Category Archives: Stain resistant decking

Deck building materials-Lots of choices

One of the facts of life in the current century in the United states is we have multiple choices for everything we do.  We go to the grocery store and are overloaded with 100 types of bread or cereal.  The building industry has seen the same type of explosion of choice over the last 15 years.   What used to be a relatively simple decision on what kind of material to use to build your deck or porch is now much more complex.  Even more complex is the issue of locating a contractor who actually has expertise in a wide variety of materials.  A great many contractors regularly build with only one or two materials, and therefore aren’t  up to date on the specifications and requirements of more specialized materials.  For example when composite decking boards first appeared on the market in the late 1980’s there were only a few brands to choose from, and there was little difference between brands.  At the time all of the products used very similar technology and manufacturing processes.  Today the situation is entirely different, especially with composite decking and railing.  There are over 60 brands on the market, and new ones are being introduced every year.   Many  companies have developed proprietary manufacturing technologies and systems, with multiple different ingredients.    Some companies do a great deal of product development and testing, and some companies do very little.   In the last few years several composite companies have gone bankrupt, and other have been acquired and changed products.   The end result of this is a very confused marketplace for the potential homeowner and consumer.   Today there are substantial differences between brands of composite decking materials.   There are multiple price levels (some 2-3 times the price of others), multiple warranty periods, and major track record and history differences between brands.   Quite a few brands have experienced lawsuits, consumer complaints, and caused a lot of grief to people who purchased them without sufficient research.    There are differences in color fading, stain problems and scratch sensitivity….. in addition some brands are harder to clean than others.  The decking industry, just like any other industry, has its low quality players and its high quality players.   If you are considering a composite deck, do your research and make sure that your contractor has experience and a track record with the material you are interested in.

Steve Folsom

Azek-One of the lowest maintenance choices

I have just returned from a meeting with Azek held at their deck manufacturing facility in Alabama.  Azek decided to form a national Deck Advisory council and selected 13 deck builders from around the country to participate.  Archadeck of Kansas City was selected as one of these builders.   We toured their main manufacturing plant and learned about their quality control, research and development, and production process.   In addition Azek was interested in feedback on consumer wishes and trends in the industry that deck contractors here about from the end-user.   During the course of this meeting I was also lucky enough to brainstorm with some of the very best builders in the country, and to hear about what they are doing in their markets.

Azek is arguably the most successful and fastest growing deck material in the country right now.   Their all plastic deck board has improved scratch, stain, and split resistance in addition to the normal rot and termite protection enjoyed by traditional composite boards.   All manufactured  decking companies invest in some research, development and product testing, however from what we saw Azek  is among the leaders in durability testing and product r & d.

Traditional composites have long been manufactured with wood fiber and plastic ingredients.  Some years ago Azek decided to undertake development of a board that eliminated the wood fiber component, and therefore improved the stain resistance, split resistance, and scratch problems that many wood fiber composite have had.   Several manufacturers are offering 100% plastic boards today, however Azek is the largest and fastest growing.   Although this type of decking is usually slightly higher priced than a traditional wood fiber composite it appears many consumers will think it worth the investment.

Steve Folsom