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Types of Manufactured Decking

Beyond wooden decking materials, there are several other options available to help you build the deck of your dreams. Learn more about composite and vinyl decking to decide which is the best choice for building a new deck to enhance your home or business.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is decking material that has been made using a combination of wood and other materials. The composite is designed to give you a beautiful look, while still providing the strength and durability of a wooden deck. This type of deck is becoming an increasingly popular choice because it is cost effective, available in a variety of appearances and styles, and can work with nearly any climate condition. Composite decking can be comprised of several different materials, but the most common composite is made of wooden fibers and plastic.

Composite Decking

Composite decking

Composites require less maintenance than wooden decks, are considered “green” because most of them are made from recycled materials, and are resistant to moisture, insects, and decay. They do have a tendency to fade over time, resulting in a spectrum of colors on the deck. Some composite decking materials have come under fire with class action lawsuits, so while they are a good choice, doing research is important.

Vinyl Decking

Vinyl decking is a decking material made from vinyl or PVC. The vinyl material offers a stronger low maintenance option for your deck than wooden or composite materials. It is available in a hollow form, as well as a solid form. Hollow forms are still rated for strength and must be as strong as a solid board, but there are some instances where a solid board may be the only choice. When you choose a hollow board for your decking, you will see a difference in the way the ends of the deck look.

A vinyl deck will not splinter, crack, peel, or fade. You must have a rail and trim system to match if you want to complete the look as you would with any other material, and those are not always available, depending on brand. You will get a uniform appearance that generally hides the fasteners, with a material that is much less susceptible to rot and decay than a wooden deck. A vinyl deck will cost more than pressure-treated lumber, and will not look like real wood. Some may find issues with noise and squeaking, and some believe a new vinyl deck does not look as good as a new wooden deck.

The right decking material for building a deck is based on a variety of factors including: cost, appearance, climate conditions, and availability. No matter which material you go with, you will have a long lasting place to enjoy the outdoors, while adding value and beauty to your home.

(7) Comments

  1. We have just replaced our wooden deck with composite decking. There are some stains on the
    decking. What cleaning agents are safe for cleaning the composite decking?

    • Hi Janie,

      One thing to determine, if you can, is what the source of the stain actually is. Common ones come from mold, or tree sap, or grease stains from barbeques. The first thing to try is something all-natural and acidic, like vinegar or lemon juice mixed with a bit of water. If that doesn’t take, ask your local retailer about natural products with non-toxic ingredients.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Geraldine Corder - Reply

    I want to put composite decking over my existing deck. If the existing deck is sanded & stained or a water proofing on it, wouldn’t it hold up for years without rotting under the composite? There is also a portion of a cement porch under part of the deck.

  3. Trying to decide which type of vinyl decking is the best for me. I have an elderly Mom so I need it to be non slip. There is very little sun where the new decking will go, so I need it to be mold resistant, stain resistant, easy maintenance, etc.. The only thing I am sure of, is that I want vinyl. Any suggestions?????

  4. I am looking for suggestions for a raised deck that I need to have solid surface, so it does not let rainwater thru to storage area below. It must withstand 10 months a year of rain in WA.

  5. We saw on the DYI network a backyard renventation, and they install 2 types of decking
    1 which looked like vinyl siding with the tac strip, and the second was like a 3′ or 4′ Square that they used for a walkway and it locked in place by turning a some typoe of handle, and i wouldn’t know where to look, can you help me

  6. We are looking for something to put on top of an elevated wood deck. Some kind of veneer I suppose. Thank you. Don

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