If you’re considering adding a new deck to your Chicagoland area home, you have no doubt considered the amount of maintenance you are willing to do on your new space. Do you want to scrape? Do you want to strip? Stain? Sand? How about splinters? Fading? Insect damage?
Believe it or not, all of these maladies that befall natural wood can be eliminated by using low-maintenance materials. You have probably heard the term “composite” as it relates to low-maintenance decking. What you may not realize is there are several different types of composite decking – enough that the material choices are now lumped into the category of “synthetic” because of the number of different materials and compositions. Our goal is to share those with you to help you make your decision.
To provide good information about composite decking, we have to talk a little bit about history. Believe it or not, synthetic decking has been around for 20+ years. The industry has grown and evolved quite a bit over that period of time. Quality issues sprung up many years ago that were later greatly reduced with product improvements.
Composite decking was the first generation of synthetic decking. As the name implies, it consists of a combination of wood fibers and plastic. This combination allows composite to claim protection from material defects, splinters, and damage from termites or rot. Although traditional composite is still available, we work exclusively with the two upper-end synthetics because mold issues still exist on traditional composite.
Capstock low-maintenance decking is a composite core surrounded by a stronger polymer shell or cap. Some capstock boards are protected on 3 sides and some have the polymer shell on all 4 sides. This shell does provide the additional benefit of stain resistance, scratch resistance, and fade resistance. It has all of the same protection as a composite in that it resists mold and mildew along with resisting moisture damage. Depending on the board or collection, many include texturing or other custom finishes that emulate natural wood textures or more current textures. One of the best benefits of capstock is that it comes with not only the 25-year limited warranty that composites have but also has a 25- to 30-year fade and stain warranty. TimberTech has a couple of lines of capstock decking including the Legacy Collection, Tropical Collection, and Terrain collection. Check back for a future post to look at these options in greater detail.
Solid synthetic decking
At the high end of the synthetic decking options is solid synthetic decking. Solid PVC has the greatest strength because it does not utilize any natural materials. While intuitively, natural materials such as wood may seem desirable, solid PVC eliminates all of the maladies that befall wood or wood fibers.
Solid synthetics come with the longest and typically the most comprehensive warranties. AZEK’s warranty covers your decking boards for 30 years. It’s quite likely that you will have moved to another home before your decking warranty expires.
How in the world do you choose?
Don’t try to choose on your own. Work with a local custom deck builder that’s experienced in working with all of these materials. They will give you the pros and cons as well as provide insight about colors and how those look when they are installed on a large deck vs. on a website or a small color block.
We are a tried, trusted, and true Chicagoland deck builder. Sign up for a free design consultation or call Archadeck of Chicagoland at (847) 250-4100 to speak with a design consultant and begin creating your new dream space.