Consumers today are living with an abundance, some might say an overabundance, of choices.
Fiberon Ipe Low Maintenance Decking by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo
Whether you’re making a purchase at the coffee shop or trying to choose a paint sample for your living room, the options can be overwhelming.
And when it comes to massive product offerings, the decking industry is no different.
A relatively short time ago, a few types of wood were routinely used as decking material. Choosing was a ‘no-sweat’ process.
But with the explosion of available products, decisions are no longer clear cut. Alongside of pressure treated lumber and cedar are composites, capped composites, plastics and imported hardwoods too. To complicate matters, product-lines exist within entire categories from manufacturers such as TimberTech, Fiberon, AZEK, Gossen, Trex and others.
Feeling dizzy? Let’s break it down.
Really there are only two, albeit large, categories of decking: Wood and Synthetic
For example, within the wood category, from lowest to highest in cost, you’ll find pressure treated lumber; cedar, redwood, cypress; and American hardwoods or tropical hardwoods like Tigerwood, Ipe or Teak.
Tigerwood Hardwood Deck by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo
Within the synthetic category you’ll discover a bonanza of composites, capped composites and PVC materials (also referred to as vinyl and plastic decking).
What’s the difference among synthetics?
Composite lumber combines wood fibers and plastic. Vinyl/PVC/plastic contains no wood at all. And capped composite is a hybrid: decking boards are composite however the board has a vinyl cap. In most cases, composite is the least expensive material, vinyl is the most expensive and capped composite falls somewhere in between.
So if you crave a low maintenance deck that will look like hardwood, what are your best options? Read the rest of this entry »