While the first composite decking materials were not up to par, the new, more natural looking products are something to consider for your next deck renovation project.

In spring, homeowners’ thoughts naturally seem to turn to outdoor living projects. These renovation projects may be relatively minor – such as creating an outdoor sitting area around a fire pit – or more major – such as building a multi-level outdoor deck that connects your home to a gracious outdoor living space. What all of these projects have in common is that homeowners want to spend more of their free time enjoying these new spaces and less of their time maintaining them.

Not so very long ago, when we began to suggest using maintenance-free products for exterior deck projects, some clients looked at us a little askance. That was mainly because while the concept of enjoying a deck without having to worry about the accompanying annual maintenance chores sounded great on paper, the aesthetic choices weren’t quite up to par.

Fortunately, that has changed for the better. Makers of composite decking materials have bettered their manufacturing processes and improved their designs to gain business in what is becoming a competitive field. While the first composite decking materials just looked, well, fake, these new products have more natural looking colors, patterns and textures.

TAMKO®, for example, offers an Envision line that realistically mimics the look of genuine wood. It features distinctive wood grain patterns and variegated shades within the same plank that genuinely look (at least from an acceptable distance) like a real hardwood plank.

AZEK® has focused on bringing a beautiful range of diverse colors to market. They recently introduced an English Walnut, Coastline (a rustic weathered gray) and Weathered Teak. The company’s wide diversity of hues – ranging from a rich dark Espresso Sequoia to a coastal Whitewash Cedar – allow homeowners to create a deck that matches their home’s style. Plus, the colors give deck designers the freedom to create bold, intricate or subtle designs and see them come to life beautifully.

Yet function remains the primary reason why so many homeowners and qualified, professional contractors continue to choose these products. Industry pioneer Trex® remains on the cutting edge of function with two great innovations that homeowners crave. Its RainEscape system literally keeps the spaces under an elevated deck out of the rain, allowing homeowners to enjoy more useable space in any weather. Trex’s CustomCurve technology allows qualified installers to bend boards on-site in virtually any curve they can envision, allowing for beautiful custom creations that would be exceedingly difficult, costly and time consuming to construct from real wood.

So no matter what the size of shape or your next deck, consider a composite decking material to make it last longer and with less maintenance.