Composite Deck Designs 101: Achieving a Real Wood Look

October 30, 2020
HomeOutdoor Living IdeasComposite Deck Designs 101: Achieving a Real Wood Look

Composite deck designs comprise many different customizable elements. From the shape of your deck to whether you opt for accessories like lighting or railing, your final deck design will be wholly yours.

Before you jump into thinking big picture, it’s important to understand how the aesthetics of your composite deck boards influence your overall composite deck designs. Enter three of the most important elements in achieving composite deck boards with the look of real wood:

  • Attractive color blending
  • Realistic wood grain patterns
  • Inviting finishes

Color Blending in Composite Deck Designs

Composite Deck Designs featuring TimberTech PRO Legacy Collection in Tigerwood

What Is Color Blending?

Color blending is the distribution of various pigments in our high-performance composite decking products. Color blending creates natural-looking highlights and lowlights on boards.

Look closely at a board of real wood and take note of its diverse array of whorls, lines, and coloring. TimberTech composite deck boards are designed specifically to resemble this natural, varied look – so you lock in all the beauty of a traditional wood deck, minus the maintenance and environmental impact.

Blended colors play an important role in achieving that natural look. We offer three degrees of color blending that vary across our decking portfolio:

azek brownstone displayswatch cc
Pictured: TimberTech® AZEK® Harvest Collection®, Brownstone


No color blending; color is consistent through out the board.
Choose this for: A painted-wood look that delivers a minimalist final product.

azek vintage coastline displayswatch cc web
Pictured: TimberTech AZEK® Vintage Collection®, Coastline®


Some color variation is created through discreet markings of different colors.
Choose this for: An authentic wood look with a sophisticated feel.

tt legacy tigerwood displayswatch cc web
Pictured: TimberTech PRO® Legacy Collection, Tigerwood

Cascading Color-Blended

Substantial variation shown through dramatic markings of different colors and an overlay of gradually blended color.
Choose this for: A highly varied, reclaimed wood look for a one-of-a-kind deck.

Explore the nature-inspired hues of our entire decking portfolio, complete with detailed images and easy sorting. EXPLORE COLORS

Composite Deck Boards That Stay True to Texture

Our grain patterns help us capture the nuanced beauty of nature in our composite deck designs. Just as different types of lumber show different levels of grain pattern complexity, so too do our composite deck boards.

EDGE Tidal Sand Display Swatch
Pictured: TimberTech EDGE® Premier Collection, Tidal Sand

Straight Tight Grain

These boards feature a close, parallel wood grain pattern with very few grain waves.
Choose this for: A monochromatic look ideal for a modern aesthetic.

TimberTech PRO Reserve Driftwood
Pictured: TimberTech PRO® Reserve Collection, Driftwood®

Dual-Embossed Grain

Boards with a dual-embossed wood grain have slightly raised wood grain textures.
Choose this for: A timeless aesthetic with the elegance of traditional lumber.

azek harvest slategray displayswatch cc  web
Pictured: TimberTech AZEK® Harvest Collection, Slate Gray

Cathedral Grain

Cathedral grain boards feature circular peaks and swirls on the board’s face, typical of lumber that has been quarter-sawn.
Choose this for: The soft look of natural wood that complements a range of home exteriors.

The Finishing Touch: Composite Deck Board Finishes

To complete each board’s look, we apply different finishes that range from bold textures to a subtle gloss.

TimberTech PRO Reserve Dark Roast
Pictured: TimberTech PRO® Reserve Collection, Dark Roast


An open wood grain traditionally created with wire bristles.
Choose this for: An authentic charm and character.

tt legacy ashwood displayswatch cc  web
Pictured: TimberTech PRO® Legacy Collection, Ashwood


The rustic texture gives a lovingly worn-in look.
Choose this for: A feeling of Old World charm.

TimberTech AZEK Vintage Weathered Teak display swatch
Pictured: TimberTech AZEK® Vintage Collection®, Weathered Teak®


A low-gloss finish resembles a natural wood look.
Choose this for: A premium hardwood look.

Note that it is the combination of these three elements – color blending, grain pattern, and finish – that contribute to the overall aesthetic of your deck. When selecting your deck boards, think about the final look and feel you want and choose composite deck designs that capture your style.

Composite Deck Designs for Every Style

Traditional wood can only ever get you one look – and that one look will inevitably fade. With TimberTech composite decking, on the other hand, you can select from diverse, nature-inspired options that are backed by industry-leading warranties.

Whether you’re looking for a minimalistic deck, a bold statement-making space, or the perfect wood alternative that looks just like the real thing (without the hassle), we have you covered.

TimberTech EDGE Premier Collection in Tidal Sand Composite Deck Designs

Minimalist & Clean

The monochromatic color, straight tight grain pattern, and low-gloss finish give this deck a pure and simple feel that’s perfect for a modern, minimalistic style.

Pictured: TimberTech EDGE® Premier Collection, Tidal Sand

TimberTech PRO Reserve Collection Dark Roast

Richly Hued

With moderate color blending, a cathedral grain pattern, and a wire-brushed finish, the richly hued boards of this deck evoke a sense of timelessness that works well with many different types of homes.

Pictured: TimberTech PRO® Reserve Collection, Dark Roast™

TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection Weathered Teak

Sophisticated & Eye-Catching

A complex blend of colors ensures every board is unique, while a wire-brushed, low gloss finish gives these boards an exceptional traditional wood look. With this combination, you’ll enjoy the essence of premium hardwood and the sophistication it brings.

Pictured: TimberTech AZEK® Vintage Collection®, Weathered Teak®

Whatever style of color blending, wood grain, and/or finish you choose, your TimberTech deck will age beautifully and provide the look of traditional wood with minimal maintenance and repairs.

If you can’t choose, feel free to mix and match different deck board colors to create your own customized composite deck designs. To explore more of the customization options available to you, visit our Decking Design & Style Center, then jump into our 3D Deck Design tool to bring your vision to life.

Turn Your Deck Dream Into Design

Play with shapes, colors, lighting, and railing to bring your deck ideas to life with our custom Deck Designer tool.

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