Choosing the decking material that’s best for your outdoor living space is easy with Archadeck of Central MD!

AZEK deck by Archadeck of Maryland

This AZEK deck is accented with a TimberTech Radiance Rail.

You’ve chosen the placement, the type of structure and the size of your new outdoor living space, so now it’s time to select which material to use for its construction. For today’s forward thinking homeowner, synthetic decking, the low maintenance green building material, is consistently a top choice. Contrary to popular belief, not all synthetic decking is the same. In fact, synthetic decking is broken down into three categories based upon its anatomy: composite decking, solid PVC and capstock decking, with manufacturers including TimberTech, Fiberon, AZEK and Trex. Although all three categories possess certain similarities, they also have distinct differences as shown in the detail of each below.

  • Composite decking
Composite deck by Archadeck

This deck by Archadeck shows the beauty that can be yours with a composite deck.

Traditional wood/plastic composite materials are available through many of the top brands we carry, such as TimberTech, Fiberon and Trex. Traditional composites consist of a combination of wood fiber and resin. This pairing of wood and plastic provides an impressive durability (the likes of which wood has never been able to provide), an uncanny resistance to splintering and rotting, never requires staining or painting and is extremely economical. The downside is the potential for discoloring; due to the presence of wood in its formula, wine, oil and grease can stain the deck because of the porous nature of the wood fibers. These high-quality composite decking materials are covered by warranties that exceed those of any wooden deck on the market.

  • Solid PVC decking

Solid PVC decking, such as AZEK, is impervious and offers superior stain, insect, mold/mildew, scratch, fade, and split resistance. Grease, oil, wine or fruit punch will not discolor this decking material and there’s never a worry regarding patio furniture or pet scratches with solid PVC. Disadvantages for this category include a potential for expansion in the heat due to the elasticity of plastic, a lack of a more authentic wood texture and with all of its high-tech resistance, comes with a higher price tag.

AZEK decking in beautiful "Redland Rose".

AZEK decking in beautiful “Redland Rose”.

  • Capstock decking
Fiberon-Horizon

Fiberon capstock decking.

One of the newest synthetics is a composite wrapped in PVC or other high performance shell, often referred to as capstock decking. The advantages of this combination include reducing the amount of maintenance required by the homeowner, and more specifically a decrease in the amount of cleaning required to keep the deck looking new. Capped composites, or capstock manufacturers include Trex, Fiberon and TimberTech. Capstock decking offers the best of both worlds through superior stain, fade, scratch, and insect resistance while still giving you the beauty of real wood with moderate pricing.  In addition, capstock offers warraties against fading and staining.

When comparing quality and performance of the manufacturers of synthetic decking materials, Archadeck of Central MD offers a diverse lineup of low-maintenance, high-performance wood alternative products which can handle the outdoors without depleting them. The long list of advantages of each brand far outweights any disadvantages, (as if there are any!) and include: high resistance to elements, impervious to mold, mildew and insects, wide spectrum of beautiful colors and grain patterns and affordability.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandNo matter if you are selecting the building material to re-deck your existing structure or for your new deck, you want one packed with versatility and beauty and choosing it shouldn’t be a hassle. Archadeck of Central Maryland is a trusted and respected industry leader. We have the experience to consult effectively with our customers on manufacturer and material selections. We can help you review and choose the right material to suit your needs, your lifestyle and your budget. Contact us today to learn more about synthetic and other outdoor living material options. Call or email for a free consultation: (301) 926 – 3001 or central-maryland.archadeck.com.

Advertisements

2013 Top Home Improvement Trends for Decks and Outdoor Living Space Materials

Maryland_Bethesda_Baltimore_Best_Deck_Builder_Contractor_Outdoor_Living_Specialist

We were recently asked what the upcoming top home improvement trends for decks and outdoor living space materials are for 2013. Since we here at Archadeck of Central Maryland work with many clients to create the perfect outdoor spaces, including decks, patios, sunrooms, screen porches, hardscapes, gazebos and more, we were happy to tackle the question. So what materials, techniques and types of projects do we think will dominate 2013?

