If you’re thinking in terms of durability, you know the importance of superior materials — and you also want an option that lets you enjoy your deck, instead of maintaining it. Choosing the most durable deck material ensures you’ll have a beautiful outdoor living space that’s designed to stand the test of time so you and your family can get the most out of your investment.
So how do you choose the best durable deck material? Follow these steps to find the right new deck material choice for your build.
Step 1: Explore Overall Deck Material Options
First up, learn what the options are for your new deck material and get familiar with what each has to offer. Materials for decks range from traditional wood options to engineered alternatives — and they vary significantly in terms of performance.
Typically includes redwood and cedar.
X Somewhat naturally resistant to moisture and insect damage.
X Requires lots of sanding, due to its soft nature which makes it vulnerable to knicks and gouges.
Typically includes mahogany, Ipe, and teak.
X Extremely dense, making them durable, but difficult to handle.
X Will quickly fade or discolor in sunlight, unless oiled regularly.
Uncapped Composite Decking
✓ More durable compared to wood thanks to a mix of engineered polymers with wood fibers.
X Vulnerable to moisture damage, due to the presence of wood fibers.
Capped Composite Decking
✓ Protected with a 3- or 4-sided cap that seals out moisture while locking in rich color.
✓ Realistic wood looks without the fading — or rigorous maintenance.
PVC DECKING (IN GENERAL)
Generic PVC Decking
✓ Most PVC lines typically involve 3- or 4-sided capping.
✓ Can be lighter weight than wood or composite decking.
X Often looks and feels plastic-y and can easily warp over time.
Capped Polymer Decking
✓ Innovates beyond traditional PVC decking with unparalleled durability.
✓ Boasts real wood aesthetics for an authentic look and feel.
✓ Is 30% lighter than competitive products for easier installation.
So, which is the best durable deck material? In short, it’s not traditional wood.
Step 2: Learn Why Traditional Wood Is Far From the Best
When it comes to durable deck material, wood doesn’t make the cut for one simple reason: It is highly vulnerable to moisture.
Why Is Moisture a Problem for Wood?
As an organic material from surface to core, traditional wood, even pressure-treated lumber, is exposed to the elements. And sooner or later? Moisture will work its way into the boards, causing serious issues, including:
X Mold, mildew, and rot growth
X Cracking, splitting, and splintering
X Warping, like cupping and a soft feel underfoot
Why Moisture Costs You Time & Money
And what’s worse? The serious costs that accumulate year over year due to all that work. That means choosing traditional lumber for your deck costs you in terms of:
- Hours spent looking at a less-than-ideal deck as it fades and/or warps.
- Hours lost sanding, staining, and sealing.
- Hours — or days — you can’t use your deck while repairs or replacements are being made.
- Cleaning supplies to remove mold, mildew, and debris.
- Materials for sanding, staining, and sealing.
- Inevitable repair and replacement costs which can include materials and hired labor, if needed.
If traditional wood isn’t a good durable deck material choice, what is? It’s time to look to composite decking for your new deck material.
Step 3: Discover New Deck Material Options: Composite Decking
The best decking option shouldn’t only be the most durable deck material — it should also be the most beautiful. When it comes to wood alternatives, you’ve likely heard of composite decking. What you might not know? Not all composite decking is created equal.
TimberTech® decking offers you all the durability of a material expertly engineered for the long-term, plus the most realistic wood looks. So you enjoy all the nuanced beauty of wood, with far superior durability.
Composite Decking 101
Capped Composite Decking
✓ Features a core and a protective 100% polymer cap.
✓ Core is made from a mix of recycled materials including wood flour and post-consumer plastics.
✓ More sustainable and durable than wood.
✓ Backed by competitive warranties.
Capped Polymer Decking
✓ Features a fully engineered core and cap made from high-performance polymers (PVC) — no organic material.
✓ Made from a mix of recycled materials including post-consumer plastics.
✓ More sustainable and much more durable than wood.
✓ Backed by industry-leading warranties.
While composite decking options are superior to wood thanks to their synthetic material components, not all composite decking products are created equal.
Within the composite decking category, there are significant variations in terms of performance and durability.
The Problem With Competitor Composite Decking
When it comes to competitor composite decking, the problems boil down to one serious flaw: exposed wood flakes in the core and cap.
Exposed Wood Is Never Good
Exposed wood flakes are found in the supposedly protective caps and exposed cores on the bottoms and in the grooves of competitor decking.
