Composite deck material is a man-made building product that is composed of a mix of wood fibers, plastics and bonding agents. Mixed together, these materials are then heated, extruded into decking materials and then cooled and formed.
The resulting boards need far less maintenance than traditional wood decking while looking and feeling more natural than other plastic or aluminum decking materials.
Wooden Decks – What Are The Drawbacks?
Although wood has traditionally been the material for making decks, composites have become the preferred materials for many consumers. It is true that wood is a less expensive material initially but there are some significant drawbacks to it. Wood decking requires annual maintenance to prevent fading, discoloration, and rot. Compared to composite alternatives, wood decks require greater attention and care from homeowners, including sealing and staining every few years to protect the deck from moisture damage and help maintain its appearance.
Furthermore, natural wood may need to be re-stained as frequently as every two years and resealed as frequently as once a year. Splinters from wood decks are another minor inconvenience presented by these materials as well as the possibility of insect infestation.
The Benefits of Composite Deck Materials?
One of the major benefits of composite versus wood decking is that it needs far less maintenance and upkeep. The plastic content of the material means that the boards are more durable and resistant to damp, rot, and insect infestation. Composite deck boards never need to be stained, sealed, or painted and even in direct sunlight they won’t warp or crack. They are splinter free and, if they are one of the styles that feature plastic capping, composite decking boards become stain and fade resistant.
Composite boards also experience minimal levels of water absorption which means they are highly slip resistant and can be used around pools and wet areas. Furthermore, due to their greater durability, composite decking has a much longer lifespan than wood.
Although they might initially be slightly more costly, composite decking continues to look great year after year and has virtually no upkeep costs. In short, composite decking needs far less maintenance than traditional wood decking which means you can spend less time on upkeep and more time enjoying your deck.
Composite decking has other advantages. For instance, some planks are flexible enough to be heated and shaped, allowing for rounded corners to create railings and borders for kidney-shaped pools. Achieving this look would be expensive to duplicate in solid wood.
For years now, composite deck materials have come in many colors but recently the range of textures and patterns available for composite decks have expanded considerably and span the range from smooth, almost varnished surfaces to straight and circular grains, with the feel becoming more like real wood underfoot.
Now that you know about the overall benefits of composite deck material, let’s discuss each of the major brands that Zenna Decks works with.
What Is Trex?
Trex Composite Decking is one of the most popular types of decking in the U.S.
Although Trex looks exactly like wood, it is a highly durable composite that is made from recycled materials including plastic, wood fibers, and a bonding agent. In fact, using Trex for your new deck is a greener option than natural wood because no new trees are cut down in the manufacturing process and all of materials are recycled. Plus, Trex is more durable than wood, which is a huge plus!
The Benefits of Trex Decking
As a general rule, Trex decking is more expensive than traditional wood decking material. However, in our experience, the extra upfront cost is more than offset by the lower maintenance costs over time that a Trex deck will deliver.
Known for its beauty and elegance, Trex is also known to be one of the most durable composite materials for decking. It is a very strong material that can be used to build extremely durable decks. Trex decking can last longer than any other type of composite available today and it is shown to stand up wonderfully to intense pressure and huge temperature swings.
As mentioned above, Trex is more expensive than wood in terms of upfront cost, but it is more long lasting and durable in the long run and maintenance costs are much lower. Furthermore, Trex decks do not get damaged by water and can be easily cleaned at the beginning of each season.
Stands Up To Extreme Weather
Although the weather we experience in South Jersey and the Delaware Valley isn’t as extreme as in some parts of the country, we still experience intense heat, damaging rain and hail and other weather events that can impact your deck.
In order to maintain their durability and looks, wood decks require frequent staining (or painting) and resealing. For some of the older decks in our area, this means that maintenance needs to occur nearly every year. With a Trex deck, a simple cleanup with soap and water is all that is typically needed after a long winter
Unfortunately, wood decks attract a lot of damaging and unwanted pests. This includes carpenter bees and termites. Stopping them from eating your wood deck every year can represent considerable effort and cost. Since it is mostly an artificial material, Trex doesn’t suffer from destruction by wood boring pests.
Trex decking is made from 95% recycled materials, making it an excellent choice for those who want to use environmentally-sound materials in the construction of their new deck.
Some of the recycled materials used to make Trex include:
- Grocery and bakery bags
- Newspaper and produce bags
- Toilet paper packaging and paper towel packaging
- Water bottle packaging
- Dry cleaning plastic.