Short answer: Top materials trends we’re seeing are Cap Stock materials & PVC technology.

And a more thorough answer: Three technologies exist today for producing low maintenance decking: composite, cap stock and PVC.

Composite was first introduced by Trex and is still available from all of the major manufacturers today. However, composite is prone to staining, scratching, fading and is more susceptible to mold and mildew. Many of the composite product do not look very natural. Its only advantage today is cost. As a result of the improved products on the market composite is quickly losing market share. Many of the products have been discontinued and those still in production will likely not be around much longer.

PVC

We’re seeing a trend in PVC Technology using top-notch materials like Azec and Fiberon. The benefits of using these types of materials for decks and outdoor living areas are that it’s stain-, mold- and scratch-resistant. The product can dent, but is a lower price point, and we’re seeing a growing number of decks and outdoor structures constructed from it. PVC is generally the most expensive material compared to the other materials we’ve already described.

Cap Stock

Another top 2013 trend for outdoor structure materials are Cap Stock materials. These are recycled wood and recycled plastic on the inside with an acrylic, high density polypropylene or other propriety formulation shell. This provides extra protection for the boards and helps extend the life of the deck. Cap Stock has all of the stain, mold, mildew resistance as PVC, looks more like natural wood, is almost as scratch resistant, and is lower in cost than PVC. As a result this has been the most popular choice for customers looking for the best value in low maintenance flooring. All of the major manufacturers including Trex, Fiberon, TimberTech (acquired by Azek in August 2012) and some of the other lower profile manufacturers like Rhino Deck all offer this technology.

We’ll be sharing more top home improvements trends and projects right here on our blog, so feel free to email us any related questions and we may feature your query in a future blog post!

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Central Maryland is a leader in outdoor design & construction for Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County or Prince Georges County MD. Our team has been designing & constructing outdoor living spaces for the past 11 years and has been the recipient of CotY (Contractor of the Year) awards and other distinctions, plus featured in the Washington Post. We’d love to help you with your next home renovation, whether you’re thinking of building a new deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor, fire pit or other project. Our design consultation is free. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.

Composite, PVC or Capstock Decking? That is the question.

Composite deck by Archadeck

This deck by Archadeck shows the beauty that can be yours with a composite deck.

Composite, PVC and capstock decking materials are fairly new to most of us although they are trusted and true materials in the world of outdoor structures. You may have heard about all of these different types of expensive, fancy and maybe good decking materials, but the dilemma is how does the homeowner make sense of it all?

How to decide?

When selecting a material for your new deck or re-decking needs, the variance in selection can make this task quite daunting. Archadeck of Maryland wants the task of selecting the right material for your individual needs to be an easy and pleasant experience, this is why we have taken the three basic types of decking materials and broken them down to explain the basic components and functions of each group.

Composites ( also known as synthetics) are by far the oldest decking product on the market. Composites have been around for quite a few years, and being the oldest means all, or most, of the “kinks” have been worked out with this product. Over the years we have watched this product improve greatly in appearance as well as durability. Many composites promise the best of everything, from stain resistance to low maintenance and a myriad of other benefits. Because there are now so many choices and options within the realm of composites, we want to quell the fears of the unknown by giving homeowners a simple and concise picture of what these types of decking are and the pros and cons of each.

composite_deck_with_Pergola_in_Maryland

Composite deck with pergola by Archadeck of Maryland

Composite decking material requires a lot less maintenance than its solid wood counterparts – even those treated with preservatives. Composites can be made to emulate the look of real wood, with wood graining that in a quality composite can rival the real thing. A high quality composite can also inhibit the growth of mold and mildew by the addition of mold inhibitors present in the makeup of the composite.

