Composite Decking

Imagine a deck that stays beautiful year after year without sanding, staining, or worrying about splinters in bare feet. Unlike wood decking, which can warp, rot, fade and crack, composite decking is a low-maintenance decking material that will last for decades. This composite decking guide will outline the options for low-maintenance luxury you’ll get with a composite deck. As a decking and building materials supplier in Wichita, KS, Star Lumber & Supply carries popular composite decking brands and we’re well-versed in the benefits of a composite deck.

What is Composite Decking?

Composite decking, also known as wood-plastic composite (WPC), is manufactured from a mixture of natural and man-made materials. Typically, the composite material contains wood fiber, recycled plastic and some chemicals. Composite deck boards are made to mimic the look of real wood and often include a tint so there’s no need to stain it.

Valued for its longevity, composite decking lasts from 25 years to 50 years or more for high-end materials. Choosing quality products, ensuring proper installation and regular cleaning can help composite decking last longer.

Key Advantages

  • Long-lasting
  • UV-resistant
  • Durable
  • Resists rot
  • Doesn’t fade
  • Not susceptible to insect damage
  • Needs minimal maintenance
  • Low upkeep costs
  • Available in a variety of colors & finishes
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Composite boards are ready to use

Environmental Considerations

Composite decking is a sustainable deck material because it’s not only made with recycled materials, but the deck boards themselves can be recycled. The percentage of recycled material in composite decking boards varies by manufacturer, but it could be as much as 85% or more. There’s also no need to use harsh chemicals for stripping, staining or painting composite deck boards, since they’re already infused with color.

Types of Composite Decking

Capped vs. Uncapped

There are two basic options: capped wood composite and uncapped wood composite. Capped wood composite decking boards have an outer plastic shell so the wood fibers are protected from moisture. Uncapped wood composite decking boards, on the other hand, leave the wood fiber exposed to the elements so it’s possible they can develop mold and mildew.

Popular Composite Decking Brands

Deckorators: Known for its diverse color and texture composite deck options, and now the addition of mineral-based composite decking in its Voyage and Vault lines. This is a good choice for homeowners who want a high-end deck look with a variety of color mixes to choose from.

TimberTech: Offers a premium feel and the option for multi-width boards with its AZEK PVC decking line. TimberTech is a favorite choice because of its realistic wood grain patterns and fade resistance. This is a good option for homeowners who want a durable, low-maintenance deck.

Fortress Building Products: Made from bamboo and recycled plastics, emphasizes a light, strong composite decking product, particularly in its Infinity I-Series line. The company also offers a PVC line, APEX. This is a solid choice for homeowners who want strong, versatile decking.

Feature Comparison

FeatureDeckoratorsTimberTechFortress Building Products
Color OptionsWide variety (20+) including variegated and solid colorsExtensive selection (30+) with multiple collectionsLimited selection (10+)
Warranty25-year Limited Structural, 25-year Limited Stain & Fade25-year to 50-year Limited Product; 25-year Fade & Stain25-year Limited Residential Fade & Stain; Lifetime Limited Product
TextureVaries by collection: embossed wood grain, cathedral groove, etc.Varied textures: hand-scraped, brushed, wire-brushed, etc.Embossed wood grain, some with unique patterns (e.g., Infinity I-Series)
Price PointMid-range to high-endMid-range to high-endHigh-end

Choosing the Right Composite Decking for Your Home


As with other decking materials, you can find composite deck boards in a variety of price ranges. Although composite decking has a higher upfront cost than most wood decking options, its long lifespan and minimal maintenance needs makes it a solid investment. While wood decking needs to be stripped and refinished every 2-3 years, and warped or cracked boards will need to be replaced, composite deck boards don’t need any maintenance beyond regular cleaning.

Style and Design

You can find high-performance composite decking products in a wide range of styles, colors and textures to suit your home’s exterior and outdoor spaces. Whether you want more of a realistic wood look or a solid color deck, a composite deck offers endless options to create the outdoor living space you’re dreaming of.

Weather Resistance

Composite decking is a popular choice because it stands up to harsh weather conditions like we experience here in Kansas. The deck boards won’t warp, twist or fade with exposure to heat, cold and moisture. In fact, many composite decking manufacturers offer warranties of up to 25 years on the product and against fading and staining. Keep in mind, if your deck is in full sun, composite deck boards get warmer than wood.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

Installing composite decking yourself can be an option if you’re an experienced DIYer looking to save money. However, if you use a hidden fastening system, the joist spacing and alignment will need to be more precise so we recommend hiring a professional to build your deck.

Maintenance Tips for Your Composite Deck

Low-maintenance composite decking only needs occasional cleaning. Spraying down the deck boards or scrubbing them with soapy water is all it takes to keep them looking great year after year. To prevent staining, be sure to wipe up any spills. And, it’s a good idea to use a thick rubber mat under your grill if you’ll be gilling on your composite deck.

Your Low-Maintenance Composite Deck Awaits

Overall, composite decking is a long-lasting investment that’s comfortable on bare feet, easy to clean and needs virtually no maintenance. If you’re in the Wichita, KS, area, stop by Star Lumber’s showroom to see our composite decking samples and get expert advice from our design consultants for your deck project. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online.

Still trying to decide which decking material is right for your project? Our decking buying guide can help!