This is a really good article from Timbertech....
Which Materials Deliver the Longest Deck Lifespan?
For years, pressure-treated lumber and softwoods have been among the most popular choices in deck materials because they provide a handsome finish at what might seem like a comparatively low price — but looks can be deceiving. With that initial affordability comes years of maintenance fees, staining, sealing and general upkeep. That will translate to back- and budget-breaking labor over the course of your deck’s life.
Here are some other factors that impact the deck lifespan when you choose traditional wood decking:
- Wood deck boards will need to be maintained (sanded, stained, sealed, deep-cleaned, etc.) at least every three years.
- Even when properly maintained, pressure-treated lumber will show inconsistent coloring and quality over time.
- The unavoidable erosion of organic materials in wood deck boards means they will need replaced every 10–15 years.
Just look at how the initial cost of pressure-treated lumber compares to our entry-level composite decking, TimberTech EDGE™:
Cost Over 10 Years
Pressure-Treated Lumber vs. TimberTech EDGE Prime Boards
The estimated average cost of composite deck boards and pressure-treated lumber decking costs are based on the national average for a 16' x 20' deck. Meant for visual representation only. Actual costs may vary.
That’s just initial cost, though. Remember: if you choose to build with traditional wood, you will have to deal with regular, costly maintenance including sanding, staining, and board replacement. Today, homeowners are catching on to the long-term costs and subpar performance associated with wood; in the U.S., composite decking is the fastest growing category in the decking industry. How does composite decking stack up against wood in terms of performace?
Just look at the side-by-side to see how pressure-treated wood weathered the storm — spoiler: it didn’t.
A TimberTech AZEK board (far left) and two TimberTech PRO boards (middle and right* photos) after six months of natural weathering.
The Deck Lifespan of Capped Composite Boards
Capped composite boards, such as those offered in our TimberTech EDGE and TimberTech PRO lines, capture all the nuanced beauty of traditional wood but leave behind wood’s susceptibility to weathering, warping, and fading — all weaknesses which will shorten deck lifespan.
The core of our capped composite boards uses 100% recycled wood and up to 80% recycled materials, and the incredibly durable caps are made from high-performance polymers that resist moisture and stand up to UV rays. Combine this materials innovation with realistic grain patterns and rich hues, and you have deck boards that stay beautiful for decades to come.
Backyard escapes made from our TimberTech PRO composite decking enjoy a long deck lifespan thanks to:
- An industry-leading 30-Year Fade & Stain Limited Warranty — five years longer than the warranties of many competitors.
- No wood fillers in the cap for serious resistance to mold and moisture damage.
- 4-sided capping, which keeps the core free of moisture and other weathering agents.
- TimberTech Mold Guard™ Technology in the cap to keep hungry mold spores out of your investment — and your deck’s structural integrity exceptional.
The Deck Lifespan of Capped Polymer Boards
Capped polymer boards, like those in the TimberTech AZEK line, combine aesthetic excellence (think detail-rich grain patterns and color-blended hues) with premium performance. With this type of decking, you get enviable beauty without sacrificing durability. Plus, TimberTech AZEK deck boards include no organic material in the core or cap — meaning they’re one of the most moisture- and weathering-resistant decking materials on the market. When considering what to build with to maximize deck lifespan, few alternatives can surpass the weathering-resistant, polymer-powered composition of TimberTech AZEK decking.
Anticipate a long deck lifespan if your outdoor oasis is made from TimberTech AZEK capped polymer deck boards thanks to:
- An industry-best 50-Year Fade & Stain Limited Warranty and leading Lifetime Limited Warranty.
- No wood fillers in the cap or core for superior resistance to mold and moisture damage.
- Four-sided capping, which keeps the core free of moisture and other weathering agents.
- Alloy Armour Technology®, a proprietary protective cap formulation that prevents fading, staining, and weathering.