Two big brands in the composite decking market are Deckorators and MoistureShield.
Both offer a wide variety of composite options and unique formulas, setting them apart from many other composite brands.
This is why it’s a good idea to compare the two brands against each other. To see which brand is better suited for your deck.
Deckorators and MoistureShield Overview
Choosing the right composite decking for your project isn’t like picking out your favourite food at a restaurant or your favourite colour. With the right decking, you could enjoy it for as long as you live at your place.
With many designed to last a lifetime.
That being said, let’s start with a bird’s eye view with an introduction to our competing brands.
Deckorators is a few rungs down the ladder in terms of business affiliations. They are a subsidiary of Universal Consumer Products Inc, itself a subsidiary of Universal Forest Products.
Deckorators originates from St. Louis, Missouri, where the business was established in 1998. Universal Consumer Products acquired the brand in 2005. Deckorators composite decking was a superior product to what Universal had at the time and it wasn’t long before everything fell under the umbrella of Deckorators.
That includes Universal’s own line of composite decking—Latitudes—which faded out of the limelight as everything was consolidated under their new acquisition of Deckorators.
One of their biggest claims to fame comes from their rounded aluminum balusters. The Classic Series of aluminum balusters was a first in the industry, and it pumped new lifeblood into Deckorators, making them a household name.
Now, many consider them to be an industry leader in composite decking and railing systems. It doesn’t hurt that Deckorators has released several innovative products over the years, all of which became popular decking options, including mineral-based composite decking.
MoistureShield’s existence came about a full decade before Deckorators entered the fold. In 1988, however, they were known as Advanced Environmental Recycling Technology. Their composite decking utilized recycled polyethylene plastics and red oak wood fibres.
MoistureShield was acquired by Oldcastle APG more recently, in 2017. Fortunately for MoistureShield, Oldcastle APG is nearly a century old, with an established business presence in 30 countries.
The acquisition immediately made MoistureShield an international brand while remaining headquartered in Springdale, Arizona.
Thanks to years of experience developing and manufacturing composite decking and other, outdoor living projects, MoistureShield is no stranger to competition in the composite decking space.
Becoming undeniable that MoistureShield is now a household name.
What to Consider Before Choosing MoistureShield or Deckorators
Both MoistureShield and Deckorators are powerhouses in the composite decking industry.
Having all the most important things about composite decking nailed down. Both are among the best composite decking brands.
You could install either brand and enjoy it for years.
But the little things can make a world of difference in your deck enjoyment.
And between Deckorators and MoistureShield there are world of differences to consider.
- Aesthetic appearance
- Easy of assembly
There are a ton of factors that go into each of these, all of which we will cover below.
As we mentioned in the beginning, a deck is nothing if it simply looks awful. That’s part of what makes composite decking so popular.
Durability is the difference between enjoying it for years or regret. Regret if it turns to garbage under your feet.
Related to durability is how hard will it be to install.
Affordability may or may not be an issue, and composite decking is definitely one of those things you don’t want to race to the bottom with in terms of how cheap you can go. But you don’t always need to spend a lot to get a lot.
There is much innovation in composite decking design to reduce cost without reducing performance.
Traction is another huge factor. It needs to hold up in wet weather or, better yet, hold you up.
Then there’s the ease of assembly. If you’ve ever constructed a standard deck using treated wood, you know it’s labour-intensive.
With that being said, let’s get into the five elements of MoistureShield versus Deckorators—Decking core, cap, colour options, traction, and warranty.
The core is exactly what it sounds like—the materials, or lack thereof, that make up the interior of a composite decking board. Some are hollowed out, some are scalloped, and some are solid. However, there are also materials to look at and their overall quality.
In terms of the decking core, MoistureShield utilizes what it calls “Solid Core Technology'”, with “Encapsulated Wood Fibers.” Patented technology that protects each wood fibre from potential water damage.
The Encapsulated Wood Fibers are highly resistant to rot, mould, and other fungi that typically affect wood. At the same time, it’s structurally very sound, resisting years of impact pressures and holding up like the day it came off the assembly line.
These encapsulated wood fibres are essential to MoistureShield products’ resistance to water. In fact, the core technology is lauded as being one of the (if not the) best in the industry in water resistance.
MoistureShield doesn’t have any hollow cores. But they offer both solid and scalloped boards.
Deckorators offer both a wood-plastic composite (WPC) and a mineral-based composite (MBC).
Deckorators (WBC) would seem to be pretty standard for wood composite decking.
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.
Similar to MoistureShield, Deckorators can be installed near and in water and not void their warranty.
Deckorators is also slightly thinner (7/8″0) compared to MoistureShield. Which measures a full 1″ thick.
Decking cap is the material used to coat the boards and protect them from abrasions, general surface wear and tear, and wet weather penetration. It also often enhances the appearance fo the decking with additional colours and embossing.
MoistureShield has two lines that feature complete caps—Vision and Meridian.
