The Low Down on Non-Traditional Decking Options

Bannerkristofer2There are many options to choosing the right material for your deck and it can be a bit confusing.  Reading blog posts such as this and doing online research is a great start, but we encourage you to talk one on one with our Sales Professionals to see each product in person and talk about which one will be correct for your decking environment.

Non Traditional Decking Options

  • PVC (plastic)
  • Capped Composite (wood fibers with plastic sealed in harder plastic shell)
  • Composite (wood fibers with plastic)

These wood substitute decking materials will remove a large amount of time devoted to upkeep, but can cost you a bit more than traditional wood options.  The question one must ask themselves when debating over the traditional vs. non-traditional decking options, is how much is your time worth? With non-traditional decking material, most of the staining, & painting that traditional wood decks require are eliminated. They resist rotting, stains and splintering to assist in keeping decks looking attractive and more usable. PVC is even recyclable. (Cleaning the deck, while not required, will go a long way to making your investment look good for the life of the product)

Both deck styles will save you from many hours of upkeep. Which deck style is the right investment for you? Use the answers below as a guide to be used with our helpful chart.

Which decking is able to withstand the elements better?

Because of the composite’s modified structure, and PVC being plastic, they are both insect and rot resistant. PVC and composite decking are outstanding at repelling moisture. PVC & Capped Composite can be installed where direct water contact will occur and not warp, split or rot, whereas composite decking can expand and contract with extreme temperatures and water absorption. This may loosen joints and can possibly make decks unstable. In hot, sunny areas, PVC decks can get very hot on the soles of the feet and actually radiate heat, making them uncomfortable.

Which decking has better fade resistance?

HBS-DISPLAY-OUTDOORPVC decking and Capped Composite have less fading than composite decking. It is important to know that composite decking will weather to a more natural hue within the first six months. Paying attention to sun exposure should play a major part in your decision on which type of decking to choose. A southern exposure will fade a composite deck.

Which decking has better slip resistance?

Non-traditional decking has made great strides in providing a safe surface to walk on in wet environments.  The more embossed the surface and the larger amount of grooves provide greater grip. (Most all manufacturers build their product to ADA skid resistance requirements eliminating this concern)

Which decking will resist scratches?

PVC has a greater resistance to scratching, but it is advisable to protect any non-traditional deck by putting protective covers on the feet of patio furniture and anything that may be dragged across the surface.

Which decking looks the most like wood?

Many non-traditional wood decks use to be considered fake looking, but with years of trial and error are finally proving their worth with both PVC and composite board patterns.  This applies not only to the color and streaking but also to the embossed grain pattern on the boards.  Most will say that it’s a matter of opinion now that the coloring and texture have been mostly randomized throughout 20’ lengths. Some manufacturers may have surface grain pattern repeating every three feet.  It is best to see it in person as this is one of the last determining factors at making your choice.

Is there a large price difference between PVC, Capped Composites and Composites?

  • PVC (plastic) averages $4.00 a linear foot but can go up from there with higher end manufacturers and variated color options.
  • Capped Composite (wood fibers with plastic sealed in a harder plastic shell) averages $3.40 a linear foot Color options and variated colors will also increase the price
  • Composite (wood fibers with plastic) averages $2.60 a linear foot

Decking Comparison Chart

Direct Links to Non-Traditional Decking Manufacturer Websites


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