8 Top Composite Decking Brands You Should Know
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Trex may be the original composite decking, but it has lots of competition. Choose the best composite decking for you from this collection of options.
Composite decking hasn’t been around all that long. Trex intoduced it in 1996, and for awhile that brand name was synonymous with the product.
Because it uses recycled materials and gives builders an alternative to wood — a dwindling resource — composite decking was a great idea whose time had come. It didn’t take long for other companies to get in on the action. Today the best composite decking isn’t necessarily Trex, although it might be depending on what you’re looking for.
Composite decking design and manufacture remains a work in progress. Early versions had serious problems. In 2013, Trex settled a class action lawsuit over the quality of its early decking boards, which faded in the sun, absorbed moisture and became moldy. Significant improvements since then by Trex and other manufacturers addressed these issues.
If you’re looking for the best composite decking boards, consider these factors:
- Cost: Low cost doesn’t necessarily mean low quality.
- Durability: Composite decking generally outlasts wood, but some products offer longer warranty periods than others. PVC decking technically isn’t a composite but is durable.
- Style: These vary. Some boards are molded with a wood grain. Others aren’t. Some have a non-slip surface, and some grooved edges for use with hidden fasteners.
- Color: What you see is what you get. You can’t stain it, and painting usually isn’t recommended. The introduction of color streaking in the early 2000s allowed manufacturers to produce increasingly authentic-looking decking.
- Eco-friendliness: The percentage of recycled materials varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but most products are LEED-certified green building materials.
When shopping for composite decking, you’re most likely to encounter these brands:
While many manufacturers solved the water absorption problem by “capping” their products, San Diego-based Cali Bamboo addressed it by using recycled bamboo fibers instead of wood fibers. Bamboo is not only less absorbent but a more sustainable building product.
Founded in 2004, the company specializes in interior flooring and branched out to other building materials, including composite decking. Besides its BamDeck boards, manufactured with recycled bamboo fibers (60 percent) and recycled plastic (40 percent), the company offers a TruOrganics line, made from 100 percent wood fibers and capped on all four sides with durable PVC.
At about $15 per square foot, BamDeck composite decking lands on the low end of the price scale. But TruOrganics boards cost about five times that much, putting them on the high end. On its website, the company states it’s the only one that offers wide-plank decking.
A leading manufacturer of outdoor building products since 1904, CertainTeed is based near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Better known for its roofing, siding and fencing products, the company also offers the EverNew line of vinyl and PVC decking. While not strictly composite, pure plastic decking is long-lasting and requires little to no maintenance.
At around $25 per square foot, EverNew decking isn’t the least expensive out there. But it’s stain-, scratch- and fade-resistant, and comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s available in three UV-resistant colors — almond, white and gray. Its lightweight construction and grooves for hidden fasteners make it suitable for several applications.
Barrette Outdoor Living
Barrette Outdoor Living, based in Ohio, offers two lines: the Hardwoods and Landscapes Collections. Both incorporate the company’s proprietary PolyPro blend of recycled hardwood fibers and plastic, as well as its ColorLock system to prevent fading. Most planks are manufactured in Maine, with the raw materials are sourced within 500 miles of the factory.
The company caps its boards with a clear polypropylene coating, and offers consumers a convenient online process for choosing color, profile and matching railing. Barrette decking costs between $18 and $35 per square foot and comes with a 25-year limited warranty against fading.
Envision Outdoor Living Products, also based in Pennsylvania, offers decking boards made from plastics with no wood fibers. So like CertainTeed decking boards, they technically aren’t composites.
The four product lines in order of increasing price are Evergrain, Distinction, Inspiration and Expression. All come with a 25-year limited warranty and cost from $15 to $35 per square foot.
Envision products aren’t as commonly available as some others, so you may have to hunt to find them. The premium products are more realistic-looking than the budget ones, and color choices are limited.
One of the early entries to the composite decking market, Fiberon began production in New London, North Carolina in 1997 and now has a facility in Meridian, Idaho. An early developer of capping technology, the company features seven lines of capped composites and one line each of uncapped composite and capped PVC.
The lines offer a various color choices. All provide a 25-year warranty except for the PVC line, which has a 50-year warranty. Prices range from $15 to $22 per square foot, a reasonable range.
Unique in the composite world, Chicago-based Lumberock manufactures its decking boards from recycled plastic and minerals. The lack of wood or other organic material eliminates the possibility of water absorption, mold and insect damage.
Lumberock decking boards feature textured, non-slip surfaces. They come in 12 colors, including black, various shades of brown, beige, red and white. Products come with a limited lifetime warranty that guarantees against cracking, splintering, peeling and rotting for at least 50 years.
AZEK, located in the Chicago area, has been making PVC products since the 1980s and began producing PVC decking in 1999. In 2012, it joined forces with TimberTech to make quality decking boards.
TimberTech decking boards are generally regarded as some of the best and most expensive available. The capped PVC boards in its AZEK line come with a 50-year warranty, while warranties for TimberTech Pro (four-sided capped composite), Edge (three-sided capped composite) and Specialty (uncapped composite) boards run 30 years.
The original composite decking manufacturer, based in Virginia, remains the one against which all others are measured.
Trex uses 95 percent recycled materials, including plastic from grocery bags and plastic film as well as wood waste. Trex produces some of the least expensive, as well as the most expensive, decking boards on the market.
The company offers a 25-year warranty against staining and fading on all its products. It also offers instructions on its website for homeowners who choose DIY installation, as well as a service called TrexPro to help homeowners find qualified contractors.