The problem? Exposed wood makes these boards vulnerable to moisture penetration. Once moisture gets in, it can cause the same issues it does in traditional lumber, namely, mold, mildew, and rot growth.
Pictured: A close-up of a Trex composite deck board with visible exposed wood flakes
And the worst part? Even with wood in the cap, competitor decking looks fake and plastic-y — far from the nuanced beauty of traditional lumber. So, while competitor composite decking is vulnerable to moisture and fading just like wood, it doesn’t look a thing like it.
The Solution: TimberTech Capped Composite & Capped Polymer Decking
At TimberTech, we believe you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to your decking. You deserve all the nature-inspired beauty of real wood with the superior performance of premium materials. Our decking boasts the real wood looks you love while innovating beyond the competition with unique capping made from high-performance polymers.
The result? Category-innovating decking with superior moisture and UV resistance and enduring beauty.
But we don’t just stop at category innovation. We go for category disruption with a new deck material that has no equal in the composite decking space: TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking.
Step 4: Choose the Best Durable Deck Material: TimberTech AZEK® Capped Polymer Decking
TimberTech AZEK is made of a unique blend of polymers, with a majority being recycled material. With absolutely no wood in the core or cap, TimberTech AZEK is the best durable deck material, giving you unsurpassed durability, long-term value, and the most realistic wood aesthetics.
Best in Terms of Durability
Just what makes TimberTech AZEK the best durable deck material? It all boils down to technology.
Putting the ‘Tech’ in TimberTech
So what does that mean for you?
A worry-free deck that can stand up to everyday wear and tear as well as the season’s biggest storms.
Plus, your TimberTech AZEK deck is protected with a Lifetime Limited Product Warranty so you have peace of mind that your deck is built to last — and your investment is protected.
Best in Terms of Aesthetics
Instead of the fake, plastic-y look of other composite decking options, our capped polymer decking gives you everything wood should be, without of the drawbacks.
Putting the ‘Timber’ in TimberTech
So just how do we achieve our hyper-realistic wood looks? With a coextrusion process that gives our board surfaces:
✓ Multi-tonal, nature-inspired hues
✓ Intricate wood grain patterns
✓ Attractive finishes
Just take a look at TimberTech AZEK decking samples next to their traditional wood counterparts to compare for yourself.
And the best part? TimberTech AZEK is protected with a 50-Year Limited Fade & Stain Warranty, so you know your new deck material will stay gorgeous for not just years, but decades to come.
Plus, with three unique collections, you’re bound to find the perfect look for your outdoor living space.
3 Aesthetic Choices to Suit Your Style
✓ Complex, multi-tonal color blending
✓ Wire-brushed grain pattern
✓ Low-gloss finish
Choose for: A premium hardwood aesthetic.
✓ Cascading color blending for high board-to-board variation
✓ Cathedral wood grain pattern
✓ Rustic crosscut, matte finish
Choose for: A character-rich reclaimed wood look.
✓ Solid, monochromatic coloring
✓ Cathedral wood grain pattern
✓ Soft, smooth finish
Choose for: A sleek, minimalist painted wood look.
Best in Terms of Value
Premium decking like TimberTech AZEK is typically a greater upfront investment than traditional wood options. However, with superior durability also comes greater long-term value. And in the long-run, TimberTech AZEK can actually save you costs in the long-run.
How? With significantly less maintenance needs than traditional wood to keep your TimberTech deck in top shape.
Traditional Wood Deck Maintenance
Traditional wood deck maintenance will end up costing you year over year to keep it attractive and structurally sound.
Wood deck maintenance typically includes:
X Cleaning the deck with harsh chemicals and/or a pressure washer to remove dirt, mold, and mildew.
X Sanding, staining, and sealing for protection.
X Repairs / replacements of any damaged boards, joists, or other components
And repeat every year of your deck’s lifespan.
TimberTech AZEK Deck Maintenance
With its superior durability and enduring beauty, your TimberTech AZEK deck will only require minimal maintenance, including:
✓ Regularly sweeping away dirt and debris
✓ Removing seasonal accumulation such as fallen leaves or snow
✓ Rinsing with a hose
And repeat as needed.
When you choose TimberTech AZEK as your new deck material, you can say goodbye to rigorous maintenance and say hello to low-maintenance outdoor living.
See the Best Durable Deck Material for Yourself
Now that you know which is the best durable deck material for your build, it’s time to see and feel the difference for yourself. Order free samples of your favorite colors of TimberTech decking straight to your door. Be sure to leave the samples outdoors, in all sorts of weather, to observe how the samples perform — and to get a sense of which color best complements your space.