Since the dawn of decking, premium hardwoods have dominated the outdoor living domain. And real talk? Cedar, Ipe, Mahogany, and Redwood have had their hour in the spotlight. It’s high time to bring premium capped composites (TimberTech PRO) and capped polymer (TimberTech AZEK) decking into the backyards of homeowners around the globe. While that seems like a lofty goal, it’s also a practical one: Premium hardwoods don’t stand up against TimberTech Decking when it comes to color, quality, maintenance, and longevity.
At TimberTech, we take outdoor living seriously — someone has to! That’s why we’ve engineered what is lovingly referred to as the #TimberTechTest. During these lab-based trials, we test our proprietary capped composites against leading competitors and premium hardwoods in a series of rigorous — and sometimes downright harsh — tests to see which board deserves the title of top timber.
It’s been said that capped composites and capped polymer boards look plastic-y, but we challenge you to correctly identify which is wood below.
Before we get to the answer, let's take a closer look at the difference between premium hardwood decks and TimberTech decking.
|Premium Hardwood||TimberTech Decking|
| Color That Fades |
Premium hardwoods boast beautiful hues initially, but quickly lose their luster as the sun and seasons take their toll weathering the decking. Often, homeowners find themselves with uninspiring gray or dingy brown decks, depending on the wood, after a few seasons have passed. Even with regular maintenance, often demanding attention every two to three years (if not more), decks made from premium hardwoods usually only last ten to fifteen years of total lifespan.
| Color That Lasts |
Capped composites (TimberTech PRO) and capped polymers (TimberTech AZEK) offer natural, variegated colors that are beautiful initially and for decades to come. Covered by a 30-Year or 50-Year Fade & Stain Warranty respectively, you can rest easy knowing that the color you chose will be just as beautiful decades later.
Mahogany, Ipe, and cedar before and after six months' exposure to the elements.
TimberTech AZEK and PRO before and after six months' exposure to the elements.
| Deteriorating Quality & Integrity Over Time |
Cracking, rotting, warping, weathering, and fading are all realities for decks constructed from premium hardwoods — not to mention mold, mildew, and termite damage. Even when meticulously maintained, premium hardwoods degrade over time with simple sun exposure and foot traffic compared to TimberTech Decking..
| Sustained Quality & Integrity Over Time |
Backed by industry-leading warranties when used for residential applications, capped composite and capped polymer decking repels mold, insects, and moisture damage with caps made from proprietary polymer blends. When there’s such a strong barrier protecting the board’s surface, structural cracking, rotting, and warping isn’t a concern for homeowners.
Redwood test sample after exposure to moisture.
TimberTech AZEK test sample after exposure to moisture.
| Costly & Labor-Intensive Maintenance |
Maintaining the structural integrity and beautiful color of premium hardwoods is not only budget-breaking but back-breaking in terms of labor. While most contractors recommend doing this every two to three years, horizontal surfaces that are exposed to a lot of sun and weathering require more frequent maintenance. To prevent aging and the elements from wreaking havoc on the deck’s performance and aesthetics, annual sanding, oiling, staining, and sealing costs homeowners exorbitant amounts of money, labor, and time. Just look at the cedar deck below; exposure to the elements has it faded and warped.
| Almost-No-Work Maintenance |
Capped composite boards and capped polymer boards repel surface and core damage on their own and are supplemented with occasional cleaning using an approved soap (like, the new TimberTech DeckCleaner) — it’s really that simple. These easy washings will restore TimberTech boards to their bold beauty that weathering or environmental debris that may have accumulated on the surface. Check out the TimberTech PRO Terrain deck below in Brown Oak — still as richly hued on day 1,000 as day one.
Ipe decking shown after natural weathering.
TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection in Coastline®.
| No Real Longevity |
Susceptible to mold, mildew, moisture damage, and structural flaws due to cracking, rotting, and warping, premium hardwood loses its luster for savvy homeowners looking to make an investment in their outdoor living space. Most wood decks are only expected to have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years — and that’s when they have meticulous maintenance. Plus, it’s rare that a builder or lumber distributor will put a warranty on a wood deck — and when they do it’s only for the first few years of the deck’s life. With that lack of confidence in a product, why make such a big investment on premium hardwoods that no one will back up?
| Serious Longevity |
Boasting industry-best warranties, TimberTech AZEK Decking is backed by a Limited Lifetime Product Warranty and 50-Year Fade & Stain Warranty (double the years of the leading competitors) while TimberTech PRO is backed by a 30-Year Limited Product Warranty and a 30-Year Fade & Stain Warranty (that beats the leading competitors by five years). That means homeowners can rest easy knowing that multiple generations will be able to make memories on the same beautiful capped composite or capped polymer deck you did. And, your deck will be just as beautiful and safe decades later as it was on day one.
See & Feel the TimberTech Advantage
Our capped polymer and capped composite decking lines combine recycled material with all the beauty of traditional wood.