combined with plastic but the amount and type of plastic differ.

Their more economical scallop option is Infinity, 55-60% bamboo fibres combined with 35-40% HDPE – Polyethylene. A harder variety of plastic than commonly used for composite decking.

Fortress premium line, Apex, contains less bamboo (3-10%). It is also a mineral-based board containing Calcium Carbonate (40%) and cellular PVC the remaining (50%).

Conclusion

It is hard to determine which brand is more durable, but both with a harder plastic than many other composite decking boards.

Plus the replacement of water absorbing with wood fibres with bamboo and mineral make both brands more resistant to rot, mould and fungi. Increasing the durability of the decking.

Making either one a good long-lasting decking option offering years of deck enjoyment with minimal maintenance.