Trex recycles these materials and others to make their decking! Compared to wood decking, which is primarily made from new timber harvested from forests Trex is definitely the environmentally sound choice.
Although most composite decking material is designed for strength and safety, Trex provides a relatively better experience for homeowners. In our Trex decks, nails do not go through the deck itself, which makes it a safe and pleasant place to walk barefoot.
Trex is slip resistant, which makes it easy to clean with water. Unlike wood it does not have any splinters and can be walked on barefoot. You don’t have to worry about your kids playing on the deck as the modern decking is one of the safest home improvement experiences you’ll ever get.
When it comes to the style of home that you have as well as your own personal taste and style, the aesthetics of a deck is of the highest importance. Trex decking offers a variety of colors to choose from, making it much easier to match your vision for your home. You also will avoid stains and fading, which a common problem with wood decking.
Another one of the composite deck materials manufacturers that Zenna Decks recommends to its customers is Moistureshield.
Not only is it beautiful but MoistureShield’s low maintenance composite decking is one of the few deck materials that can be used in almost any environment. This is due to its proprietary Solid Core® technology that makes it the only wood composite deck board that can be installed in the ground, on the ground and underwater.
The Solid Core® innovation creates an impermeable barrier that fights against damage from moisture, rot, insects, and other harmful elements, which makes it perfect for the humidity in interior New Jersey and the harsh weather sometimes experienced by decks at the Jersey Shore.
The Solid Core® offers 360-degree protection on all sides of the board. Traditional composites are protected by a cap on three sides, leaving the back of the boards vulnerable to damage where moisture can run through open joints. All that protection means long-lasting results and continued good looks for the life of the deck.
MoistureShield decking is manufactured to simulate the look and feel of natural wood. The variegation and slight texture difference on the surface of each board is deliberate and does not affect the Solid Core® durability. Their resilient, color-enriched composite decking boards feature wood grain patterns and reduced pattern repetition that evoke the look and feel of real wood. Except, unlike real wood, MoistureShield decking stands up to the elements, providing a natural look that doesn’t require staining or painting.
MoistureShield Decking offers a number of other innovations:
Scorching hot decking can make it difficult to get the most out of your outdoor space. This is especially true for families with children and pets. Traditional wood decking may be cooler in the sun than most composite decking, but it’s also prone to splintering, becoming slippery with mildew, and rotting over time. That’s why they created a solution for this common issue—heat resistant composite decking.
Some composite decking boards can get scratched and chipped when objects are dropped on them. MoistureShield protects your deck from damage with its DiamondDefense™ technology, which delivers liquid polymer coated deck boards to the strongest capped wood composite board on the market to help prevent damage from scratching and impact.
MoistureShield is also one of the best-looking decking boards available today. Their proprietary TruTexture™ Coating utilizes advanced techniques to deliver lower pattern repetition, rich color variegation and a realistic wood grain texture in each composite decking board.
Like other superior decking materials manufacturers, MoistureShield is committed to creating a cleaner environment. Because of this they build their composite decking boards with 95% recycled content, much of which has been diverted from landfills. Also, 100% of the wood they use in their products is recycled, so no trees are cut down and 25% of the plastic they use comes from post-consumer waste—like plastic bags and bottles—so they become part of beautiful decks rather than landfills or pollution.
Fiberon is one of our customer’s top choices for decking board. After over 25 years, Fiberon has earned accolades from consumers and professionals alike and has become a top choice in decking materials.
A trusted name in the landscaping, Fiberon started manufacturing composite decking in 1997. Since then, Fiberon decking has continuously evolved its product line to ensure customers are always getting high-tech, top-performing decking materials.
As a pioneer and leader in the composite decking space, Fiberon introduced the first multi-tonal and embossed decking boards, the first hidden fastener system, and the industry’s first stain and fade warranty for capped composites.
Fiberon composite decking is durable, strong and long lasting. Its solid composite core ensures no splintering, cracking, rotting, or warping and delivers iron-clad assurance against the pitfalls or ordinary wood decking. Fiberon’s capped composites capture the warmth and beauty of natural and exotic hardwoods, complete with subtle streaking, varied grain patterns, and rich color palettes. And since capped composite decking doesn’t fade or degrade like wood, the look you love today will still be there tomorrow.
Fiberon composite decking looks good year after year and its wide selection of decking boards are available in colors and finishes that will meet any aesthetic need at a competitive price point. You can choose from rich solid tones or multi-chromatic color and single-sided or reversible boards. Fiberon decking is synonymous with low-maintenance and just needs an occasional soap and water cleaning to remain a beautiful deck that lasts for years to come.
