When choosing between Armadillo and TimberTech composite decking, there are several things to consider. Things like appearance, durability, traction, price, and warranty of the decking.
TimberTech has 17 colours compared to Armadillo, with only 10 but with a very distinct wood look compared to TimberTech. Armadillo decking is more economical, but TimberTech has more pricing options and a more comprehensive warranty.
That a lot to say in one paragraph. It would be good to develop and work out the details between the two a little better.
Saying TimberTech has more colours than Armadillo isn’t very helpful in choosing between the two. But how the boards are finished does.
That is just one of many ways that a fuller discussion would be more helpful when picking between the two.
Before discussing decking, let’s talk companies.
TimberTech vs Armadillo as Companies
A Brief History of Armadillo
Avon Plastic the parent company of Armadillo, was started in 1966 in Paynesville, MN. Manufacturing a variety of plastic products from boat bumpers to landscaping products. In 1984 they opened their first HDPE post-consumer recycling plant. Then in 1996, they introduced composite decking know as “The Deck Plank.” In 2010 they improved their decking offering with capped composite decking sold as Armadillo. In 2017 they started producing TurboClip Universal Fasteners, promising to reduce waste and installation time of composite decking.
One distinct difference between Trex and Armadillo is who they are as a company. Armadillo is a part of a much larger company, Avon plastic which decking is just one of many plastic products they produce. Trex is a deck company, started to make decking and still strongly focused on decks. They have expanded beyond decking with railing, pergolas and deck furniture, to name a few, but still, decks are their bread and butter. Where Armadillo is one of many products made by Avon Plastic.
A Brief History of TimberTech
TimberTech was started in 1997 manufacturing composite decking. Like all composite decking manufacturer, started with an un-capped board. But now, only sell capped composite decking with its enhanced beauty and protection.
TimberTech grew to become a leader in the composite decking industry. Currently, TimberTech has two manufacturing facilities, one in Wilmington, OH, and the other in Scranton, PA.
In 2012 they were acquired by Azek. The world’s third-largest manufacturer of PVC products based out of Chicago with a focus on low maintenance exterior building products. Azek, already having its own line of PVC decking at the time of the acquisition, merged the two decking companies together.
“Our brand exists to challenge convention. To rage against mediocrity. We believe “Good Enough” is never enough. We are TimberTech.”Azek/TimberTech
Despite merging the two decking companies, they have kept their decking separate by offering different series. All the PVC boards are sold as TimberTech Azek. Simultaneously, the composite decking made with wood fibres is sold separately as TimberTech Pro and Edge series. Within these two series including 5 different collections, each with its own distinct advantages. It is these lines and collections we will be focus on here.
Well, that’s who TimberTech and Armadillo are in a nutshell. Let’s turn to the actual decking
Speaking of manufacturing, how do the two differ?
TimberTech vs Armadillo – Decking Differences
TimberTech composite is made from an 80% blend of recycled plastic and wood fibres plus new material. The plastic helps to protect the wood fibres minimizing maintenance requirements. At the same time, the wood fibres reduce cost while increasing strength. Creating a beautiful, long-lasting decking requiring minimal upkeep.
TimberTech and Armadillo reduced board weight and cost by scalloping the underside of the decking. TimberTech with their Terrain and Prime+ collections. Armadillo with all their decking.
Scalloping increasing the importance of picture framing to finish the decking ends but beyond that impacting the decking little. The scallops making the boards lighter without reducing the board’s strength.
None of Azek’s PVC boards are scalloped. The material itself reducing the weight.
When it comes to the cap coverage, there are some variations. TimberTech Pro series is fully capped all 4 sides. But TimberTech Edge is only capped 3 sides.
Armadillo does both, fully capping Lifestyle decking on all four sides, including the groove. For their more budget-conscious decking, Essentials is only capped on 3 three sides. The Commercial composite decking line is still the older technology without any capping.
TimberTech Pro series includes Mold Guard® Technology, along with a complete 4-sided cap.
TimberTech Edge boards are only capped on 3 sides, the industry standard. This use to be what set TimberTech apart from other composites was complete capping, but with Edge’s introduction as an entry-level board, the bottom cap was lost to reduce costs.
It will be interesting to see how this change plays out. Trex and Fiberon having been doing this for years, without problems. But TimberTech use to claim their boards were better being capped on all four sides.
The cap does more than just protect. It’s what makes the decking beautiful.
TimberTech vs Armadillo – Decking Options
The capping finishes also changes the feel of the decking. Along with the blending of colours impacting the look of the decking. From solid colours mimicking painted decking to imitating exotic wood decking.
|Armadillo Decking Line||Number of Colours||Decking Profile||Capped Sides|
Armadillo has a much smaller offering of decking colours with only 10, only 9 available for residential application.
Essential has only two-colour brown and grey. With some colour variation but nothing pronounced.
