TimberTech vs Deckorators, Best Composite Decking for You?


When choosing between Deckorators 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 than Deckorators (WBC), with only 10, but both have distinctly different looking decking regardless of colour. Deckorators is better priced with more third-party testing for durability and traction than TimberTech.

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 Deckorators isn’t very helpful in choosing between the two. But how the boards are finished is.

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 Deckorators as Companies

As a deck contractor, I often find that knowing the salesperson or the carpenter makes a big difference in how I view their work or what they say. The same can be said about decking and decking companies.

So, let’s start with a brief introduction to each company before talking about their decking.

A Brief Introduction to Deckorators

Deckorators was started in 1998 in St. Louis, Missouri, not making decking but low maintenance aluminum railing for decks.

In 2005 UFPI, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, acquired Deckorators which had their own line of composite decking under the name Latitudes.

In 2012 the many deck accessories brands of UFPI were consolidated under the single name of Deckorators. I guess they must have had the better name. 

In 2014, introducing a new line of composite decking started moving away from their Latitude decking brand.

“To provide lifestyle-enhancing products that help homeowners personalize and accessorize a deck as an extension of the home.”

Deckorators

In 2016 the real game-changer happened with the unveiling of Deckorators Vault™ composite decking with Eovations™ technology. Changing composites forever by replacing organic fibres like wood with mineral-based composite decking.

A Brief Introduction to 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.

At the same time TimberTech Azek continues to manufacture PVC decking. Sold in two collections, Vintage® and Harvest®.

Now we know them a little better and their story and where they came from, let’s compare what you will be installing on your deck, decking.

TimberTech vs Deckorators – Decking Differences

TimberTech Azek and Deckorators have made a comparison a little tricky with multiple decking offering composing of different materials. TimberTech Azek with their PVC boards and Decorators’ Mineral-Based Composite. While still manufacturing wood-based composites.

I think for the sake of simplicity and comparing apples to apples. We are going to divide the two companies and their decking lines.

Here we are going to compare Deckorators and TimberTech wood-based composite decking (WBC).

Another time we will compare Azek’s PVC boards against Deckorators MBC. A fairer comparison. Wood vs Wood decking. As much as composite decking is an improvement over traditional wood decking, it still is composed mainly of wood.

Their other decking, not including any wood or organic material, is entirely a different category.

Full Disclaimer: My experience and research has led me to believe that PVC and Mineral Based composites are superior to Wood-Based Composites for performance. But that does not mean they are for everyone. The majority of decks I build are still wood composites. There are many reasons to choose wood-based composites. Price is one of them.

Now with all that said, let’s talk decking.

Please remember we are only taking Wood-Base Composite from Here on.

Decking Core

TimberTech composite is made from an 80% blend of recycled plastic and wood fibresOpens in a new tab. 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. 

Deckorators WBC are also composed of wood fibres and low-density polyethylene. They do not advertise the percentage of recycled material as front and centre as TimberTech. It is possibly because it’s low or that they don’t think it’s a major factor in your decking selection.

Either way over all, the core of both TimberTech and Deckorators WBC are similar.

The majority of Deckorators decking is scalloped. Scalloping does two things. It helps to reduce weight and cost. This is important when you first buy and build your deck but become irrelevant because scalloping does not affect the decking performance.

Scalloping does increase the importance of picture framing to finish the decking endsOpens in a new tab. but beyond that impacting the decking little.

TimberTech also scallops the underside of their Terrain and Prime+ collections. For the same reasons.

Decking Cap

TimberTech and Deckorators cap their boards with high-density polyethylene (HDPE). A more durable material than the low-density polymer of the core and the removal of organic material make the decking more resistant to water and the sun.

Improving the decking both in appearance and performance.

When it comes to the cap coverage, there are some variations.

  • TimberTech Pro series is fully capped all 4 sides.
  • TimberTech Edge is only capped 3 sides.

TimberTech Pro series also includes Mold Guard® Technology increasing the level of protection combined with the full coverage.

Deckorators’ cap is similar to TimberTech Edge, top and sides including the groove but open bottom.

The cap does more than just protect. It’s what makes the decking beautiful.

TimberTech vs Deckorators – 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. 

TimberTech Decking LineOpens in a new tab.Number of ColoursDecking ProfileCapped Sides
Legacy Collection6Solid4
Reserve Collection3Solid4
Terrain Collection®4Scalloped4
Premier Collection2Solid3
Prime+ Collection®2Scalloped3

So many collections, so many variations.

“complex blend of hues, natural board-to-board color variation, and a hand-scraped texture”

Legacy Collection

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 Collection

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 Collection

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”

Premier Collection

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”

Prime+

Deckorators [WBC] Decking LineNumber of ColoursDecking Profile
VistaOpens in a new tab.4Solid
TrailheadOpens in a new tab.3Scalloped
TropicOpens in a new tab. [Lowes]2Scalloped
DistressOpens in a new tab. [Lowes]1Scalloped

“look of exotic hardwoods”

Vista

Comparable in colour variegation as Legacy Collection and Reserve Collection. Same full profile with out scalloping.

