It’s hard to find a building material in the past 20 years that has grown in popularity as much as composite lumber. While it’s still mainly used for decking, homeowners and contractors have found a variety of outdoor uses for this unique material. If you’re considering purchasing composite decking for your next DIY project, you have come to the right place as we’re going to break down some of the top brands in the industry.
Composite Decking Brands
Composite decking isn’t something most people purchase online, but it’s relatively easy to find locally. You can walk into any Home Depot or Lowes in the United States and encounter at least a half-dozen brands. Even more are available through specialty dealers, which makes choosing the right brand challenging.
With that in mind, for our composite decking review, we’ve categorized the brands below into two tiers. The first batch of brands are all easy to acquire and represent some of the most well-known names in the industry. Brands from the second tier are equally impressive but can be harder to come by depending on where you reside.
As one of the larger decking manufacturers in the world, you can find Trex in more than 50 countries around the globe. Their catalog for stateside customers is expansive as well, with four collections and more than 30 colors overall. That includes premium deck boards like Trex Transcend to go along with budget-friendly decking from their Trex Enhance collection.
Overall, Trex has an expansive lineup that includes eco-friendly decking and an interesting collection of porch boards. The company also produces handrails, outdoor lighting, and patio furniture as well. From the frame of your deck to the finishing touches, Trex has everything you need to complete your project successfully.
TimberTech is another brand consumers in the U.S. will be familiar with. They carry three lines of composite decking with TimberTech PRO, TimberTech AZEK, TimberTech EDGE. Each line brings something different to the table while providing consumers with warranties ranging from 25 to 50 years, depending on the collection.
The company has nine collections between those lines, including 3 and 4-sided capped composite decking and capped PVC decking. Like Trex, TimberTech also carries a number of other goods like composite pavers, railing, lighting, and porch boards.
If you’re interested in a company that has a wide range of colors and styles, look no further than Fiberon. While they haven’t been in business as long as some of the other companies on our list, they have the largest selection and some of the best pricing in the industry.
From Fiberon ArmorGuard to the Symmetry Collection, there is a hue and style for everyone. The company’s catalog is easy to peruse thanks to their tiered approach, and are widely available, even if some of their lines are sold as store exclusives.
Composite decking can get a little warm underfoot, but that won’t be a problem if you purchase synthetic decking with MoistureShield’s CoolDeck technology. It can reduce heat by up to 35% when compared to the competition, although that’s far from the only interesting product in their lineup.
MoistureShield has around a half-dozen decking lines, which include capped and uncapped composite decks boards. While they don’t have as many decking accessories to match their planks, they do provide excellent warranties on their products.
One of the advantages of composite decking is the ability to deal with Mother Nature, but some planks are a bit more resistant than others. Deckorators is one of the few brands that make decking that’s suitable for use on the ground or in direct contact with the water.
Deckorators has three collections that are impervious to moisture with Vault, Frontier, and Voyage decking. These boards make use of several technologies from the company, but they also have six collections of traditional composite decking to go along with picture frame deck board and heavy-duty dock decking.
Other Composite Deck Brands to Consider
While the companies we’ve listed above are some of the biggest and most well-known brands, there are dozens more worthy of consideration. Cali Bamboo is one of them, and a great company to turn to if you’re in need of bamboo flooring for your home. Well, they also have a unique line of composite decking with BamDeck 4G and TruOrganics.
Cali’s bamboo synthetic deck boards are eco-friendly, even if their color range is somewhat limited. UltraDeck is another company that doesn’t have many hues available, but unique collections like Rustic and QuickCap. The former is engineered to weather naturally, while QuickCap is a composite covering that allows you to cover and refresh old wood.
Realism is an important factor when looking for composite decking, and it’s an area where a lot of companies misfire with monochrome colors and repetitive patterns. DuraLife does things differently, and their Hardwood Collection does an outstanding job of mimicking the natural tones and style of wooden decking.
We’re also fans of the company’s unique “Your Choice” program, which makes choosing decking and matching accessories simple. Envision decking may not make matching colors and styles as easy, but they have five product lines that included variegated deck boards and budget-friendly monochrome styles as well.
While there are dozens of other composite deck manufacturers, these brands have a track record of producing high-quality products. They also have more variance in their lines than competing brands, along with better customer service and solid warranties. Now that you are aware of the top composite decking brands, it’s time to see how they stack up against one another in a few key areas.
Composite Decking Colors
One of the questions we are asked frequently by our readers has to do with painting or staining composite decking. We’re pleased to say that it’s possible, but can be a time consuming and costly endeavor. That’s why it pays to plan ahead when choosing a color, and it’s an area where MoistureShield is a surprising winner with over 30 colors.
