Decking 101: The Low-Down on Composite Deck Boards

September 27, 2019

Risers, fascia, grooves, and variegation… what does it all mean? When we think of decking, we usually consider the whole instead of the individual parts. Yet familiarizing yourself with those parts can give you more insight into designing your perfect outdoor space.

In this post, we’ll review some common decking lingo, so you can deck smarter.

Anatomy of Our Composite Deck Boards

At TimberTech, we offer two different types of composite deck boards with features that influence installation (and thus their final look):

Grooved Boards

Composite Decking Boards - Grooved Board.jpg

Boards with capped grooves along both sides that are secured with hidden fastening under the surface.

Square-Shouldered Boards

Composite Decking Boards - Square Shoulder.jpg

Solid (more on that below) boards that utilize top-down fasteners that are typically color-matched screws and plugs.

Composite Deck Boards’ Profiles

These deck boards also have unique profiles — i.e., they’re constructed differently:

Full Profile

Composite Decking Boards - Full Profile.jpg

Solid, sturdy boards with a flat bottom similar to traditional lumber for strength and a more solid feel underfoot.

Scalloped Profile

Composite Decking Boards - Scalloped Profile.jpg

Boards with a special scalloped bottom that reduces weight without sacrificing durability or strength.

The Decking Surface

What’s underneath is just as important as what’s on the surface of each one of our composite deck boards. Here are two crucial components of what makes every TimberTech board so unique (and beautiful):


Capped Composite Decking Boards.jpg

A strong, protective layer on all TimberTech boards that provide unrivaled protection against scratches, stains, moisture, and mold.


Composite Decking - Variegation.jpg

The highlight and lowlight coloring in composite deck boards that resemble real wood — our TimberTech PRO line features some of our most dramatic variegation.

Cost of Our Composite Deck Boards

Determining Material Cost

Several factors will influence the material cost of a TimberTech deck, such as:

  • Whether you choose capped composite (TimberTech PRO® and TimberTech EDGE®) or capped polymer (TimberTech AZEK®) decking.
  • Which collection you choose across the product lines.

Jump into our decking overview to find the right building material for your project.

Determining Overall Cost

Additional factors will influence the overall cost to build your deck, such as:

  • Initial stain and seal costs.
  • Deck material costs.
  • Labor to install.
  • Substructure with labor.
  • Excess material and fasteners needed.

Plus, over time, traditional wood will need maintenance about every 10 years. TimberTech composite decking doesn't require costly maintenance — so you save your wallet and your back.

Average Cost of Composite Deck Boards vs. Wood*

To understand how TimberTech composite decking translates to cost savings in the long run, it’s helpful to compare costs. Evaluate estimated upfront and 10-year costs between TimberTech decking and wood below.

Pressure-Treated Lumber vs. TimberTech EDGE Prime Boards

Upfront Cost

upfront costs pressure treated lumber vs edge prime boards 01202020 v3

Cost Over 10 Years

cost over 10 years pressure treated lumber vs. edge prime boards 01202020 v2

*Estimates are based on a 16’ x 20’ deck.

As the numbers show, the initial average cost of composite deck boards in the TimberTech EDGE Prime Collection is only 5% more than a pressure-treated deck.

Ipe Premium Hardwood vs. TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection®

Upfront Cost to Build a Deck

v2 resize test upfront costs ipe vs azek vintage board

Cost Over 10 Years

Costs after 10 years Ipe Premium Hardwood vs TimberTech AZEK

*Estimates are based on a 16’ x 20’ deck.

With Vintage boards, the total cost of building and maintaining your deck is up to 24% less after 10 years.

Bringing it all Home

Of course, it takes a lot of composite deck boards to make an actual deck. The final, show-stopping result, however, has a few more components to consider:


Boards with a protective layer (cap) that is composed of all synthetic material to protect against stains, scratches, and mold.


The uppermost piece of rail that connects the top end of the infill.

The piece that runs along the rail at the bottom, beneath the infill.


The boards that are applied behind each step.


The boards that run around the perimeter of the deck.


Fits snugly between the top and bottom rail to fill the inside area. (Pictured: Glass infill, sold separately).


Now that you’re practically a decking pro, you can confidently explore and choose from our distinct decking lines to find the one that best fits your style and space.

See & Feel the TimberTech Advantage

Our capped polymer and capped composite decking lines combine recycled material with all the beauty of traditional wood.

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