“natural embossing and rugged undertones”

TrailHead

Tropic has a more distinct cathedral wood grain pattern. Comparable in looks as TimberTech’s Terrain Collection®, but both have their own distinctive woodgrain pattern.

“natural-looking woodgrain and hue variegation resemble the look of tropical hardwoods”

Tropical

Similar limit colour options as Prime+, but more flair with cathedral wood grains.

“natural, hardwood floors outside…without the maintenance”

Distress

A very distinct composite decking is Deckorators “Distress” board. Only available in one colour but with embossed “tool marks.” These are more than paint colours. The decking is actually marked in manufacturing, creating a very distinct appearance and feel of the decking. Like a few years ago when all the rage was salvage barn wood. A throwback to a time when machining wasn’t as consistent.

Think TimberTech Premier’s Dark Teak but with an added texture of “hand-scraping”. Along with slightly more dark streaking. Enough to make it more than just another brown board.

Deckorators and TimberTech boards have a distinctly different look and feel.

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

This rings true with decking as much as art.

If you love a particular look, our conversation may end here. Even though I compared decking lines, they are not the same. You can not substitute Deckorators for TimberTech or vice versa without changing the look of your deck.

Increasing the importance of personal taste.

TimberTech vs Deckorators – 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.

We will discuss this more under warranty, but TimberTech gives you a whole week to clean up a spill. Deckorators only 48 hours. Why the difference?

Has Deckorators’ research shown that their decking will stain after 48 hours? Meaning that TimberTech is more stain resistant.

Or simply they had to pick a number, they picked 2 days, and TimberTech picked a week.

Scratch Resistant Decking?

My quick key scratch test has similar results both with Deckorators 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. Many minor 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 chairsOpens in a new tab. and tables.

TimberTech vs Deckorators – 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, creating a potential slipping hazard.

 Slip Resistance (Dry)Slip Resistance (Wet)
Deckorators (WPC)Opens in a new tab.0.5+0.46-0.48

Overall Deckorators has an excellent rating for composite deckingOpens in a new tab..

I have read many CCMC reports with an * beside the rating. Then a note that this does not meet the residential requirements of 0.5. Deckorators does. It dips a little below when wet but overall provides good grip and traction.

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.

Legacy has the least grip of all the boards with its shallow embossing. The finish itself is smoother than the other boards. No hard numbers, just rubbing my hand over them.

But I think the results would be the same while walking on the deck.

TimberTech vs Deckorators – 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 Deckorators decking. At least in comparison to each other.

TimberTech Decking LinesLineal PriceDecking Profile
Legacy Collection$5.80 – 6.35Solid
Reserve Collection$4.30 – 4.75Solid
Terrain Collection®$3.35 – 4.05Scalloped
Premier Collection$3.10 – 3.25Solid
Prime+ Collection®$2.40 – 2.65Scalloped

TimberTech, with so many collections, offers a wide range of decking to meet any budget.

The most expensive Legacy Collection which is almost $4 a linear foot more than their entry-level Prime+.

You may need to compromise with appearance, but you can find a board to meet your budget.

Deckorators Decking LineLineal PriceDecking Profile
Vista$4.50Solid
Trailhead$2.50Scalloped
Tropics/Distress$2.25Scalloped

The biggest difference in pricing with Deckorators is scalloping.

Vista is Solid, costing almost twice as much as Trailhead. Simply you are buying more. The boards being solid require more raw material to manufacture.

The engineering to remove the material has minimized the overall impact on the decking. At the same time decreasing the price.

In short, for field boards. Using scalloped boards saves you money. This is true with Terrain, Prime+, Trailhead and Tropic.

“Less material = Less money.”

What happens on the cap does impact appearance, but what happens with the core impacts price. Yes, there are increased costs with multiple colours, embossing and variation but the core’s design has a greater impact.

Now for comparison.

If we match lines, similar as we did when discussing options.

  • Vista = Legacy/Reserve.
  • Trailhead = Terrain
  • Tropic/Distress = Premier/Prime+

In every category, Deckorators cost less. It varies by line. More with Vista vs Legacy than Prime+ and Tropics. But buying Deckorators will save you money.

I must mention this is not equal in shopping. Where you could walk into almost any decking store and buy from all five of TimberTech’s collections. You cannot do this with Deckorators’ Tropics/Distress decking, are only available at Lowes.

That being said, Trailhead may cost a little more than Tropics but is still more economical than any of TimberTech decking. Moving up the lines only increases the spread.

There are more limitations in options with Deckorators WBC but that point aside.

Just talking money. Price. Deckorators is a better deal.

