Different Types Of Composite Decking-Everything About It

What Is Composite Decking ?

Learn More



Types Of Composite Decking

By Production Method

Composite decking can be classified into two main types based on manufacturing process:

1. Extruded Composite Decking

Extruded composite decking gets created by pushing the internal composite mixture through a shaped die cast to form long, continuous boards. As the molten material gets pressed out, the detailed shape of wood grain and surface texture also gets formed onto the emerging deck boards.


  • Extremely uniform internal structure
  • Continuous board lengths up to 20 ft
  • Very consistent surface finishes
  • Faster, cost-effective production


  • Less realistic surface woodgrain
  • Limited thickness options
  • Prone to hollow sounds when walking

Extruded composites work well for cost-conscious projects needing long, straight, stable boards without variation. Brands like Trex offer reliable, affordable extruded composite deck board options.


2. Molded Composite Decking

Molded composites form inside heated hydraulic molds under extremely high pressures. The manufacturing molds have intricate 3D contours matching real-life wood profiles. As composite mixture gets injected and fills every mold cavity, ultra-precise grain patterns, textures and distinct plank shapes emerge.


  • Gorgeous true-to-nature wood detail
  • Can mimic varied plank widths/lengths
  • Thicker board options possible
  • Natural solid board sound and feel


  • Substantially higher production costs
  • Limited supply availability
  • Possible weathering of mold equipment

For stunning wood realism on a luxury level, molded composites are the premier option. Brands like TimberTech and Aolong specialize in molded boards. They carry a price premium over basic extruded boards but provide uncompromising aesthetics and performance.



Types Of Composite Decking

By Appearance

Aside from production technique, composite boards also differ visually based on specialized surface finishes, plank shapes, textures and colors:

1. Wood Grain Finish Options

  • Grooved – Features subtle lengthwise channels that enhance traction
  • Brushed – Very light linear brushing adds depth
  • Embossed – Physical imprinted wood grain for realism
  • Grainette – Multi-toned painted grain streaking

2. Edge Profile Types

  • Square – Clean 90-degree plank sidewalls
  • Beveled – Gently angled plank edges soften lines
  • Relieved – Rounded corner edges ease transitions

3. Textured Surfacing

  • Low Gloss – Subdued matte surface
  • Medium Gloss – Moderate semi-gloss sheen
  • High Gloss – Mirror-like reflective finish

4. Vibrant Color Varieties  

  • Earthy Browns – Rich coffee, warm pecan, rustic chestnut
  • Cool Greys – Refined slate, weathered steel, coastal fog
  • Exotic Hues – Brazilian walnut, Asian teak, Australian acacia

With endless mixing and matching of surfaces, substructures, textures and dimensions, quality composite brands offer nearly unlimited design flexibility to match any taste or style.

Before finalizing a purchase decision, request free samples from top tier manufacturers like TimberTech, Trex, Cali Bamboo, Everdeck or Dec-Tec. Eyeing the actual composite board colors, graining and finish qualities firsthand is the best way to make an informed product selection.

decking color


Internal Composite Materials

Beyond aesthetics and manufacturing processes, composite decking also contains widely differing internal ingredients depending on the quality tier:

Capped VS Uncapped Composites

  • Capped composites feature a thick protective polymer sleeve wrapped around the composite core. This helps resist moisture, fading and staining issues over the long haul.
  • Uncapped composite boards lack this critical outer shielding technology.

Benefits Of Purchasing Capped Composite Decking

  • Vastly enhanced fade, stain and scratch resistance
  • Preserves vibrant colors for decades
  • Resists repeated furniture migration scuffing

Capped composites better retain their newly installed beauty long into the future despite seasonal expansion/contractions plus abusive usage from family activities. Premium brands like TimberTech guarantee capped boards for 25+ years of performance.


Recycled VS Virgin Raw Plastic Content

Eco-friendly composite boards utilize sizeable amounts of recycled milk jugs, detergent bottles, grocery bags and other post-consumer waste plastics rather than relying on virgin plastic pellets during manufacturing.

Benefits Of Specifying Composites With Recycled Plastic Content

  • Diverts substantial waste plastic from landfills
  • Reduces dependence on fossil fuels for production
  • Lowers manufacturing carbon emissions

Seeking out composite decking intentionally produced utilizing recycled residential and commercial plastics makes an environmentally responsible deck building decision.

Top tier brands like Trex currently include 70-95% recycled post-consumer plastic content within their composite board compositions. This saves resources by giving used plastics renewed life outside rather than clogging landfills for centuries.

Wood Fiber VS Alternative Fillers

Most composites incorporate reclaimed pine, cedar or oak wood dust fibers as critical bulking filler agents. Some alternatively utilize crushed bamboo fibers or recycled rice husks for this instead. And rare few brands just use stone dust or plastic polymers alone to comprise their composites.

Benefits Of Opting For Wood Fiber Filled Composite Decking:

  • Lightweight for easier handling
  • Provides internal structural stability
  • Allows easier screwing just like real wood

While agricultural fiber alternatives technically work as fillers, traditional wood fibers make drilling, screwing and cutting composites much easier while better facilitating enduring screw holds.

Premium composites like MoistureShield strategically blend wood fibers with mineral additives for balanced performance on par with the top tier brands.

Recycled Plastic


Investigating Internal Ingredient Quality Matters

When it comes to composite decking, don’t assume all products get produced equally using the same high-grade ingredients and manufacturing priorities. Carefully scrutinizing technical specifications reveals major quality distinctions between competing brands and product lines.

Digging deeper into their respective materials sourcing, plastic purification processes, mold technologies, QC testing and extended warranties reveals differentiated tiers of real-world performance, lifespans and fading resistance.