TimberTech, Trex, and Fiberon set themselves apart as well with more than 20 colors each across their collections. Deckorators isn’t far behind while Cali Bamboo and DuraLife bring up the rear with under 10 hues in their catalog. Keep in mind, some companies refresh their product lineups yearly, so these numbers could change at any time.
While having a large selection of colors to choose from is great, it’s not the only factor to consider. Realism, texturing techniques, and pattern repetition are all key factors in producing an eye-catching composite deck board, and some companies accomplish this better than others. We aren’t going to rank realism, however, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Composite Deck Dimensions and Profiles
There isn’t as much variance with synthetic decking dimensions as you’ll find with flooring, but some companies have more options when it comes to profiles, widths, and lengths. Trex is one of them, considering you can choose from three different deck board profiles from the company. They have grooved, scalloped and square-edge boards in both 1” and 2” thicknesses.
They have standard lengths as well, but only have 5.5” deck boards in their catalog. TimberTech also offers consumers several choices as you can choose from a grooved profile for hidden fasteners or scalloped deck boards to keep the weight and cost down. They are also one of a handful of companies with 3.5”, 5.5.” and 7 ¼” wide deck boards.
If you like narrow planks, the Vista Collection from Deckorators is also available in 3.5” widths. Many of the other companies on our list offer an option between scalloped and solid profile boards, but Trex, Fiberon, and TimberTech tend to have the most options overall.
Composite Decking Cost and Availability
We’ve discussed the cost of synthetic decking at length and have found that most of the top brands keep their prices competitive. That means large companies like TimberTech, Trex, and Fiberon will often have planks priced within $10 of one another. Some companies also price their decking by quality using a Good, Better, Best system, which simplifies the buying process.
As a brand that offers the best value for your money with composite decking, we would put Trex near the top of our list. Our pricing table will give you a better idea of the cost of some of the brands in our list, but availability is something that should not be overlooked. Trex, Fiberon, and TimberTech are the only brands we were able to source locally with ease without having to locate a deck dealer or specialty store.
Composite Deck Warranties
Even if you don’t care how “green” your deck is or aren’t picky about the color, you will want to pay close attention to the guarantee offered by composite deck manufacturers. Unlike other products, most companies have tiered warranties for their decking, which involves three areas with structural integrity, stain resistance, and fade resistance.
Any manufacturer that produces a high-quality deck board should have a solid warranty on the structural integrity. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and nobody wants to think about their boards buckling or deteriorating after a decade. Among composite deck manufacturers, we found that MoistureShield offers the best structural warranty with a limited lifetime guarantee on some of their products.
That said, you will just get a 25-year warranty against fading and staining, which is the same guarantee provided by Deckorators, Envision, DuraLife, and others against those factors. While Trex is a leader in several areas, they only have a 25-year guarantee as well, while TimberTech offers 30 on some lines and 25 years on others. UltraDeck also has a few collections with 25-year warranties, but the Natural and Rustic lines only have a 10-year warranty.
As you can see, the warranties vary wildly from one brand to the next and largely depend on the quality of the collection you’re considering. Some companies offer transferrable guarantees as well, although there are often stipulations as to how long you can transfer the warranty over to a new owner.
Composite Decking FAQ
Q: How long do most composite decks last?
A: While it all depends on the warranty, on average, you can expect a composite deck to last between 15 to 25 years. Some companies have capped products warrantied for 50 years, but most uncapped and mid-range decking has guarantees around half that length.
Q: Can termites bore into composite deck boards?
A: Not if the deck boards come from a well-known manufacturer and are of high quality. While we have seen reports of termites and other wood borers taking a bite from a composite deck board, that’s only been the case when the decking was cheap, uncapped, and with a high amount of wood content.
Q: What type of composite decking is the easiest to install?
A: Composite decking is easy to install in general, which is part of the draw of the product. Some brands are a little easier to work with, however. Trex and TimberTech are two such brands, although any high-quality composite should be relatively simple to install.
Q: Is it possible to rip composite or PVC decking?
A: You can rip a composite deck board to reduce its width, but not it's thickness. While PVC is easy to cut, ripping is not ideal and requires some skill and a steady hand.
Q: Will I be able to paint or stain composite decking?
A: Composite decking has color that’s infused into the boards. They aren’t designed to be painted, which makes choosing the right color critical. Some brands of composite decking can be stained or painted, however, but you’ll need to check with the decking manufacturer beforehand.
Q: Can mold grown on composite or PVC decking?
A: Yes, although many manufacturers would lead you to believe otherwise. Whenever there is a crack or crevice for dirt to build up, mold has the potential to grow. That said, it’s much easier to clean from synthetic decking and more likely to be found on uncapped composite deck boards.