But there is more to decking than price; otherwise, we would all have pressure treated decks.

Warranty is one of those things.

TimberTech vs Deckorators – Warranty

Deckorators warrantyOpens in a new tab. is straightforward, 25-year fade and stain warranty, including structural. After the first 6 years, the replacement value drops by 20% every 3 years, with only 10% value for the last 3.

TimberTech Edge series warrantyOpens in a new tab. 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 ProOpens in a new tab.you 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.

Difference in Replacement Value.

Quick note here. Deckorators decking loses its value quicker, four years sooner. Where TimberTech has 100% replacement till after 10 years, Deckorators for only six. For the rest of the warranty, it pays out less.

At a glance, TimberTech Edge and Deckorators may look the same, 25-years. But any time after 6 years, you are better off warranty-wise having TimberTech decking. If it fails, there is more money for you to replace it. Not so much with Deckorators.

TimberTech Pro only compounds this, with an even longer warranty, with a slower rate of depreciation.

Fading Warranty

TimberTech and Deckorators are similar with fading, a quick warning from both.

“Everything fades in the sun; their decking is no different.”

But their caps will minimize fading to below 5 Delta E. If it fades more. That’s covered by the warranty.

Staining Warranty

As I hinted to earlier, staining is different between the two.

“This Warranty will only apply if an attempt is made by Consumer to remove any such spill from the decking material with water and mild household cleaners within forty-eight (48) hours of exposure to the surface, and such attempt is unsuccessful.”

Deckorators Warranty

Deckorators Warranty

“Attempt to clean the affected area of the Product by using the cleaning procedures described above within one (1) week of exposure of the food or beverage to the surface of the Product.”

TimberTech Warranty

Spot the difference?

If you’re a weekend decker. You have friends over, Sunday night. It gets late, and you crawl into bed while it’s dark outside. And don’t go out to your deck again till Friday evening to discover that spill.

TimberTech still has you covered. With Deckorators, you better hope you can scrub it off.

Both have a very durable caps resistant to staining, but with TimberTech, their warranty back it.

Labour 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.

This makes sense. I would not want to warranty an untrained installer.  

TimberTech labour warrantyOpens in a new tab. limited to certified contractors. The duration 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.

Deckorators’ labour warranty is different.

Not limited to certified contractors. They only ask that it be installed correctly, which is required for all decking regardless of labour. Manufacturer warranties are limited to correct usage.

The difference is the scope and the length. Deckorators labour warranty covers the entire length of the warranty. The full 25 years. It is pro-rated the same as their decking, diminishing in value after 6 years. But that is coverage many times over what TimberTech provides.

Meaning, if your decking fails after the first 6 years. Deckorators will pay you more.

“a prorated portion of the reasonable and customary costs associated with installing replacement products, including removal and disposal of defective products”

What is reasonable and customary may be subject to debate and region. But it’s not unheard of the cost of installation to be the same as the material. Even at 50%, that’s a significant amount of money. 

This practically flips the prorating advantage.

Where after 7 years, TimberTech is only covering material. Deckorators is still helping with labour.

Believe me. Uninstalled decking has little value.

TimberTech vs Deckorators – 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 Deckorators vs TimberTech for

  • Appearance
  • Durability
  • Traction  
  • Price
  • Warranty

Warranty is about equal.

TimberTech has a lower depreciation rate and more time to clean up spills. Decreasing the chance of spills not being warrantied.

Deckorators has a longer labour warranty period. When added to the decking material’s replacement value, it may translate into a larger payment to replace failed decking. Even if the warranty depreciates it more.

Deckorators win for price. Board for board of similar appearance you will pay less with Deckorators. That is not to say matching appearance, but we will get to that.

Traction has been tested for Deckorators. Honestly, I don’t trust my hand test. You could argue that most of TimberTech’s decking is equal in traction as Deckorators. Which is valid.

But show me the numbers? Deckorators can.

Decking Durability. I have built many TimberTech decks and am fairly confident that they will last. Being a very durable and strong product. I didn’t show them, but like tractionOpens in a new tab., Deckorators has third-party reports with good results for strength, traction, elasticity and many other things.

I have compared Trex vs DeckoratorsOpens in a new tab., with Deckorators being durable. 

But I am only going to give this reluctantly to Deckorators because I have seen the numbers. Not because of the decking.

Decking Appearance. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and this is not a cop-out. You could build a beautiful deck with either one.

One may be perfect for you with all the colours or lack of variegation you love. It is beautiful to you. The perfect one for your deck. Your neighbour down the street could pick up a different one and think the exact same thing.

Pick the one you love.

Deckorators and TimberTech have been making great composite decking for a long time and have no plans to stop. Good looking, durable with minimal maintenance that you could enjoy your deck for years to come.

Which is exactly what I hope you do. Enjoy your deck, regardless of which one you install.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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