Computerized Deck and Pergola Renderings by Archadeck

Computerized Deck Renderings by Archadeck

Technology is everywhere and changes are rapid.

Whether it’s a software upgrade for a laptop, a new smart phone with GPS or a fuel-efficient ‘green’ car, the full-force of technology reaches far and wide.

And the decking industry is no exception.

Technological advances have had a major (a major!) impact on contractors as well.  In a good way!

Every single day, contractors like Archadeck rely on high-tech communication, digital photography, computerized design software and an internet presence including websites, blogs, Pinterest and other social media.  We utilize laptops, tablets and cell phones for all aspects of the business – the whole shabang.

Low Maintence Deck and Pergola by Archadeck

Low Maintence Deck and Pergola by Archadeck

High Tech Decking Materials

But beyond day-to-day business operations, technology has also had a huge influence on the construction-end of the business with the building materials we use.

And the scope of available products has ballooned because of this evolving technology and marketplace demand.

Of course, traditional commodities like pressure treated wood, cedar and natural hardwoods still play a big role in the enterprise of outdoor living.

More and more options, however, are now available to consumers with developments in synthetics and composites which are manufactured with convenience, aesthetics and longevity in mind.

Many folks mistakenly use the terms ‘composite’ and ‘synthetic’ interchangeably.  In reality, they are manufactured with quite different technology.

So what exactly is the difference between composite and synthetic decking material?

‘Composite’ is often used as a generic term for any type of recycled decking boards derived from wood and plastic.  In actuality, there are two types of composites – wood/plastic and capped.

Wood-plastic composites were originally introduced and arrived to the decking scene in the 1990’s.  And unlike wood, these materials don’t require stain or paint; however, they do need to be kept clean and routinely checked for debris or dirt.  Maintenance is lower but maintenance is mandatory.

Two Tone Composte Deck by Archadeck

Two Tone Composte Deck by Archadeck

Synthetics, on the other hand, are often referred to as PVC or vinyl .  PVC stands for ‘poly vinyl chloride’ and is a material that is completely wood-free.

In regards to maintenance, these products are about as close to ‘maintenance free’ as possible but even synthetics will require some minimal cleaning:  sweep, rinse, check and remove stains (including grease) early.

In reference to price-point, synthetics are usually higher in cost when compared to composites.

Nonetheless, the costs can vary, vendor-by-vendor and within product categories too.   Most suppliers offer a wide range of options in order to capture the value conscious consumer as well as the premium market-niche.  In other words… there’s something for just about everyone.

Deck Designed and Built with Capped Composite Decking, by Archadeck

Deck Designed and Built with Capped Composite Decking, by Archadeck

Now, let’s revisit the concept of capped composite decking materials.

An upgraded version of original composite is called ‘capped composite’, sometimes referred to as capstock.

Capped composite, as the name implies, is a composite plank with a polymer shell.

It’s a‘step-up’ from simple ‘wood-plastic composites’ with better aesthetics, added strength and lower maintenance.  Essentially, capstock is a hybrid of composite and synthetic technologies.

Generally speaking composite is less expensive than PVC and capped composite falls right-there-in-between.

So, if you are ready for a deck, screened porch or other outdoor structure that requires less maintenance and provides more time for enjoyment — composite, capped composite or vinyl might be the perfect material for you!

And if you’re looking for assistance from a reputable contractor in the St. Louis area, please contact us, Archadeck of West County and St. Charles County – 636.227.0800.

Visit our website, and click on the photo gallery tab to see composite and vinyl deck projects throughout the region.

If you live outside of the St. Louis, Missouri area, go to for more locations.

Sources:  Archadeck Outdoor Living, Beautiful Backyard Blog, Archadeck Columbus, Fiberon, TimberTech, AZEK, PRWeb