Capped decking with ample recycled plastic content and smart wood fiber blending allows buyers to balance long-range durability, stability and sustainability for decades of ultralow maintenance backyard enjoyment within any budget range.

Peeling beyond the surface when selecting quality composite decking ensures better informed purchasing aligned with each customer’s unique priorities. Contact manufacturers of brands like Cali Bamboo, Everdeck and Dec-Tec to gain insight on their offerings.


Capping Layer Technology Of Composite Decking

Advanced capping is the process of wrapping composite decking boards in a thick, durable polypropylene or PVC protective shield:

What Makes Quality Capping So Important?

This resilient outer barrier provides enhanced protection against moisture infiltration, mold/mildew growth, environmental stains, chemical damage and UV fading/degradation of the internal structure over decades.

Types Of Protective Capping Materials Include:
  • Polypropylene Plastic Caps
  • PVC Caps
  • Acrylated Polymer Caps

Top performing composite decking features multi-toned capping replicating natural wood variations in color. This hides any underlying surface issues for beauty that lasts.

Benefits Of Utilizing Capped Composites:
  • Maintains consistent surface aesthetics
  • Resists chalking, yellowing and dirt absorption
  • Withstands scratches, dents and punctures
  • Allows diverse, nature-inspired color options

Capping makes composite decking both practical and gorgeous!

composite decking structre


Manufacturing Processes Of Composite Decking

Advanced manufacturing techniques enable the consistent fusion of wood fibers, plastics, minerals and pigments into durable exterior decking:

1. Extrusion Technology

Extrusion presses composite components through a die mold to create boards in one continuous piece up to 20 ft long. As material moves through the mold, the die shapes the cap layer, texture and sides simultaneously.

Benefits Of Extruded Construction:

  • Very fast production speed
  • Simple shape limitation
  • Excellent length options
  • Precision sizing control

Popular extruded decking comes from Trex, TimberTech Pro and MoistureShield.


2. Compression Molding Process

Compression molding uses extreme hydraulic pressure and intense heat to fuse composite materials within precisely crafted molds matching real wood shapes and grain details.

Benefits Of Compression Molded Decking:

  • Stunning true-to-life aesthetics
  • Multi-toned streaking possible
  • Unique custom plank shapes
  • Enhanced wood screwing/routing

TimberTech Legacy and Cali Bamboo offer molded composites with exotic natural beauty and capping.


3. Die Casting Manufacturing

Die casting uses permanent molds to inject composite materials under intense pressures to create part shape and details. The molds withstand high temps needed for precision casting run after run.

Benefits Of Die Casting Production:

  • Imparts intricate embossed wood grains
  • Allows realistic grooved planked
  • Resists mold degradation
  • Enables custom plank shapes

Everdeck and DecTec use proprietary die casting processes for achieving maximum realism and performance at fair prices by maximizing mold lifespans.



Core Composition Of Composite Decking

The internal core foundation of composite decking provides critical moisture resistance, shape stability and screw holding capability:

1. Wood-Plastic Composite Cores

Wood-plastic composites utilize a mixture of recycled wood fibers, plastics and binding agents to create a resilient, composite core.

Benefits Of Wood-Plastic Cores:

  • Lightweight for easier handling
  • Consistent all-weather stability
  • Allows traditional fastening
  • Added cushioning effect

MoistureShield and Everdeck make quality wood-plastic core decking suited for most applications.


2. Solid Polymer Cores

Solid polymer cores get produced using denser, heavyweight mixtures of recycled stone, plastics and binders to form a highly robust core structure locked inside protective capping.

Benefits Of Solid Polymer Cores:

  • Provides unmatched strength
  • Resists compression and distortion
  • Stays straighter in extreme temps
  • Handles static furniture loads

For the strongest composite decking, brands like Trex Transcend/Enhance utilize solid polymer cores.


3. Mineral-Enhanced Cores

Some brands tune core performance further by blending additional minerals into their wood-plastic or solid polymer foundations.

Benefits Of Mineral-Enhanced Cores:

  • Enhances surface scratch resistance
  • Adds hardness and rigidity
  • Improves thermal dimensional stability
  • Reduces end checking cracking

TimberTech Pro and Cali Bamboo infuse select lines with minerals for balanced results across metrics.



Coring Material Comparisons

Digging deeper into core composition reveals quality differences affecting durability, fade resistance and load ratings. Compare types utilized across brands along with cap layers, promising performance warranties and cost per square foot into your unique composite equation.

There are reasons certain composites like TimberTech PRO cost more – their material investments enduringly enhance already gorgeous decks. However, more budget friendly options like Everdeck strike a best value balance blending quality, beauty and affordability with their proprietary manufacturing technologies.

Decking Core


Matching Performance Expectations

With so many composite decking brands available now like Trex, TimberTech, Cali Bamboo, Everdeck etc, hone expectations around:

  • Cost Range Reality ● Years Desired Lifespan
  • Color Fading Acceptance ● Foot Traffic Reality
  • DIY Ability Confidence ● Environmental Priority

Browse manufacturer websites understanding capped decking with dense mineral core development sells for very valid reasons – their upfront investments provide differentiated performance over far longer periods, even decades.

However, more economical wood-plastic composite decking lines still perform admirably for buyers understanding realistic longevity between refreshes and willing to trade marginal early fades or scratches for sustainability. Their wise investments still transform backyards beautifully a fraction of top tier prices.

Know your requirements upfront when requesting samples from quality brands highlighted here and elsewhere. Confirm specs align with genuine performance needs. Few properly balanced trades between cost, longevity and aesthetics exist once installed so do diligent product research before finalizing your tailored composite decking selection.

Scroll to Top