TimberTech vs MoistureShield, Best Composite Decking for You?


When choosing between MoistureShield and TimberTech composite decking, there are several things to consider. Things like appearance, durability, traction, price, and warranty of the decking.

TimberTech and MoistureShield have similar numbers of colour options 17 and 18. MoistureShield is designed to resist outdoor elements, especially moisture, from the core to the cap. This durability is matched with an extended decking warranty. But all this performance will cost you, making TimberTech a much better-priced board.

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.

MoistureShield having one more colour than TimberTech isn’t very helpful in choosing between the two. There is so much more that makes a decking good than the colour. Colour is important, but more information is needed.

Just one of many ways that a fuller discussion would be helpful when deciding between decking.

Before discussing decking, let’s talk companies.

TimberTech vs MoistureShield 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 MoistureShield

MoistureShield started as Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies in 1988. Pioneering using recycled polyethylene plastic for manufacturing composite building material. Long before all the excitement of composite decking, they innovated uses for recycled material in construction.

Which is still a big part of who they are and what they do. Today MoistureShield decking is made from 95% recycled content, of which 25% is post-consumer.

In 2017 they were bought out by Oldcastle APGOpens in a new tab., a much older company started in 1932, operating in over 30 countries worldwide.

In 2019 they changed their name to the decking brand we recognize, MoistureShield.

MoistureShield is Headquartered in Springdale, Arizona, where it also manufactures its decking lines. Which recently, in 2020, it underwent a massive expansion to keep up with the demand for its composite decking.

MoistureShield’s solid core engineering and cooler deck technology distinguish them from TimberTech and all composite decking.

A Brief Introduction to TimberTech

TimberTech started in 1997 manufacturing composite decking. Like most composite decking manufacturerOpens in a new tab., 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 distinct advantages.

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

Now that we know them and their story a little better.

Let’s talk decking.

TimberTech vs MoistureShield – Decking Differences

Before getting too far, I have chosen to divided TimberTech Azek when comparing decking. TimberTech Azek includes PVC decking lines, Vintage® and Harvest®. PVC is an entirely different material, impacting the performance of the decking. Forcing not two but three comparisons. To avoid that, we will only be reviewing and comparing TimberTech’s wood-based composite.

We will leave Azek’s PVC line to another article.

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

Reviewing MoistureShield, this is the single biggest difference. Therefore, we will spend considerable time here since it will make the most significant difference between building a MoistureShield deck or TimberTech.

Starting at the core of the decking material. Where MoistureShield has changed everything.

Decking Core

TimberTech composite is made from an 80% blend of recycled plastic and wood fibresOpens in a new tab., while MoistureShield includes 95%. 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. 

But this may be where their similarity in material and capping ends.

Decking Material Core Difference Between Trex and MoistureShield

Starting with 95% recycled plastic and wood fibres, MoistureShield transforms the material significantly differently than TimberTech. Which greatly impacts its performance around water.  

“MoistureShield composite decking products outperform and outclass your run-of-the-mill composite, maintenance-heavy wood or plastic-like PVC”

OldCastleOpens in a new tab.

I am not a chemist; I am a carpenter, so please forgive me if I am a little off on some of the technical information. But please hear me when I say they are two different types of decking.  

I understand. TimberTech decking core is plastic and wood fibres blended together using heat and then extruded into planks.

Think of it like making patties for grilling on your deck. You mix the ground beef, onions, breadcrumbs and some spices, pressing them into patties and frying them on the grill. Except maybe more like wieners than patties, but who makes their own wieners for grilling on the deck.Opens in a new tab.

But all through the process, and even after, you can take the patty and pull it apart. Like my son does, separating the onions from the beef. Even after being cooked, every individual part is still separatable. Cooking them does adhere them together, but they can still be separated.

The same is true with TimberTech decking. A fantastic blend of materials brought together and combined with heat. Except, you can still separate the wood from the plastic. Not an easy task, but the parts are still separate. This is the single largest reason for capping composite decking. Protection of the core material.

Encapsulated Wood Fibres is the MoistureShield Difference

Somehow, and they will never tell how. MoistureShield encapsulates the individual wood fibres in their process of blending them together.

