Choosing Among Composite Decking Brands

Updated: May 09, 2024

Trex invented composite decking, but these days, the company has plenty of competition. Here's how four leading brands stack up against each other.

At the risk of exposing my Boomer vintage, I can tell you that I had been building decks for 10 years before composite decking was even a thing. My point is not that I’m old, but that composite decking is fairly new, and it has come a long way in the short time it has been around.

Trex was the company that pioneered composite decking in 1996, and early versions of the deck boards certainly had their problems. In fact, the company had to settle two class action suits in the 2010s over flaking, mold and color fading, but that turned out to be an incentive to improve their products. Today, Trex has competition from a number of companies, including AZEK (which manufactures TimberTech boards), Fiberon and MoistureShield. While Trex products still set the standard for composite decking, many others have risen to meet that standard.

With so many composite decking options on the market (and more coming every year) it can be hard to make the best choice. We asked Josh Rudin, a building and restoration expert from Phoenix, AZ, for help comparing the four major brands for price, durability and maintenance needs.

Leading Composite Brands


“Trex is by far the most common of the composite decking brands on the market. This is likely because it is a remarkable product, with great customer service, and a solid track record for product longevity,” says Rudin.

Trex decking boards are true composites, meaning they are made from a mixture of recycled wood and plastic. By the company’s own admission, its early generation decking boards are sensitive to weather and mold, but the more contemporary products are “capped,” meaning they are encased in a waterproof plastic coating to make them more weather-resistant.

  • Warranty period: 25 to 50 years, depending on product

AZEK (TimberTech)

AZEK sells a line of pure PVC decking which contain no wood. The company also sells composite decking that combines plastic with recycled and reclaimed wood. “AZEK,” says Rudin, “is known for its high-performance features, including resistance to mold, and mildew as well as fade prevention.”

  • Warranty period: 30 years


“This is a well-respected decking brand that is also known for its innovative designs and even eco-friendly materials,” says Rudin. The company sells capped and uncapped composite decking boards. Its website prominently features boards made from pure PVC and polyethylene (PE)/wood composites.

  • Warranty period: 25 years


MoistureShield offers three lines of capped composite boards and one line of uncapped ones. “One of the major differences between MoistureShield and the other composite decking brand companies,” says Rudin, “is that they offer a lifetime warranty on their product against rot, decay, and termite damage as well.”

  • Warranty period: Lifetime

Cost Comparisons

As a rule, composite decking costs more than wood, but as you would expect, some composite boards cost more than others. Trex manufactures both the least expensive boards (Trex Enhance Basics at $2.20 per linear foot) and most expensive ones (Trex Signature at $8.50 plf.). Rudin considers Trex “one of the best value products on the market.”

TimberTech is the most expensive of the three Trex competitors, with an average price of $5.50 plf. Next is MoistureShield, averaging $4.50 plf, while Fiberon claims the budget category with an average price (for its composite products) of $4.15 plf.

Style Selections

When it comes to style selection, Trex has four distinct lineages: Enhance, Select, Transcend and Signature (in order of increasing cost). The lineages differ in color options as well as durability and lifespan. TimberTech by AZEK has five lineages, which include Legacy, Reserve (which mimics the appearance of reclaimed wood), Terrain (sanded wood), Prime (painted wood) and Premier (also painted wood).

MoistureShield offers one line of composite-enhanced PVC decking — its Stratos line — and four wood composite lines: Vision, Meridian and Elevate (all capped) and Vantage (uncapped). For its part, Fiberon offers two lines of PVC decking — Promenade and Paramount — and five lines of PE/wood composites, which include Concordia, Sanctuary and Good Life, as well as ArmorGuard and Veranda, which are budget lines available only at Home Depot.

Screws and Hidden Fasteners

As a builder, nothing hurts my eyes quite as much as an aging composite deck with top-driven screws surrounded by black mold, and this eyesore is totally unnecessary. All the brands mentioned sell boards with grooved edges that allow the use of “hidden fasteners,” which are brackets that clip into the grooves to hold them down.

For those who prefer screwing from the top, Trex also offers Hideaway plug-and-screw sets that consist of a countersinking drill bit, weatherproof screws and composite plugs that fit precisely into the countersunk holes.

Maintenance Requirements

Because all wood composite and pure PVC decking boards contain plastic, they can’t be sanded, and some manufacturers will void the warranty even if you pressure-wash them. Nevertheless, composite boards still need periodic cleaning to keep them mold-free and looking their best. The recommended way to do this is by scrubbing with soap and water and rinsing with clean water.

Composites seldom need painting, and it isn’t recommended for some products, so if your aging deck looks like it needs help, check the manufacturer’s specifications. Because of the plastic content, the application of dark paint colors may cause overheating and warping.

Wood Composite vs. Plastic

Pure PVC decking boards are an even more recent development than composite decking. They won’t absorb moisture the way boards with wood content will, but they do tend to crack in regions with extreme temperature swings. They are a better choice than composites in coastal or wet environments, but composites will last longer in regions with prominent seasonal swings.

Capped composite boards, with an impermeable plastic coating protecting the composite material, provide the best longevity and durability, with one condition. You can’t penetrate the cap with screws or nails, so hidden fasteners are a must.

About the Expert

  • Josh Rudin is a Certified Restorer and the owner of ASAP Restoration LLC, based in Phoenix, AZ. The company has been in business since 2008.