Why composite decks are worth the extra investment.
The biggest factor leading to the decision to have a composite deck installed is maintenance! That is typically the reason why these projects are considered. If you think about the amount of time that it takes to pressure wash, dry, stain, and seal a deck, it could be a month process from start to finish! Of course, that all must take place while you would like to be using your outdoor space—when it is warm and dry out.
When you are considering a composite deck project there are several manufacturers out there to choose from. Just like anything else there are appealing and unappealing things about each. There are several major brands in the marketplace such as Fiberon, Wolf, Trex, AZEK, and Timbertech. All are good products, but we prefer to use AZEK or Timbertech decking products for our composite decking. The main reason is for our climate in South Dakota, we have a serious amount of weather fluctuation. AZEK and Timbertech provide a full encapsulation of the board, while on a grooved Trex board the cap stops at the groove. Although I have little experience with Fiberon or Wolf because of their availability in the local area, I am sure they provide a full cap system of some sort.
This encapsulation is a critical element of how long decking is going to last. Lets say that we have a serious March where it dumps 2 feet of snow in three snow events, 8 inches each time, and the period between is warmer and sunny. That water is melting, running between the deck boards and soaking into the bottom side of the unencapsulated deck board, which leads to a quicker degradation of the material. Similarly, let’s look at the frame that decking sits on. If it is constructed and flashed properly at the attachment to the house and on top of all joists or blocking, the pressure treated framing should last as long as the decking without problems. This same snowy March provides plenty of water for the deck frame to soak up if not flashed on joists properly early failure is a real possibility.