The two becoming one. The plastic securely cocooning the wood, preventing any moisture from damaging the wood.

Think M&M melts in your mouth, not your hands. The chocolate is encapsulated in a hard candy shell protecting the chocolate. It’s still distinct but cannot be easily separated.

MoistureShield has done the same with the wood fibres in their decking. The wood is encapsulated in plastic, preventing damage from moisture.

 “With a proven history of 30 years with no structural field failures”

Tim Ortman, President, Oldcastle APG

The proof is in the pudding. MoistureShield process has prevented product failure for over thirty years and is warrantied for 50. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Two very different approaches in making low-maintenance decking. Water the single largest reason for decking failure. MoistureShield has lean into it, engineering their decking for water above all else.

TimberTech uses its cap and the plastic of the core to protect the decking to some degree but not the same level that MoistureShield does.

Cost and Weight Reducing Designs

Both companies use scalloping to reduce the cost and weight of their decking lines.

  • TimberTech’s Terrain and Prime+ collections.
  • MoistureShield’s Elevate™

Important when you first buy and build your deck being lighter to carry on the pocketbook. Scalloping becomes irrelevant after as it 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.

Decking Cap

TimberTech caps its boards with high-density polyethylene (HDPE). A more durable material than the core’s low-density polymer removes organic material from the surface, making the decking more resistant to water and the sun.

Improving the decking appearance and performance.

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

  • TimberTech Pro series is entirely capped on 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.

MoistureShield also engineered their cap, creating three distinct caps and purposes.

Differing between lines not so much of how much it is capped like TimberTech but what the capping does.

Vision®’s cap includes DiamondDefense™ and CoolDeck® Technology. DiamondDefense™ to resist damage from scratches, stains and fading. All the things we don’t want to happen to our decks. CoolDeck® reduces heat by 35%. A common complaint of composite decking is it gets hot in the sun.

Meridian™ is capped with CoolDeck® Technology along with TruTexture™ Surface. One to reduce the temperature of the boards, the other to increase colour variegation.

Elevate™ their first capped composite is capped to improve appearance but does not include later development benefits like CoolDeck®, DiamondDefense™ or TruTexture™.

Lastly is Vantage™, a rarity in current decking in that it is uncapped. Ever since FiberonOpens in a new tab. introduced capping, almost all composites have followed. Including TimberTech. But because of their Solid Core design with individual encapsulated wood fibres. They can still sell an uncapped board that will not fail on your deck. In which they have embossed woodgrain texture on both sides, making the board reversible.

Similar to Trex’s Transcend line, which has their best capping to reduce scratching, fading and staining. Both premium boards with their best capping.

If your deck is at risk from extreme sun or water, this may be the end of our comparison. The other comparisons will feel trivial in light of how the decking handles water and the sun.

MoistureShield decking is light years ahead of TimberTech for protection against water. If you are building a deck in the water, close to water or just a high moisture area, you should seriously consider MoistureShield.

CoolDeck® Technology is a real plus for a deck that gets a lot of sun. Helping to reduce the burning of bare feet on the deck. Making your deck that much more enjoyable even on hot sunny days.

Now, all that said, if you are building a deck in a climate like Calgary, where I build decks with more cool days than hot, more dry than wet, other characteristics may matter more.

TimberTech vs MoistureShield – 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+

MoistureShield Decking LineNumber of ColoursDecking ProfileCapped Sides
Vision®Opens in a new tab.6Solid4
Meridian™Opens in a new tab.3Solid4
Elevate™Opens in a new tab.4Scalloped3
Vantage™Opens in a new tab. 5SolidUncapped

With 18 decking options, MoistureShield has more options than TimberTech.

“Choose from beautiful color options and textures that reflect the look of real hardwood while ensuring unmatched performance features designed to last a lifetime”

Vision

MoistureShield has a very unusual way of texturing their decking. This is more pronounce with their Vision and Vantage lines, with grooves and patterns that in some ways more resembles tree bark than cut wood.