MoistureShield incorporates much of what the industry uses in terms of capping, but they also include some of their own technology, known as CoolDeck. As the name implies, its addition to the capping material is designed to keep the deck cool, even when it’s exposed to full sunlight throughout the day.
Elevate is only capped on 3 sides, top and sides leaving the scallop bottom uncapped.
An exception is Vantage, a non-capped option. Its encapsulated technology protects its core not requiring additional capping.
But without a cap, the colour will fade more than their capped options.
None of Deckorators’ composite decking series comes with complete caps.
The underside of Deckorators’ decking remains uncapped, regardless of what line of composite decking you choose. From Deckorators’ point of view, their interior (core) material is more than enough to protect the boards from moisture penetration.
The underside is not being walked on nor being exposed to the same level of sun and water. Reducing the need for capping protection.
Number of Decking Colours
When we mentioned above those aesthetics are everything in a deck, we meant it. Of course, we know those aesthetics aren’t the end-all-be-all. It doesn’t matter how good a deck looks if it’s falling apart in a few months. However, no one wants to hang out on an ugly deck, especially if it turns your home into an eyesore.
MoistureShield offers a wide array of colours in four distinct lines—Elevate, Vantage, Vision, and Meridian. Each one has its own unique colour options and aesthetic appeal.
- Vision – Smokey gray, Spanish leather, sandstone, cathedral stone, mochaccino, and cold brew
- Meridian – Citadel, shoreside, mariner, and Catalina
- Elevate – Canoe, lake fog, riverbank, and alpine gray
- Vantage – Brindle, cape cod gray, earth tone, seasoned mahogany, and walnut
Along with colour, the decking finish can make a huge impact on the appearance of the deck. MoistureShield is distinct in its appearance and embossing compared with Deckoroators.
Decorators has 18 different colours spread among 5 different lines.
Wood Composite is divided into 3 lines, with 10 colours among them.
Vista (WBC) Decking
Trailhead (WBC) Decking
Tropics (WBC) Decking [Lowes Exclusive]
- Tidal Gray
- Hana Brown
Distressed (WBC) Decking [Lowes Exclusive]
Their Mineral Base Composite includes 2 lines, with 8 colour.
Voyage (MBC) Decking
Vault (MBC) Decking
There is also a Picture Frame Deck Board (MBC), but it is a specialty board, as the name suggests. It could be used for an entire deck, but that is not the point. But it does show Deckorators understanding the value of picture framing to finish decking ends. And the challenge of requiring a longer first board to mitre. Hence its distinct colour, Dark Slate and length 21’0″.
Deckorators vs MoistureShield for Traction
Traction is hugely important because this is the part of composite decking that boils down to safety. This is especially true if you have kids running around, the elderly, or guests who prefer not to spend the evenings out on your deck on their backsides.
For traction, all of MoistureShield lines perform better than Deckoroators. This is impressive considering that Deckorators (MBC) is often considered one of the most slip-resistant composite decking.
The good news is regardless of brand. Both exceed the Canadian Construction Material Centre (CCMC).
Warranties are often complicated affairs, and that’s no exception here.
This is especially true since both brands offer warranties that last for decades. When you get into lengths of time that stretch that far, warranty coverage is often malleable.
Plus, both brands offer more than one product. Each type of decking material comes with its own warranty since some are better than others.
MoistureShield warranties are like a series of different warranties all wrapped up in one. They have an individual fade warranty for three of their four product lines and a limited structural warranty.
The only line that MoistureShield doesn’t cover with a fade warranty is their Vantage line. According to MoistureShield, a fade warranty isn’t necessary for the Vantage line because it’s designed to fade naturally, as you would normally see with wood.
- Elevate™ has a 30-year warranty
- Meridian™ has a 40-year warranty
- Vision® has a 50-year warranty
MoistureShield products do not include a labour warranty but offer a 50-year limited structural warranty on all four lines of composite decking. The structural warranty is prorated in terms of how much is covered over the years. For instance, you get 100% in the first year and only 2% by year 50.
Decorator’s warranty is a little more of what most would consider standard within the industry. It’s 25-year warranty guarantees the composite decking material will be stain-free and won’t fade. Structural is increased to 50 years with their mineral-based composites, Voyage and Vault.
Once the initial 6 years have gone by, the warranty enters the prorated territory, much like what MoistureShield does with theirs. Over time, the percentage of warranty coverage you receive will slowly diminish.
Certain things void the warranty as well. For instance, if you spill something on the deck and don’t bother to clean it up, allowing it just to sit there and marinate for more than 2 days, that’s enough to void the warranty against stains.
Unlike MoistureShield, Deckorators does include a labour warranty except for their Distress and Tropic lines.
Deckorators will pay the labour costs for replacing and repairing your composite decking. The amount of labour payment is in proportion to the prorating of the decking material.
100% for the first 6 years, after that reducing in value.
An advantage of Deckorators warranty compared to other labour warranties. It is not dependent on only using Deckorators approved installer. Even if you install the decking yourself. If installed correctly, they will pay for the labour of a warranty claim. Not adding extra work to you for their product failure.