Composites can be cleaned by simple soap and water cleanup. If stains sit for a period of time, they may take a little more effort to clean. There are many good composite cleaners on the market. As with any deck that contains natural derivatives you will still have to contend with fading, scratching and dirt. Composites, even though they do require maintaining, do no compare with the chore of staining and painting on an annual basis that is necessary with a pressure treated or other entirely wooden deck.

One composite brand we use quite a bit of is Fiberon Professional. Fiberon Professional requires no painting, staining or sealing. It comes in rich colors and is resistant to termites, splinters and decay.

Fiberon Professional color options

Fiberon Professional color options

TimberTech is another well-known brand of composite decking. Their line offers scratch, stain and fade resistance that carries a 25 year warranty. TimberTech,  like the majority of the leading composite manufacturers has created stunning similarities with the appearance of the composites with wood graining and details that closely resemble the look of real wood. In the case of these quality composites it is like real wood, but even better.

AZEK deck by Archadeck of Maryland

This AZEK deck is accented with a TimberTech radiance rail.

PVC Decking

Cellular PVC decking is very high performance and similarly is most often the more expensive option. PVC decking materials have fade and stain protection through their warranties. PVC is a solid cellular plastic. This makeup creates a non porous and denser decking material. PVC decking only requires minimal maintenance. It will not fade, warp, crack, splinter or stain. PVC is also moisture friendly and is used heavily around pools, spas and as a docking material.

Guardeck Elite PVC decking Maryland

Guardeck Elite PVC decking Maryland

When you think in terms of the price point when choosing any decking material, Archadeck of Maryland urges the homeowner to take the long-term investment into consideration when choosing the material for your deck. PVC has superior protection because of the 25 year stain and fade warranties that some PVC manufacturers offer, but that type of quality does cost a bit more. We really like Guardian Elite decking and use it quite a bit.

GuardDeck Guardian Elite decking Maryland

GuardDeck Guardian Elite decking Maryland

Guardian Elite decking offers very strong fade, stain and moisture resistance. It does not require any painting, staining or sealing – ever. No splinters. No cracking or rotting. And, it’s resistant to mold, mildew, fungus, moss – and even insects.

Fiberon Horizon is a  product that we have used many times and has proven itself as a superior PVC material. This product uses PermaTech innovation to offer superior stain and fade protection and only requires soap and water cleanup. There are other PVC brands on the market as well such as AZEK and TimberTech XLM just to name a few.

Fiberon deck with vinyl pergola

This Fiberon deck is breathtaking when accented by this vinyl pergola.

What is capstock?

Capstock is the newest material on the market. It is made up of a proprietary PVC polymer shell and contains a composite wood and recycled plastic core. It is considered a composite decking material but boasts a durable PVC shell. It is also known as a composite hybrid, as well as being referred to as capstock decking. These products are being backed with some of the best warranties in the business, therefore we expect good things from Capstock products.

Guardian Prestige Deck

Guardian Prestige Deck in Weathered Wood

As far as capstock goes, we really like Guardian Prestige and Fiberon Horizon. The Guardian Prestige line has advanced fade, stain and scratch resistance. Like other composites and capstocks, it requires no painting, staining or sealing. Guardian Prestige has a very nice realistically embossed woodgrain. On top of that, it’s made right here in the USA.

Guardian Prestige Decking Colors

Guardian Prestige Decking Colors

Guardian Prestige comes in four colors: Pewter, Weathered Wood which you see above, Cedar and Walnut.

Another really strong capstock decking material is called Fiberon Horizon. The Fiberon Horizon line offers the look of tropical hardwoods with some of its darker colors including Ipe, Rosewood and Tudor Brown.

Fiberon Horizon color options

Fiberon Horizon color options

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are considering a deck of composite, PVC or capstock, contact Archadeck of Maryland to help you decide which material is the best for you and your family. Our knowledgeable and talented team can pair you up with the deck of your dreams. Call (301) 926 – 3001 or email us at centralmaryland@archadeck.net