Meridian is different than the other lines. They call it TruTexture™ Surface, which has a more woodgrain finish with an increased level of colour variegation than their other boards. This one makes me think more of birch boards than the other decking lines.

“Get advanced protection and beauty without breaking your budget.”

“Protection paired with straightforward color options allows you to create a stylish, durable outdoor environment simply and affordably.”

Elevate

MoistureShield decking is not cheap, but this is their most economical option. Like TimberTech and many composite decking companies have been able to reduce the price by reducing the material with scallops.

Elevate has 4 scallops on the underside of the decking. Like small arches opposed to TimberTech which has 2 large square plows.

“And as our most realistic composite wood decking, the high wood fiber content and uncapped construction of Vantage decking means it will weather and lighten in color just like authentic wood.”

Vantage

The original uncapped composite. One of the advantages of this board is its workability. Without a cap hiding the core, you can cut, router and craft however you please. Like building with wood but without the maintenance.

“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.

Personal taste will significantly determine which decking is right for you. You have to love the look of your deck. Ugly is hard to overcome, even with performance.  

If I were going to summarize the contrasting options of TimberTech and MoistureShield, I would say this.

“MoistureShield is focused on Performance, TimberTech on Aesthetics.”

This is not to say that MoistureShield is ugly or that TimberTech is not durable. But reading their brochures, MoistureShield emphasis the performance characteristics of their decking more than appearance.  

How do TimberTech and MoistureShield compete on performance?

TimberTech vs MoistureShield – 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.

MoistureShield has more third-party testing available than TimberTech. If you want to see some hard numbers and testing, you can read Trex vs MoistureShieldOpens in a new tab., but here we will use more experience and personal hands-on testing. 

Decking Staining Comparison

Cleaning the decking is similar to cleaning vinyl flooring in your kitchen. The polymer cap is an incredible improvement for decking. Making clean-up so much easier than on a wood deck or even first-generation un-capped composite decking.

Vantage is the exception to this, without a cap is more receptive to staining.

We will discuss this more under warranty, but TimberTech and MoistureShield give you a whole week to clean up spills. Just to say how stain-resistant their capping is. If you can leave the spill for a full week without staining, it’s pretty stain resistant.

Scratch Resistant Decking?

As can be expected, scratches across the grains cut more profound and noticeable than with the grain. Similar results as wood decking.

Most items dragged over the decking will leave a mark but will not cut through the cap.

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.

An advantage of Terrain 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.

An interesting twist MoistureShield Vantage is “self-healing.” Minor scratches disappearing on the decking surface. The decking may get scratched, but overtime becoming less noticeable than capped composite decking.

TimberTech vs MoistureShield – 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)
Vision®Opens in a new tab.0.830.77
Vantage™0.79 0.81
Elevate™0.77 0.71

That distinct texturing of MoistureShield decking pays off in spades for tractionOpens in a new tab..

MoistureShield’s focus on water has resulted in boards that work well around water. Gripping your feet when you step out of the pool preventing slipping.

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 decking with deeper woodgrain embossing has better traction than Legacy. But overall, hands down, MoistureShield has better traction. Significantly better traction.

TimberTech vs MoistureShield – 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 MoistureShield 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.

MoistureShield Decking LinesLineal PriceDecking Profile
Vision with CoolDeck®$7.45 – $8.30Solid
Vision$6.85 – $7.30Solid
Vantage$4.95 – $5.50Solid
Elevate$4.50 – $5.15Scalloped

Yes, that wonderful cap, with CoolDeck® Technology and DiamondDefense™ Coating, will cost you. Vision is the most expensive of MoistureShield’s decking boards.

Airconditioning will cost you when buying a new car, and so will CoolDeck®. Both make hot days more enjoyable but at a price.

Plain and simple MoistureShield is more expensive decking than TimberTech. Even their “Great Value” decking Elevate is priced similarly to TimberTech’s higher-end solid boards. With only the Legacy line costing more than MoistureShield’s most economical decking.

But we don’t all drive Fords. Sometimes we buy for more than price.

Same with decking; otherwise, we would all have pressure treated decks.

Warranty is one of those things.

