Composite Decking Conundrum

A lot of people ask what is the cost difference between at treated deck and a composite deck. Here is the rough answer using a treated deck as the base.  

  • A cedar deck is 2 times the price of a treated deck
  • An entry level composite deck is 5 times more than treated
  • High end composite is 6-7 times more than treated.

Capped PVC Decking

Capped PVC is the forerunner in composite decking.  It is relatively maintenance and problem free.  Composite is explained as the mixture of several materials to form a new one.  Composite deck materials are a mixture of wood and plastic fibers extruded in the form of boards or railings.  First generation composites would see mold growth and fade issues because the tiny wood particles were still exposed on the face, however these composites were temperature stable (little shrink and contract).  Capped deck products have recently took over.  They offer the best of both worlds: the stable wood and composite core and the durable PVC mold and stain proof cover.  The difference between low and and high end decking is really color, one will not out last the other.  Entry level deck boards are usually single one color boards, while high end decking has rich color variations to give the look of a tropical hardwoods.  One thing to remember, the darker the color the hotter it will get. Dark colors are the trend!  Be careful and choose lighter colors on Southern exposures so you can at least enjoy it.

Decking Companies

Everywhere you turn, a new decking company is popping up that is "the best".  At Freeborn Lumber we've realized, if this new decking company hasn't established itself at least 10 years, stay the heck away!  Minnesota winters and summers play havoc on composite decks.  These composite newcomers have undergone accelerated testing to simulate our climate, not the real thing.  What the real thing does to these decks is down right scary, I've seen off brands open up 1 inch on splice and butt joints in January.  Stick with known brands like Trex or Timbertech, we sell both because they have proven products and a valid warranty.