Which brand of composite wood decking should I use?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ May 12, 2012 ~ Comments

I want to replace a small wood deck (18'-10') and build the new deck out of composite wood decking. What brand do you recommend? Do you have any tips for a DIY installer?

Amber ~ Iowa

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Amber. Composite decking can be a great choice for replacing your old decking as you can pretty much say goodbye to the extensive maintenance that wood usually requires. I normally use Trex decking as they are somewhat of a local business for me, but there are many other composite decking brands with good reputations. A few you may want to consider:

    • Timber Tech

    • AZEK

    • ChoiceDek

    I have not personally used any of those three, but they seem to have quite a few positive customer reviews.

    The two big issues that you should be careful of when shopping for composite decking are fading and staining. Early versions of many manufacturers' decking were susceptible to fading over time due to sun exposure. While the deck looked great when first installed, in two years could appear faded out and over 1o years old if it got a lot of direct sunlight. Most manufacturers have made great improvements in this area, but make sure the brand you purchase has a lengthy warranty against fading.

    Staining has been another problem with many composite decking brands. Wood decking can normally be sanded down and refinished to remove most tough stains, but that isn't an option with composite boards. In many cases, the only method for removing a difficult stain from composite decking is to replace the board or hope the stain fades over time. Several manufacturers have introduced products advertised to be more stain-proof, so you may want to consider those for your project.

    Even with those two issues, composite decking is usually considered preferable to wood if for no other reason than the little maintenance it requires. It's also a great product for families with young children as it doesn't split and splinter as treated wood can be prone to do.

    As far as DIY deck installation tips, composite decking boards can be cut and secured in place in much the same fashion as wood. I would be careful of using a chalk line to mark boards as it can sometimes leave one of those tough stains mentioned previously.

    Good luck with your project!

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