The decking industry has grown tremendously since the introduction of composite decking a few decades ago. Terms like “PVC decking,” “composite decking,” and “polymer decking” are sometimes used interchangeably by industry pros — despite differences between them. However, they are all types of engineered decking you can choose from for your home project.
If you’re unsure of the difference between each option, we’re here with easy-to-understand explanations to help. You’ll understand the benefits of PVC decking, how it relates to composite decking, and which option is right for your new deck build or deck renovation.
What Is PVC Decking?
PVC decking is decking made from polyvinyl chloride (a type of plastic), with no organic material such as wood flour. Because there’s no organic material, PVC is engineered to avoid some of the pitfalls of organic decking — such as moisture invasion — which leads to mold, mildew, and rot.
Occasionally, a third party may say “PVC decking” when referring to TimberTech® AZEK® capped polymer deck boards. This is because both are synthetic deck boards made from plastics and contain 0% organic materials. However, it’s important to note that there are key differences between PVC decking and TimberTech capped polymer decking. Most notably — TimberTech AZEK decking features a high-performance cap made with innovative technology that helps them perform better than traditional PVC and gives them the most realistic wood looks.
PVC Decking vs Composite: Similarities & Differences
PVC and composite decking are two engineered decking options for your outdoor project. PVC decking is a type of polymer deck board that contains no organic material whatsoever. Composite decking features cores made of a mix of wood and plastic fibers.
Additionally, both composite and PVC deck boards have the option of a protective cap that resists moisture for increased durability against the elements. Giving you a greater variety of options when searching for the right decking material for your home build.
UNCAPPED COMPOSITE DECKING
Made from a mix of recycled wood and plastic.
✓ More durable compared to wood.
X Vulnerable to moisture damage due to no protective capping, so the wood in the core is exposed.
CAPPED COMPOSITE DECKING
Made with a mix of recycled wood and plastic and features a 3- or 4-sided polymer cap to protect the core from moisture.
✓ Seals out moisture while locking in rich color.
✓ Realistic wood looks that resist fading and don’t require the rigorous maintenance of traditional wood.
Decking that is made of 100% engineered polymer material with no wood filler in the core or cap.
✓ Many PVC products typically have a 3- or 4-sided cap.
✓ Can be lighter in weight than wood and competitive composite decking.
X Often looks and feels plastic-y.
TIMBERTECH AZEK CAPPED POLYMER DECKING
Made with 100% polymers, including high-performance polymers in the cap, and absolutely no wood particles in the cap or core.
✓ Innovates beyond traditional PVC decking with a solid core for unparalleled durability.
✓ Looks the most like real wood for an authentic look and feel.
✓ Up to 30% lighter than some woods and competitive composite products for faster installation.
Both PVC decking and composite decking options share similarities like their low-maintenance needs and long-lasting durability. However, they do have notable differences in whether they’re manufactured with 100% polymer material or recycled wood and plastic. The differences these manufacturing processes have in design and durability may sway your decision towards one or the other.
Why Choose PVC Decking?
PVC decking made its debut in the market over 25+ years ago and was revolutionary for tis time. PVC decking came with a number of benefits that made it ideal for homeowners who were looking to invest in a durable decking material.
Benefits to PVC Decking
✓ Doesn’t need to be painted or stained for protection or aesthetics.
✓ Is durable since it has no organic material, like wood, in the cap or core.
✓ Easy to maintain.
✓ Most PVC deck products come with industry-best warranties.
While PVC decking made a name for itself when it first came to the market, most PVC deck brands haven’t evolved past a plastic-y look. When you want a PVC decking line that looks and feels the most like real wood, you want TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking.
Choose Better Than PVC, Choose TimberTech AZEK Capped Polymer Decking
When you choose TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking, you’re choosing a product that’s revolutionized the decking industry with innovative material science. The TimberTech AZEK line has evolved beyond the plastic-y look and feel of typical PVC decking to a material that has all the beauty of natural wood without the drawbacks. Plus, it’s as straightforward to install as wood.
Benefits Unique to TimberTech AZEK Capped Polymer Decking
✓ Premier durability — Boasts proprietary polymer blend from core to cap that delivers incredible protection from fading, staining, weathering, mold, and rot.
✓ Protected by the best — Backed by industry-best warranties including a Lifetime Limited Warranty and 50-Year Fade & Stain Limited Warranty.
✓ Low maintenance — No more sanding, sealing, or staining for protection. With a TimberTech deck, you’ll just need to clean the deck periodically.
The TimberTech AZEK capped polymer line gives you the real wood looks you love with even more benefits than traditional PVC. Unrivaled in design and performance, our TimberTech AZEK decking collection will give you the lasting beauty and durability you want in a new deck.
Enjoy Long-Term Value With TimberTech AZEK Decking
The long-term benefits of choosing TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking outweighs the cheaper upfront cost of a traditional wood deck. At first, the cost of a capped polymer deck can be higher than a wood deck. However, once you factor in the costs for maintenance, re-coloring, re-staining, and repair on a wood deck, a capped polymer deck can offer more in long-term savings.
Upfront Costs: Ipe Hardwood vs TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection
10-Year Costs: Ipe Hardwood vs TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection
NOTE: The estimated average cost of capped polymer deck boards, Ipe hardwood, 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.
In just a matter of years, a capped composite or capped polymer deck can pay for itself while you enjoy its long-lasting rich color and minimal maintenance.
Which TimberTech AZEK Collection Is Right for Me?
There are three TimberTech AZEK collections you can choose from for your outdoor space: the Vintage Collection®, the Landmark Collection™, and the Harvest Collection®. Each decking line features a unique realistic wood finish and nature-inspired colors, so you can find the perfect match for your home.
TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection®
Revel in the rich, classical beauty of the Vintage Collection® with its natural-looking colors and its subtle wire-brushed, low-gloss finish for an authentic premium hardwood look.
Enjoy a coastal-cool gray hue that carries a sense of sophistication in its design.
Model your deck with a striking, dark color for a touch of the dramatic in your outdoor space.
Give your deck a warm and welcoming feeling when you choose English Walnut.
Enjoy a luxurious, hardwood feel from the richly hued brown of Mahogany.
Create a sunny vibe while maintaining a clean aesthetic for your new deck.
TimberTech AZEK Landmark Collection™
The Landmark Collection™ is inspired by the stunning designs of reclaimed wood. Enjoy color-blended boards with a rustic, crosscut grain pattern and a matte finish for your outdoor space.
Get a true rustic wood feel with the deep, dark brown of American Walnut.
French White Oak®
French White Oak will give your home a cozy and effortless look that radiates casual sophistication.
Bring stunning details and a charming, modern tone to your home with Castle Gate.
TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection®
The TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection® offers, nature-inspired hues that complement a wide range of home exteriors. With its cathedral wood grain patterns, this collection brings classically attractive real wood aesthetics to your space.
Enjoy the light, neutral tone offered by Brownstone that complements practically any style and space.
Bring style and elegance to your deck with the strong, rich color of Kona.
Create a monochromatic finish for your deck with the painted-wood-inspired style offered by Slate Gray.
Start Planning Your Better-Than-PVC Deck Today
Skip traditional PVC decking and upgrade your life outdoors with TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking. Discover the right color for your space by ordering free samples Be sure to place the samples outside to get a sense of their true beauty in different lighting—and see how they perform in the elements.