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What Type of Decking Is Right For My Project?

Now that you have decided to build a new deck, the next step is deciding which type of decking is best for your project. Decking can be easily divided into three main categories: Hardwoods, Softwoods and Capstocks. Each category has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few “pros” and “cons” to using each type of decking:

Examples: Ipe, Tigerwood, Mahogany, Garapa, Cumaru

PROS: While many capstocks claim that they “look like real wood”, hardwoods are, in fact, real wood. The aesthetics of hardwoods such as Ipe or Tigerwood are really hard to compete with. They simply look beautiful. In addition, because of the density of the deckboards, they are very scratch resistant, and in many cases carry a class A fire rating.

CONS: When discussing hardwoods, there are two main disadvantages. The first is that because of the density, pre-drilling is required before installing the fasteners, which adds time to the installation. The second disadvantage is that unlike their capstock counterparts, hardwoods will change to a gray color over time unless they are refinished every few years.

Fasteners for Hardwood Decking: Pro Plug System, Ipe Clip, Tiger Claw Hidden Clips, Eb-Ty Hidden Clips, Headcote Colored Screws

Examples: Pressure Treated Pine, Redwood, Cedar

PROS: Softwoods, as their name states, are softer and less dense than most decking products. Because of that, generally pre-drilling for the fasteners is not required. In addition to the convenience factor, softwoods generally carry a price point much lower than hardwoods or capstocks.

CONS: Softwoods are very prone to scratching and splintering. In addition, the life expectancy of a softwood deck is significantly less than that of hardwoods, or capstocks.

Fasteners for Softwood Decking: Bugle Head Decking Screws, Ipe Clip, Tiger Claw Hidden Clips, GRK Fasteners, Headcote Colored Screws

Examples: Trex, Azek, Timbertech, Fiberon

PROS: Capstock Decking (encapsulated plastic decking) is generally touted as “maintenance free decking”. Because capstock decking does not actually contain any wood fibers, it has a very long life expectancy. In fact, many of the capstock decking manufacturers will warranty their product for 30+ years. In addition, while there may be minimal fading, generally capstocks maintain their color very well over the life of the deck.

CONS: The price point of capstock decking is high, especially compared to softwoods. Also, customers often complain that the darker colors of capstock decking are hot to the touch when in direct contact with the sun.

Fasteners for Capstock Decking: Pro Plug System, Ipe Clip, Tiger Claw Hidden Clips, Eb-Ty, Cortex

Recent Articles
Choosing The Right Decking
Do I Need to Pre-Drill?
How-to Fasten Azek Decking

View Complete List of Articles

Related Products
Ipe Clip
Pro Plug System for Azek
Cortex Plug System

Need More Information?
Bob Dey
Phone: 800-542-1979
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