The Best Decking Material for Your Investment

December 11, 2020
HomeOutdoor Living IdeasThe Best Decking Material for Your Investment

Choosing the best decking material for your outdoor living space can ensure you get the most durable and beautiful deck for your budget. But with a number of decking material options to choose from, it’s important to evaluate how each choice will contribute to the bottom line.

These Materials
These Factors
 
  • Capped polymer deck boards.
  • Capped composite deck boards.
  • Exotic hardwoods.
  • Pressure-treated wood.
 
  • Performance
  • Aesthetics
  • Long-term value
 

To begin the process of finding the best decking material for you, first consider all your available options. Then, choose based on your budget, needs, and tastes.

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Step 1: Learn Your Decking Material Options

Decking material options fall into two broad categories: traditional wood decking and composite decking. And these two categories can be broken down even further. Within traditional wood decking, there are non-pressure-treated options like cedar, pressure-treated wood, and exotic hardwoods – among others.

When it comes to TimberTech composite decking, our durable and beautiful capped polymer and capped composite decking lines go above and beyond competitive composite and PVC decking to create a category all their own: capped composite and capped polymer innovation.

TimberTech Composite Decking & Traditional Wood Decking Categories


Best Decking Material TimberTech Capped Polymer Decking

TimberTech® Capped Polymer Decking

Best Decking Material TimberTech Capped Composite Decking

TimberTech Capped Composite Decking

DIY Decking Materials traditional hardwood decks

Exotic Hardwoods

  • High upfront cost and high cost for maintenance over time, even for the densest hardwoods like Ipe.
  • Beauty that fades quickly.
  • While somewhat naturally resistant to fungus growth given its porous texture, it is still vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rot.
  • Can crack, buckle, and warp with weathering.
Distressed & Worn Traditional Pressure-Treated Wood

Traditional Pressure-Treated Wood

  • Potentially low upfront cost, but ever-accumulating cost for maintenance over time.
  • Beauty that fades quickly.
  • Requires staining and sealing, which can involve harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
  • Vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rot.
  • Will crack and splinter with wear and tear.

Step 2: Evaluate Best Decking Material for Performance

When it comes to performance, you want your decking material to last you for the long-term without losing its beauty or structural integrity.

Pressure-treated lumber, exotic hardwoods, and traditional PVC decking are often touted as high- performing – but when you compare their performance to TimberTech, the benefits begin to crumble.

Type of Decking Material 
TimberTech Capped Polymer
 
 
TimberTech Capped Composite 
 
 
Exotic Hardwoods
 
 
Traditional Pressure-Treated Wood
 
Moisture Damage & WeatheringTimberTech® AZEK®

 

 
TimberTech PRO® & TimberTech EDGE®

 

 
 
  • Even dense exotic hardwood will ultimately experience fading and damage from exposure to moisture and weathering agents.

 

 
 
  • As an organic material, wood is highly vulnerable to fading and deteriorate from moisture damage and weathering, even if pressure treated.

 

 
Intense TemperaturesTimberTech AZEK
  • Stays up to 30° F cooler than competitive products so you can maximize your time out on your deck (and use for the cost), despite the heat.*

 

 
TimberTech PRO & TimberTech EDGE
  • Won’t crack, buckle or warp in the heat.

 

 
 
  • Because hardwoods are so dense, they retain heat much longer than composite deck boards.

 

 
 
  • Absorbs and radiates heat throughout the deck board.

 

 
WarrantiesTimberTech AZEK

 

 

 
TimberTech PRO

 

 

 

 

 
 
  • Warranties for exotic hardwoods typically only cover craftsmanship issues, rather than material defects (which are more likely to occur).

 

  • No fade/stain warranties.

 

 
 
  • May have craftsmanship warranties like exotic hardwood, but these do not cover material defects such as warping, cracking, or rotting.

 

  • No fade/stain warranties.

 

 

Step 3: Evaluate Best Decking Material for Aesthetics

Best Decking Material for Aesthetics featuring TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection

Aesthetics is more than just a desired look. If the decking material fails to retain its attractive appearance for the long-term, is its fleeting beauty really worth the investment? While traditional wood requires a lot of maintenance to retain its appearance, TimberTech composite decking offers effortless beauty and a nature-inspired aesthetic, making it the best decking material in terms of aesthetics.