LifeStyle has a much broader colour option covering all the blondes, brown, grey and red with shades in between plus a distinct White Sand. Colour is one of the most effective ways to cool composite decking to the touch. White Sand would be excellent for being cooler.
|TimberTech Decking Line||Number of Colours||Decking Profile||Capped Sides|
So many collections, so many variations.
“complex blend of hues, natural board-to-board color variation, and a hand-scraped texture”
Includes Whitewashed Cedar, one of the cooler decking colours. It also includes shades of brown and grey to compliment your house.
“Inspired by reclaimed wood, the heavy wire-brushed, low-gloss finish showcases the classic cathedral wood grain pattern”
Reserve is the deepest embossed of TimberTech decking. All three colours are enhanced with dark streaking along the boards.
“traditional hues … range from solid to moderately varied and create a timeless look with a complex, rugged wood grain pattern designed to camouflage everyday wear and tear.”
Terrain has the shallowest embossing and least streaking with different shades of brown and grey. This probably is their most wear-friendly decking. Less to chip, collect dirt or notice, making use much less noticeable.
Scalloped to reduce cost, making Terrain an affordable, low-maintenance decking option.
“subtle, straight grain pattern and offer a painted wood look”
Similar to Enhance Basics colours but missing the blonde option. Also, a solid profile, instead of scalloped increasing its price over Basic’s.
“moderately varied hues. Featuring a subtle, straight grain pattern, … an authentic wood visual”
A couple notes when comparing the appearance of TimberTech and Armadillo.
Armadillo LifeStyle has more colour on its boards. If you like more variety with your deck boards, Lifestyle is a wonderful option. This also helps to make the decking look more like clear stained wood decking.
New Armadillo has more sheen than TimberTech. Some time outdoors will change this over time.
“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”
This rings true with decking as much as art. Armadillo and TimberTech boards have a distinctly different look and feel.
Ultimately this might be what wins you to one series over the other.
TimberTech vs Armadillo – Durability
Decks are built to be enjoyed, not just seen.
Durable decking is valuable decking.
Decking that wears well under constant foot traffic, the occasional pulling of chairs and spilling of ketchup, grease and beer on the deck. Not that you intend to, but accidents happen. The decking must hold up against all life throws at or drops on it.
Decking Staining Comparison
For the accidental spills, the polymer cap on both holds up equally. Wipe it up immediately or give it a quick scrub, and you won’t have a problem.
With both, the caps are very similar to cleaning vinyl flooring in your kitchen.
To note, Armadillo does not warranty against staining. TimberTech does. We will discuss this more when comparing their warranties.
Scratch Resistant Decking?
My quick key scratch test has similar results both with Armadillo and TimberTech. The sharper the object, the deeper the cut.
As can be expected, scratches across the grains cut more profound and noticeable. With the grain, less cutting and harder to see. Similar results as wood decking.
Most items dragged over the decking will leave a mark but will not cut through the cap.
An advantage of the Terrain collection is its wire-brushed finishes. The small “wire brush” marks act like camouflage, hiding minor scratches. They are still there to the observant eye. But like camo in the bush, it takes a keener eye to spot. With many slight scuffs disappearing in the background.
Protective plastic, rubber, or felt leg pads under furniture is recommended to help protect the decking from being scratched from moving chairs and tables.
TimberTech vs Armadillo – Traction
If your constantly getting rain showers followed by sun, the decking you choose is critical for how safe your deck will be. Water on any surface increases the risk of slips and falls. Decking is no exception. The polymer cap of the decking repelling the water, creates a potential slipping hazards.
|Slip Resistance (Dry)||Slip Resistance (Wet)|
Armadillo is great in that water increases traction. When you need it, the most Armadillo has your back or at least your foot. Making walking on your deck safer in the rain.
I am not sure about you, but when it starts to rain, and I race for the door, the potential of missteps increases. It’s excellent that Armadillo traction compensates for my lack of care.
But it is really disappointing how little traction Armadillo has when dry. Not quite a slip and slide, but that is low.
I wish I had current third-party testing for TimberTech boards, for we could go head-to-head for traction with precise numbers. The higher being better.
Unscientific Rub Test
For comparing without lab numbers, the texture is often the best tell for traction.
Embossing making all the difference. TimberTech has more embossing than Armadillo, both brush and woodgrain finish.
Legacy provides the least grip of all the boards with its shallow embossing. The finish itself is also smoother than the other boards. No hard numbers, just rubbing my hand over them.
TimberTech vs Armadillo – Pricing
Pricing is always a tricky one, constantly changing from region to region, fluctuating with the season. In fact, just crossing the street at times can save you a few hundred on a deck. But this should give you a sense of the cost of TimberTech and Azek decking. At least in comparison to each other.
|Armadillo Decking Line||Lineal Price|
Before talking about pricing of Armadillo decking, there is a bigger issue about buying Armadillo decking. Availability. It is hard to find a store that sells Armadillo.