TimberTech vs MoistureShield – Warranty

MoistureShield has one of the longest structural warranties in the industry. With an almost unheard of 50-year structural. Only Fiberon’s Concordia and Azek’s PVC decking are equal in length. Structural warranty

MoistureShield’s warrantyOpens in a new tab. separates structural from appearance. Structural is universal 50 years, stain and fading are individualized to each line.

  • Vantage™  – Designed to fade like wood.
  • Elevate™   –  30-year
  • Meridian™ –  40-year                      
  • Vision® –  50-year    

Vantage is not warrantied against fading at all. MoistureShield is very upfront with this, showing the current colour and what it should fade too.

TimberTech provides two warranty periods, warranting structural, fade, and stain the same.

TimberTech Edge series warrantyOpens in a new tab. is the shortest, with only a 25-year stain and fading.

Moving up to TimberTech ProOpens in a new tab.you get an additional 5 years for a total of 30-years of protection.

Both companies’ have prorated warranties, full stain, fade replacement for the first 10 years. TimberTech Edge drops 20% increments every 3 years. The more extended warranties dropping by 10% increments every few years depending on the warranty’s length.

MoistureShield warranting structurally separately prorates at 2% increments every year. At ten years, they will payout 90% of the board’s initial cost. That being said, with a claim to never having a structural field failure. There is no reason they don’t promise 100% for the entire 50 years if their decking never fails.

Fading Warranty

TimberTech and MoistureShield are similar with fading warranty.

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

But after warning about the inevitable fading, warranty against anything over 5 Delta E. In short, barely noticeable to the naked eye.

Staining 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

“Purchaser must try to clean affected area of the deck by using soap and water or mild household cleaners after no more than one (1) week of exposure to the food or beverage to the decking or first appearance of mold or mildew.”

MoistureShield Warranty

Not quite word for word but close enough.

Their caps are amazing, but it still needs to be cared for. This can be said about all composite decking.

Labour Warranty

Labour 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 with additional charges if the decking fails. Increasing the value of the warranty substantially.

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.

On the other hand, MoistureShield clearly excludes the cost of labour.

“This Structural Warranty covers MoistureShield composite decking replacement components only, and does not cover installation or replacement labor or any additional costs which might be incurred”

MoistureShield Warranty

This may be a moot point as MoistureShield has never had a structural field failure. If the decking doesn’t break, it’s irrelevant if they will pay for the labour. There will be no labour cost to pay for.

That being said, if they are so confident that their decking will never break, they could have promised to cover labour for the entire life of the decking. The Whole 50 years, but they didn’t.

TimberTech vs MoistureShield – 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 TimberTech vs MoistureShield for

  • Appearance
  • Price
  • Durability
  • Traction  
  • Warranty

MoistureShield is better composite decking except for price and possibly appearance.

MoistureShield has a full 50-year structural warranty. Fade and stain warranties start where TimberTech ends. Elevate with the shortest length is as long as TimberTech Pro, their longest.

MoistureShield’s traction and durability are out of this world. With no structural failures to date, it’s hard to claim anything is more durable. It is enhanced with traction that is sure to keep your feet on the deck.

TimberTech has better pricing. Building with TimberTech decking could easily cost half as much as using MoistureShield. Yes, Elevate is priced less than Legacy, but with fewer colour options and scalloped bottom.  

I have said this many times and will continue to say this appearance is personal. MoistureShield and TimberTech have distinctly different-looking decking. There is no direct substitute that you can switch for more durable board without changing the deck’s look. Not to say that one is uglier than the other, but they do not look the same.

 Ultimately when deciding between the two, I think it comes down to this, Water and Time.

If your deck will be exposed to high water or moisture levels, MoistureShield is designed for it.

If this is your forever deck, MoistureShield is designed and warrantied to last longer.

If its just time, do take a moment to compare TimberTech Azek PVCOpens in a new tab. decking, which has a similar warranty and performance.

We don’t all need the highest performance decking to enjoy being outside. But if you are in some extreme wet environment, it’s good to know that there is composite deckingOpens in a new tab. designed for that.

Ryan Nickel

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

Recent Posts