Type of Decking Material 
TimberTech Capped Polymer
 
 
TimberTech Capped Composite Decking
 
 
Exotic Hardwoods
 
 
Traditional Pressure-Treated Wood
 
Nature-Inspired AestheticsTimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection®
  • Advanced color blending technology for high variation between boards.

 

  • Low-gloss wire-brushed finish for a premium hardwood visual.

 

  • Monochromatic colors with a cathedral wood grain pattern to achieve a chic painted wood look.

 

 
An exciting portfolio of options. Among others, includes:
  • Cascading color blending and variable grain pattern so no two boards are the same.

 

  • Advanced color blending and cathedral grain pattern for a rustic wood look.

 

 

 
 
  • Varied looks are only available through painting or staining.

 

  • Even the densest hardwoods will begin to fade, turning to gray soon after being installed.

 

 
 
  • Varied looks are only available through painting or staining.

 

  • Looks beautiful on day one, but immediately begins to fade thereafter.

 

 
Maintenance 
  • Won’t require much maintenance to retain its appearance – a periodic cleaning is all that’s needed.

 

 
 
  • Won’t require much maintenance to retain its appearance – a periodic cleaning is all that’s needed.

 

 
 
  • Exotic hardwoods need routine maintenance including staining and power-washing – but will also fade in time.

 

 
 
  • Wood needs regular sanding, staining, and sealing to retain its beauty – but will still fade in time.

 

 

Step 4: Evaluate Best Decking Material for Long-Term Value

In terms of long-term value, the best decking material will be one that stands the test of time – retaining its structural integrity and its beauty for the long-haul. Traditional wood requires costly maintenance and repairs over the course of its life, and traditional PVC decking can incur high replacement costs.

TimberTech composite decking, on the other hand, ends up saving you on cost over time due to its durability and enduring beauty.

Ipe Hardwood vs. AZEK

Upfront cost comparison between Ipe wood and TimberTech AZEK decking

NOTE:T he estimated average cost of capped polymer deck boards and Ipe hardwood decking costs are based on the national average for a 16’ x 20’ deck. Meant for visual representation only. Actual costs may vary.

While the upfront costs for Ipe hardwood and TimberTech AZEK decking are similar, over time, you can see the difference in maintenance needs over a 10-year period.

Maintenance costs for Ipe hardwood are almost 4x more expensive than for TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking over that same 10-year period.

Pressure-Treated Wood vs. EDGE

Upfront cost comparison between pressure-treated wood and TimberTech EDGE decking

NOTE: The estimated average cost of capped composite deck boards and pressure-treated lumber decking costs are based on the national average for a 16’ x 20’ deck. Meant for visual representation only. Actual costs may vary.

When looking at the differences in cost between pressure-treated lumber and TimberTech EDGE, the upfront costs are similar, with TimberTech EDGE coming in slightly higher.

However, maintenance costs over a 10-year period, show that pressure-treated lumber costs over 3x more than TimberTech EDGE.

Type of Decking Material 
TimberTech Capped Polymer & Capped Composite Decking
 
 
Traditional PVC Decking
 
Upfront Costs 
  • TimberTech offers several collections within our three decking lines so you can find the right decking to fit your budget.

 

 
 
  • Fewer options for different budgets.

 

 
Long-Term Costs 
  • High durability and minimal maintenance mean you save on long-term costs, when compared to traditional PVC decking and traditional wood.

 

 
 
  • Can warp, crack, and bow – and even melt – in the heat, which means high replacement costs in the long-term.

 

 

The Best Decking Material for the Overall Cost? TimberTech Composite Decking

Best Decking Material Featuring TimberTech PRO Legacy Collection in Tigerwood

TimberTech capped polymer and capped composite decking shatters the myths of composite decking costs by being highly cost-efficient over time.

Ready to learn more about calculating cost? Numerous factors contribute to your overall deck cost. Explore the costs to build a deck and start budgeting sooner rather than later.

Now that you know TimberTech offers the best decking material for the cost, you’re ready to start calculating your overall deck budget. Launch our Decking Cost Calculator to get started.

Crunch the Numbers on Your Project

Jump into our Cost Calculator to figure out the material expenses for your deck remodel.

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