What type of decking do I have?

Often we receive questions on decking material types. Homeowners may not be sure what type of decking material they actually have on their deck. The contractor may not have shared that information, or maybe they moved into the house and were not provided this information from the previous owner.

Here is a quick guide on how you can determine what type of decking you have.

As always, if you are still not sure, please feel free to fill out the form below or give us a call directly 888.219.9411.

PVC vs composite decking info

Composite Decking:

Composite decking is a mixture of wood fiber, plastic, and binding agent. These ingredients are pressed together to form a decking that is denser, stronger, and heavier than wood decking.

Composite decks are made with a variety of organic materials and plastics. A good indication that your deck material is composite, would be looking closely at your boards and seeing small specs of organic material.

On composite decking black mold is a common occurrence, you will see black spotting as you see here attaching to the organic material of the deck. We recommend our Wood & Composite Bundle, which includes a half-gallon of our Wood & Composite Cleaner and a half-gallon of our Resist Mist to provide a barrier coating to your deck boards which will prevent algae and mold regrowth.

Some composite deck surfaces can be relatively easily scratched removing the deck material or gauging the boards, especially when the deck boards are older. Overtime composite boards can start pitting (or checking) where the deck board surface becomes rough due to the degrading of the organic composite and plastics within the board.

When you look at the end of a composite board you can see how the organic material and plastics are mixed together.

What we recommend:

MAX Defender Ready To Use Web
Composite & Wood Deck Cleaner (Half Gallon)
PVC vs composite decking info

PVC Decking:

PVC decking is composed entirely of polyvinyl chloride and contains no wood. PVC decking is a more expensive option in the decking industry, but it provides significant fade and stain resistance and lower maintenance requirements compared to other products.

Look closely at the surface of your deck. You will see a smoother more consistent texture on the surface of a PVC board. You will also not see organic material on the surface of a PVC board.

With the absence of organic materials on the surface of PVC decking, you will not have the same mold concerns that you might have with a composite board. However, you may experience algae or dirt on your deck surface that can be easily removed with our Professional Grade Cleaner Concentrate or our Ready to Use Multi-Purpose Cleaner. The algae and dirt is laying on the surface rather than being attached like mold are to a composite board.

The end of the PVC board is going to appear as a solid plastic without organic material being able to be seen.

We hear common complaints from owners of PVC decks, about PVC deck boards, scratching and scuffing. We have found this is actually revealing the natural color of your deck because weathering is being removed by the downward pressure of the force coming down on the board.

Over time your PVC deck can start looking chalky and weathered (tired, faded) due to the elements outdoors.

How do you know if your PVC deck is weathered? Start out with dry deck boards, then wet the deck boards with a garden hose. If there appears to be a difference in color between the dry and wet boards, your deck boards may be weathered. See our E2 PVC Revitalizer as a solution to weathered PVC deck boards. Be sure to clean your boards prior to the revitalization and application of the E2.

The beauty of PVC deck boards is that you can revitalize the look with our E2 PVC Revitalizer.

Ready To Use (RTU) Multi-Purpose Cleaner (Half Gallon)
PVC Decking Close up

Still not sure? Submit a picture and we will figure it out for you!

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Sample pictures of your decking. Please take a closeup image of your decking material. You may also provide us with a closeup of the end of a board (the cut end) if available.
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