Consumers today are living with an abundance, some might say an overabundance, of choices.

Fiberon Ipe Low Maintenance Decking by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

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 Deck by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

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?

In our experience, popular hardwoods among St. Louis homeowners are Tigerwood and Ipe.  And two favorite low-maintenance decking materials are manufactured by TimberTech and Fiberon.  So, Fiberon Horizon ‘Ipe’ decking and TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions (Legacy collection) in ‘Tigerwood’ are fantastic alternatives to the real-thing.

But there are many others too!  Too many to name in one article.

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Teak with Walnut Inlays by Archadeck

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Teak with Walnut Inlays by Archadeck

So whether you’re sketching blueprints or still gathering general ideas, it’s always best to know your options.

And conducting initial research online is very useful; however, seeing and touching the actual product will be the true deciding factor.

And that’s where a local contractor like Archadeck can help.

Next Steps

If  you live in the St. Louis Missouri or surrounding area, you can schedule an appointment with us, Archadeck of West County and St. Charles County, by calling 636.227.0800.  We’re local and family-owned and operated.

We offer free consultations for decks, screened porches, pergolas or any other outdoor structure you might be considering.  And of course, we’ll show you material samples as well.

Find Archadeck in St. Louis Mo on the web -,

Archadeck on the web –,

You can connect with us online by visiting our website,, to see hundreds of photos of our completed projects, to submit an online inquiry form or send us an email.

But if you’re still in the early-stages-of-exploring and not quite ready to set up a meeting, take a look at our new Pinterest page for inspiration and helpful resources too.

Sources and Citations

The American Hardwood Information Center, TimberTech, AZEK, Fiberon, Better Homes and Gardens, Archadeck Outdoor Living, Beautiful Backyard Blog, Popular Mechanics, Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio

Outside of St. Louis, visit to find other locations nationwide.