How to Choose a Deck Board

Posted 15 June 2021 5:10 PM by Jase DeBoer

Building a new deck is a big project to take on, but one with a large return on investment. Choosing the right materials is likely the most important, yet the most difficult decision to make during the planning process. The word “composite” is used frequently, but with so many options, how do you know which is best? We’ve outlined the key features and benefits between choosing traditional lumber, wood-plastic composite and mineral-based composite.

Treated Lumber Decking

Historically, lumber has been the traditional, economical choice for decking. Even with recent spikes in lumber prices, it’s still a go-to choice for those looking to save money in the short term. Although wood requires more annual maintenance, it has some good benefits.

  • You can change the color of your deck by staining it.
  • If you need to replace a board, there is no risk of it being discontinued.
  • The look of a traditional wood deck will always be in style.

Unlike composite decking, you will still need to perform regular maintenance to keep your decking in tip-top shape. There are color-infused lumber options, such as ProWood® Color-Treated lumber. With color driven deep into the wood, you’ll only have to maintain it with regular waterproof sealers.

Wood-Plastic Composite

Consider this a “best of both worlds” combination of traditional lumber and composite decking. Constructed of a compressed wood-plastic core, this decking offers a long-lasting style at an affordable price.

Each of the Deckorators® wood-plastic composite (WPC) decking options features a high-density polyethylene cap, making each board extra strong and resistant to stains, fading and scratches. Our two WPC options are Vista and Trailhead; both are an excellent choice for a new deck build. Both offer a 25-year Structural, 25-year Stain & Fade and 25-year Removal & Replacement warranty.

Trailhead: Offered at an entry-level price, it’s an excellent choice for a long-lasting yet budget-friendly build. The durable cap is on three full sides, including through the side grooves. Trailhead is offered in three colors and displays a rugged, natural-looking wood grain.

Vista: Showcasing four interchangeable colors for unique combinations, it’s offered in 3.5” and 5.5” widths. Each board features a linear, hairline grain akin to exotic hardwoods.

Mineral-Based Composite

Leading in the industry, mineral-based composite (MBC) offers unmatched strength, enhanced traction, has virtually no thermal movement and is rated for water and ground contact. Each of the three decking families offers a 50-year structural, 50-year removal and replacement, and 25 year stain and fade warranty.

Voyage: Voyage provides 34% or greater surface traction than other leading brands of composite decking*. Warranted for ground and water installation, Voyage can be installed as a deck, dock, entryway or walkway. It’s our leading choice for those looking for unmatched strength, style, longevity and ROI on their decking investment.

Frontier: Offered in two traditional yet timeless colors, it’s the perfect choice for those who want a classic look paired with an unbeatable warranty.

Vault: Designed with flat grain variegation, this MBC choice provides the look of exotic hardwoods.

How to Choose?

If you don't mind making updates to your outdoor spaces, then treated lumber may be the best choice for you. However, it will need more maintenance than composite decking. ProWood Treated Lumber is an excellent choice, as it’s long-lasting, durable, and resistant to rot and decay.

If you’re creating a budget-friendly space but still want an unbeatable warranty, then WPC might be the best choice for you. Both Trailhead and Vista feature a unique extrusion process, resulting in a stronger and more reliable deck board.

If your outdoor structure comes into contact with ground or water, then MBC is your best choice. Our most popular decking is Voyage, with Vault and Frontier as additional excellent choices. Each features the industry’s best 50-year structural warranty.

Regardless of what you choose, building a new deck is an exciting project. Need additional help choosing the right products? Reach out to a local Deckorators Certified Pro to get started.

*Capped composite decking boards tested by an independent third-party lab in wet conditions under the AS/NXS 4586-2013 standard; decking boards were tested on 9/24/18-9/25/18.