Fortunately building a deck is not what it once was. Running around from lumber yard to lumber yard to find the best quality Cedar is now somewhat a thing of the past. With the maintenance free craze and the new generation of maintenance free decking you need to ask yourself; is what I’m investing in truly maintenance free?, and Will this product last?
The truth is the market is full of “maintenance free” boards that will let you down, and “Maintenance Free boards” that are defiantly not as maintenance free as the manufacture would like to think. As most people will refer to all “maintenance free” decking as composite decking . Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a quick break down of the “maintenance free” deck board today ranging from bad better to best.
Composites are made of a blend of materials,including wood flour, wood fibers and plastic materials (either recycled or virgin). When it comes to synthetic decking, composites are on the entry-level in terms of cost. They are also on the entry level of quality. Personally I would put Pressure treated decking on my deck before I put a composite on for the cost difference it is far from worth the upgrade. Composite will fade like CRAZY, swell, mold, mildew, and scratch like crazy. Far from maintenance free in my opinion.
Capped composites represents a hybrid between composite and PVC decking. A composite (wood/plastic) core is wrapped with a shell of PVC (or similar) material.
As for cost, capstock comes in higher than composite and just lower than PVC. In short. Manufactures have wrapped a composite product with a PVC capping; this makes the board far more resilient to scratching, mold, mildew, and swelling. WARNING! Not all capped composites are the same. Some manufactures only put a capstock on the top and sides of the board leaving the bottom unprotected.
PVC decking is made of new or recycled plastic resin. Because it contains no wood material, PVC does not mold and mildew. In addition, it stands up better to scratches, stains and fading. Minimal maintenance is required beyond occasional cleaning. PVC decking is your top of the line product when it comes to decking for decks low to grade or poolside. PVC decking can sit in water all day every day as the beautiful element of PVC is that it does not retain moisture.
ASA is the absolute latest technology in the decking industry. ASA = Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate. What the heck is that? In language that makes sense ASA is a plastic resin that is heavily used in the automotive industry to form dashboards. ASA can take an absolute beating from the suns UVA, UVB rays with very little fading over a span of 25 years. ASA decking will have all the benefits of a normal PVC deck board, with a capstock on PVC steroids. ASA decking is also much cooler on the feet than conventional wood or composite decking and is by far the best value decking on the market place.