Wood or composite? Composite or PVC? PVC or capstock?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about adding a new deck or porch to your home. You’ve probably begun your online research evaluating shapes, colors, sizes, materials and numerous other options. Once you begin that process, you’ll likely realize there are even more options than you think. For this blog, we’d like to provide information about synthetic decking to help you narrow that choice. Do not worry if you can’t make a final selection by reading multiple websites and looking at the dizzying array of colors. Any reputable builder will help you walk through some of those final decisions.
If you’re still wondering whether to build a wood or composite deck, there is one very important consideration. How much maintenance do you want to do? Do you want to strip, paint, stain, seal and otherwise maintain your deck approximately every year? Wood decks require maintenance. The frequency of that maintenance may vary slightly based primarily on how much direct sunlight your deck receives. Rest assured, to keep your wood deck looking good, it will need maintenance on close to an annual basis.
Do you want to throw away your garage powerwasher and your deck sealant brushes or at least never look at them again? Low maintenance decking doesn’t need any regular maintenance. It does not need to be stained, sealed or otherwise maintained to continue looking good. Is it no maintenance? Nothing is no maintenance. A spill will need to be cleaned up just like it needs to be cleaned up off your kitchen floor. If your dog tracks mud across your deck, you will need a garden hose to remove the mud. But that’s all.
The flipside of this decision is price. Composite and synthetic decks can be significantly more expensive than natural wood decks. Sometimes a good litmus test is to evaluate this purchase decision against how long you are going to be in your home. If you plan on being in your home for the next 20 years and never have to perform maintenance on your deck, then any upfront increase in cost pays off fairly quickly. But, if you know you will only be in your home for another 5 years, you may want to choose a wood deck with the corresponding cost of annual maintenance.
Composite, PVC or capstock?
Believe it or not, composite decking has been around 20 years or more and it sure has evolved during that time. Not only has it improved over time but the range of manufacturers, colors, and styles have grown along with it. When composite decking first came out, recycled plastic was mixed with wood fibers – hence the composite name. There were a few problems with those early iterations including some mold problems. Today’s composites have a great combination of high quality resin and wood fibers. Not only are they made in just about every imaginable color and texture, they are also made by a number of manufacturers. Although a really solid product, most customers are now opting for one of the next couple choices.
Solid PVC decking
Composite decking comes with some tremendous performance characteristics. It will not rot, splinter, chip, cup or suffer the other maladies that befall wood over time. PVC decking provides the added bonus of warrantied stain and fade protection. The manufacturer warranties all of the above for 25 years so you can be confident that it lives up to its promise. Solid PVC decking such as AZEK XLM comes at a bit higher price than composite decking.
h3. A happy medium – capstock decking
Recently a new product has come along that marries the best qualities of composite and PVC. As you can imagine, the price is more moderate than PVC but more than composite. Capstock decking is composite with a PVC cap on the boards. This way you get the strength and protection of composite with the added protection of the PVC stain and fade warranty.
Which is right for you? Let us help you decide. Our job is to walk you through the options not just for decking boards but for all the other options and considerations required in planning your new deck or porch. We have the benefit of experience and have built nearly every combination you can imagine. Give us a call for a free consultation to discuss planning and building a new outdoor space for your Kansas City home.