While Fiberon is similar to other premier deck materials on the market today, it also has some unique features that will make it the perfect choice for many new deck projects. These include:
Fiberon decking is made of a wood composite consisting of sawdust that is blended with recycled plastic waste including plastic bags and other landfill-bound materials. These materials are heated and compressed into decking boards that are then capped with a plastic polymer sheathing to further protect them from the sun and weather.
Fiberon perfected capped deck boards and its premium line offers 4-sided capping. 4-sided capping is perfect for homes with a second-story deck with a living space beneath. The capping on all sides gives extra finish to the underside of the decking boards and greatly enhances the “ceiling” above the living space.
Fiberon installation is based on its hidden fastening systems, which is a rectangle that fits between the grooves of grooved boards with a carbon-coated screw through the middle. The company has also partnered with Camo hidden deck fastening systems to offer other options for hidden fastening with the EDGE and EDGEX clips.
In terms of maintenance, the average pressure-treated deck can cost upwards of $800 per year to maintain and will likely need replacing in 10 – 15 years. Fiberon requires a minimum of two cleans per year and, since cleaning means using mild soap, such as dish detergent, and water with a soft-bristled brush, Fiberon composite decks average less than $50 in annual maintenance costs.
Fiberon can be painted with any outdoor surface rated latex acrylic paint. The surface needs to be cleaned and properly prepared, and it is critical that the directions on the can be followed to the letter. Some brands of paint are self-priming, while others require a primer.
Another reason to choose Fiberon is that their products are made in the United States. Their decking is made both in our home state of North Carolina and in Meridian, Idaho. From these two locations, we distribute throughout North America and to more than two dozen countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America.
TimberTech is a high-quality decking product that is offered by Zenna Decks to its clients. Entering the marketing in 1997, TimberTech introduced their line of capped composite deck boards in 2008.
Since that time, they have continued to innovate so that consumers now have their choice of premium capped composite decking as well as premium capped polymer decking options through their TimberTech AZEK® decking.
TimberTech is a leader in decking materials for several reasons:
Natural Looking Designs & Colors
Natural looking colors and designs are signature elements for TimberTech products and the technology behind their products means you won’t have to sacrifice beauty regardless of whether you choose their PVC or composite materials.
TimberTech decks are defined by real wood aesthetics and natural-looking grain patterns. With options like crosscuts, wire-brushing and low-gloss finish, our boards mimic the look of premium hardwood, reclaimed wood, premium hardwoods, etc.
TimberTech’s proprietary color-cascading technology delivers highly realistic woodgrain textures with natural color blending. This delivers many subtle nuances to TimberTech decking thanks to a wide range of multi-tonal options and wood grain patterns. Furthermore, their extensive color palettes match highly desirable wood species like Redwood, Ipe, and White Oak with cascading, color-blending highlights and lowlights.
Durable, Long-Lasting Materials
With TimberTech, consumers get the full aesthetic experience of wood without the labor intensive, expensive, and constant upkeep required of wooden decking materials. TimberTech’s one-of-a-kind capped polymer material and protective cap technology offer unbeatable protection from the elements to safeguard deck boards from mold, mildew, and moisture damage. Plus, all TimberTech products are backed by industry-leading 25-50 year and lifetime warranties.
The TimberTech technology advantage starts with its proprietary capping technology that delivers 100% synthetic caps with no wood fillers in its TimberTech AZEK and TimberTech PRO decking lines. In short, when you choose TimberTech, your deck will look new for decades.
TimberTech’s product innovation also allowed them to create their revolutionary Multi-Width Decking and the option for heat-bending. This innovative tech allows them to develop decking products that are in a class of their own, defined by meticulous detail, realistic grain patterns and attractive finishes. They partner with exceptionally skilled pros like Zenna Decks who appreciate the value of next generation decking.
Sustainability Is at TimberTech’s Core
Up to 100% of the wood and plastic in the cores of TimberTech’s capped composite deck boards is made from recycled materials, making the entire board comprised of up to 80% recycled content. Similarly, their capped polymer boards are made with approximately 50% recycled materials.
In fact, TimberTech diverted approximately 500 million pounds of waste and scrap from landfills in 2021 through its recycling program which is an increase from approximately 400 million pounds in 2020.
To learn more about how Zenna Decks can create a fabulous new deck for you using composite deck materials from one of our great industry suppliers, contact one of our consultants today.