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Design & Planning

Choosing the Deck With the Longest Lifespan

August 01 2017
Design & Planning Decking

Which Decking Materials Last the Longest?

Adding a deck to your home is a significant investment. It not only adds beauty to your home, it also provides your family with endless hours of enjoyment – something you really can’t put a price tag on. Regardless of the cost, everyone wants his or her deck to withstand the test of time. It’s important to know the products you choose will have a major impact on how long your deck lasts – and how much maintenance and money you’ll have to put into it.

Below is a comparison of the most popular types of decking materials used today. When considering which is right for you, keep in mind longevity, durability, and annual upkeep. You’ll find what often appears to be the least expensive option isn’t always the case.

Pressure-Treated Lumber and Softwoods

For years, pressure-treated lumber and softwoods have been among the most popular choices in deck materials because they provide a handsome finish at an affordable price. When it comes to upfront installation costs, a wood deck may seem more affordable, however, with that comes years of maintenance fees, staining, sealing and general upkeep, which can skyrocket in the long term.

As far as lifespan, according to a recent study by Freedonia, decks made from pressure-treated lumber and softwoods will last an average of 10 years, when maintained appropriately, including regular waterproofing. Usually, the first thing to go are the boards, which can be replaced easily enough. But, if you live in a wet location or an area prone to carpenter ants, termites, or other wood-burrowing insects, the structure could become compromised, requiring a full replacement. Of course, any updates will come at the expense of the homeowner because wood typically does not have lengthy warranties.

Capped Wood Composite

Capped wood composite from TimberTech EDGE and TimberTech PRO is made of plastic and wood fibers. Unlike other capped wood composites, TimberTech PRO is surrounded with a protective, polymer cap on all four sides. This makes the decking much more resistant to the elements than traditional wood. Both TimberTech EDGE and PRO capped composite boards are also splinter-free and resistant to pests, rotting, and warping. There’s no need to seal or stain your deck annually to help protect it from the elements like there is with wood. This makes it a much better investment because it offers a higher return on investment (ROI).

As far as lifespan, these type of decks will typically last well beyond 15 years. Capped composite decking from TimberTech PRO is backed to up to a 30-Year Fade & Stain Warranty and a 30-Year Limited Product Warranty on material defects, insect damage, and rot. TimberTech EDGE is backed by 25-year warranties that offer the same all-encompassing coverage.

Capped Polymer

TimberTech AZEK features an enhanced real-wood look, but unlike wood, AZEK is wrapped in a proprietary polymer cap that includes Alloy Armour Technology. Capped polymer allows deck owners a variety of textures and styles to choose from to help create sleek, sophisticated designs and patterns. It also offers superior heat dissipation and is weather resistant because its core is made from cellular PVC polymer. As an added bonus, it’s lightweight, making it ideal for rooftop installations.

As for lifespan, this deck type will last several decades. Further adding to the value and security of capped polymer decking from AZEK is the warranty, which includes a 50-Year Limited Fade & Stain Warranty and a Limited Lifetime Warranty against material defects.

It's no secret that both capped wood composite and capped polymer decking last significantly longer than decks made from traditional lumber. And, although a wood deck costs the least upfront, over the lifespan of the deck, ultimately, it can wind up being the most expensive, making TimberTech the obvious choice to Go Against the Grain.