Tag Archives: Azek

With composite woods, if you’ve seen one, you haven’t seen them all

Kansas City TimberTech Deck with White Low-Maintenance Composite Railing

Kansas City TimberTech Deck with White Low-Maintenance Composite Railing

Are you considering building a new deck, patio or other outdoor living area in your back yard? If you’ve talked to friends or done some research, you’re likely very familiar with composite woods or you’ve heard a good deal about them. Likely you’ve formed some sort of opinion and likely feel that composite would be ideal for your new project. Like  everything that lasts longer, composite is more expensive. And, for the most part, you get what you pay for.

The composite wood industry is almost 20 years old. Some of the composite companies are actually on their 4th or 5th generation of product cycle. They’ve added new colors, new materials, new styles and new features.

Kansas City Evergrain Composite Spa Deck with Storage Bench

Kansas City Evergrain Composite Spa Deck with Storage Bench

Here are the the primary benefits of using composite woods:

  • Termite warranty
  • Rot warranty
  • Boards will not split
  • Lower maintenance

Previously, the composites were not warrantied against stain and fade. Composites are now just coming on to the market with stain and fade warranties – and long ones too. TimberTech is coming out with a new product called TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions which has a 25-year fade and stain warranty. AZEK and Fiberon are also addressing the fade and stain problems with composites.

Warranty is one big difference you will find among composites. But, the other big differences are price and the composite characteristics. Price will vary for market to market based on a variety of factors. But even composites that look somewhat similar can have very different characteristics. One company’s cedar shade may be very different from another. Another company’s grain pattern or texture may be different than another company’s product.

Kansas City WeatherBest Composite Deck with Painted Treated Wood Pergola with Custom Gate and Lattice

Kansas City WeatherBest Composite Deck with Painted Treated Wood Pergola with Custom Gate and Lattice

So, how do you decide? Everything is a balance. Weight what is important to you as it relates to warranties, required maintenance, price and the aesthetic appeal of the composites you are considering. Then, during the specification and design phase, find an experienced contractor with strong familiarity across many of the composite lines to discuss the pros and cons of the top composites you are considering. A qualified, experienced professional outdoor contractor will be glad to take the time with you to review the choices and considerations when selecting the composite that’s right for you.

I’ve been an outdoor builder in the Kansas City market for over 10 years now and used many of the top composites including EverGrain, TimberTech, AZEK, and Fiberon.

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