Now about the price. Armadillo Lifestyle decking is priced in the middle of composite decking. A plus for Armadillo is Lifestyles is its a fully wrapped composite decking. Cap is expensive. Covering the entire board cost more, but Armadillo’s price is not increased for this extra layer of protection.
At the same price point, TimberTech only caps three sides.
|TimberTech Decking Lines||Lineal Price||Decking Profile|
|Legacy Collection||$5.80 – 6.35||Solid|
|Reserve Collection||$4.30 – 4.75||Solid|
|Terrain Collection®||$3.35 – 4.05||Scalloped|
|Premier Collection||$3.10 – 3.25||Solid|
|Prime+ Collection®||$2.40 – 2.65||Scalloped|
TimberTech, with so many collections, offers a wide range of decking to meet any budget.
Unlike Armadillo which only has two, mid and entry.
Overall, Armadillo will cost less than TimberTech. Lifestyle, their premium board, is priced below all except Prime+.
It is worth noting that all of Armadillo decking is scalloped. Most TimberTech boards do not.
Scalloping does not affect decking strength but definitely reduces cost by removing material.
TimberTech vs Armadillo – Warranty
How the warranties are written out, shows the experience of the companies.
TimberTech has been focused on composite decking for a long time. This increased volume resulted in more experience warranting decking.
TimberTech words their warranty with a greater focus on decking than Armadillo.
Armadillo, who is part of a much larger plastic manufacturer.
Armadillo’s warranty reflects Avon’s broader plastic experience. Being part of a much larger plastic manufacturing company, not just decking.
This difference is not a problem but is noticeable between the two.
Let’s look at some of those details of their warranty are a little bit different.
All are pro-rated but with different rates of depreciation.
For all the first 10 years is 100% replacement.
TimberTech Edge series warranty is the shortest, with only a 25-year stain and fading.
After the first ten, TimberTech Edge drops replacement value by 20% every three years.
Moving up to TimberTech Proyou get an additional 5 years for a total of 30-years of protection.
TimberTech Pro series with the more extended warranty period drops 10% every 2 years until the final four with 10% replacement value. Making the last few years less valuable but still warrantied, nonetheless.
Armadillo warranty is the same length as TimberTech Edge series, 25 years. With the same pro-rating reduction in replacement value.
Fading and Staining
TimberTech warranties against fading beyond 5 Delta E and staining. Spills must be cleaned up within a week to be warrantied. Providing peace of mind for a long time.
Armadillo’s warranty is more focused on structural not appearance. Providing limited warranty against either staining or fading of their decking.
“(6) discoloration, fading, spotting or staining from or caused, in whole or in part, by mold, mildew, other fungal growth, organic materials, metallic oxides or particles (including but not limited to rust or corrosion of any fasteners), dirt, other atmospheric or environmental pollutants, foreign substances such as grease or oil, chemicals (including but not limited to those found in cleaners and suntan lotion)”Armadillo Warranty
This is a new development in composite decking warranties. The labour to install decking is often as much or more than the cost for the material. Covering labour makes sure you are not on the hook for labour if the decking fails. Increasing the value of the warranty substantially.
Limited to certified contractors. This makes sense. I would not want to warranty an untrained installer.
TimberTech labour warranty is based on the level of the contractor who built your deck. The more volume of decking installed by the contractor, the longer the labour warranty.
- Member & Silver 2-4 years
- Gold & Platinum 5-7 years
The maximum protection is provided if railing is included. The lower years for only the decking and fasteners.
Armadillo does not stipulate who must install their decking but limits the labour warranty to 2 years.
After two years, the decking material is still warrantied but no provision for labour or disposal of the old decking.
Largely equal in duration but with TimberTech more specific decking language along with stain and fade limitation. TimberTech has a better composite decking warranty.
TimberTech vs Armadillo – Which is Better for You?
Now for the hard part, choosing which decking will be suitable for you for the next 25 or more years.
Comparing Armadillo vs TimberTech for
TimberTech provides a better warranty for composite decking. Similar in length but more comprehensive than Armadillo.
Traction is hard to determine without a third-party rating for TimberTech. Using the simple hand rub test does not supply conclusive evidence. You could argue that Armadillo being tested is better. But will your feet reflect that on the deck?
Price; as a whole, Armadillo will cost less, saving you money. But TimberTech has more options both in decking and price points. Letting you determine your budget better. I
For Durability, there is not a clear winner. TimberTech Pro has a slightly longer warranty, which often reflects a more durable product but doesn’t have to. It is possible that all will last and wear the same. Again, back to warranty, TimberTech includes stain and fade. This does not mean that Armadillo will fade or stain more but if TimberTech does, they will pay you for it.
Decking appearance is the toughest but the single most determining factor in choosing decking. Armadillo looks nothing like TimberTech. This may be the single largest reason to buy Armadillo or not. If you love the look, TimberTech cannot compete. If you don’t, again, the choice is made.
Whichever you choose, Armadillo or TimberTech, I hope you have many good times out on your deck. The outdoors are great, especially when they are conveniently out the back door. Enjoy your deck.