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What is AZEK?

AZEK is a low-maintenance outdoor building material. AZEK is best known for their PVC decking boards but they also make railing, trim, molding, and even pavers. Whereas wood requires maintenance on a fairly regular basis, AZEK synthetic decking won’t ever need annual maintenance. Also unlike wood, it resists mold & mildew and also resists stains, scratches, and fading. It’s splinter-free and comes with a 30-yr warranty.

Deck and patio

How is AZEK different than composite?

When companies started making synthetic decking almost 30 years ago, they used a combination of wood fibers and recycled plastic. Not only was the product low-maintenance but it was also environmentally friendly using post-consumer and post-industrial waste. Soon, some of the products ended up having mold problems because the product was not impervious to water and other elements. There are a number of successful companies that now make synthetic wood for decking and outdoor projects. In addition to AZEK, these include Trex, TimberTech, and Fiberon.

What is the new composite?

When some of the original composites began having problems, composite manufacturers began to create new variations. Some of the current variations include a more updated composite board, composite with a strong PVC cap/shell, and solid PVC. AZEK only makes a solid PVC product. TimberTech and other companies make capped products.

What is the benefit of going with a capped composite?

Of the materials that can be used for low-maintenance decking boards, PVC is the most expensive. It also carries the best performance qualities. It is stronger and more impervious to staining, scratching, and fading. Manufacturers soon learned that they could use the newer composite boards but design them to have a PVC coating on 3 or 4 sides. The composite is still an exceptionally low maintenance material but the PVC provides better performance. The combination provides some cost efficiencies while maintaining top performance.

Can composite stand alone?

It sure can. The new composite formulations have exceptional performance, durability, scratch resistance, fade resistance, and stain resistance. They also come with very long warranties of 25 years or more. They also don’t suffer the maladies that wood suffers. They do not crack, chip, cup, twist, or splinter. Current day composite decking boards are exceptional and have the warranty to prove it.

Custom deck and patio

Does composite look fake?

Composite, low-maintenance, and PVC decking have come a tremendous way in overcoming the aesthetic challenges of making a synthetic material look like wood. These boards now have a variety of different streaking, texturing, veining, and other design techniques to emulate the look of real wood. Take a look at the pictures above and see how beautiful the boards are.

Is composite better than wood?

We are asked this question all the time. Wood will forever embody a character that cannot be replaced by a material that emulates wood. Wood is imperfect which is both its charm and can be considered its downside. Wood will fade, change color, splinter, twist, crack, cup, and change shape. While many of these maladies are minor, you have no guarantee that wood will not suffer these maladies. In fact, you can be guaranteed that wood will suffer these maladies. The question is to what degree.

How do you decide which to choose?

You want to decide if you want to perform annual maintenance. Do you want to power wash, stain, seal or otherwise perform maintenance on your deck every year or two for the life of the deck? If you don’t want to perform maintenance and don’t want to pay someone else to do it, low-maintenance is the best way to go.

Custom deck and patio

Are there other reasons to choose AZEK, TimberTech, Trex, or other composites/synthetic decking boards?

In addition to having confidence and a warranty that your decking boards will continue to look the same year after year, there is also comfort in knowing that the color you select will still be that color years later. Synthetic boards come in fabulous new colors including numerous shades of gray and a number of very dark brown shades along with traditional more wood-like shades of brown. Regardless of the shade you choose, you can count on the fact that your deck will maintain its color.

If you’re considering adding a new deck, porch, patio, pergola, or other outdoor structure to your backyard, the best thing to do is talk to one of our design consultants. We provide a free consultation and can help you make decisions about your new project including materials, design, and other factors. You might also want to take a look at our composite photo gallery to see the great options, colors, and aesthetic opportunities available when building with composite.