More Exotic Deck Materials to Consider

If you're looking for a deck material other than wood or Ipe, more exotic deck materials include composite, capstock, PVC, and ASA.

In an earlier post, we talked about the pros and cons of two very popular decking materials—pressure-treated wood and Ipe, an exotic hardwood. However, these are certainly not the only two decking materials on the market.

If you’re worried about using wood because of drawbacks like splinters, rot, and the somewhat high level of maintenance, there are plenty of alternatives to consider. Here are a few ideas.


More Exotic Deck Materials



If you’re looking for a reasonably priced synthetic material, Composite is the way to go. Made from a blend of wood fibers, wood flour, and plastic, Composite typically has the lowest cost per square foot of any synthetic decking material, and it has a longer life span and requires less maintenance than wood. Many homeowners also appreciate that the material is relatively resistant to fading and scratching, making their decks look new for longer.

On the other hand, things like food splatter and sunscreen can leave permanent stains on this material if not cleaned immediately, and mold and mildew can sometimes seep into the interior of the boards. If you choose this material, you will need to be prepared to clean it regularly.

Our top recommendation for a composite brand is Trex. This environmentally-friendly manufacturer creates their decking material from a blend of recycled materials, including reclaimed wood, sawdust, and plastic. Their newer generation composites have a protective shell, which helps to keep the material from staining or fading.

The board-for-board cost is more than for wood, but Trex decking material is incredibly durable and requires little more maintenance than an occasional pressure wash, so you’ll likely save money on upkeep in the long run.



Want to do away with the risks of rot, mold, and mildew completely? PVC doesn’t have any of these problems because it’s an entirely synthetic material made from plastic resin. Fortunately, this decking material can be designed to resemble wood without the maintenance, scratching, or splintering.

Unfortunately, this material can’t claim to be environmentally-friendly since it’s completely synthetic. For some people, though, it ends up being a good choice because it is long-lasting and doesn’t need to be replaced as often, somewhat minimizing the environmental impact as a result.

If you’re looking for a good PVC brand, we would recommend Azek. This decking has great longevity, is highly stain- and scratch-resistant, and is comparable in price to Ipe. Azek has several different collections that give you a wide range of colors to choose from, and those colors shouldn’t significantly fade over time. Even on hot days, Azek decks are cooler to the touch than wood, especially if you choose one of their lighter deck colors.



This material is actually a new hybrid of composite and PVC, consisting of plastic with a wood fiber core surrounded by PVC or vinyl. It combines some of the best qualities of both the primary materials it is made from—it doesn’t fade, stain, or scratch, it’s low maintenance, and it’s relatively inexpensive (it costs less than PVC). Since it’s made from 95% recyclable materials, it’s also relatively environmentally friendly.

The main thing to keep in mind with this material is that it still has a wood core, meaning it shouldn’t be placed too close to the ground since the moisture can cause mold and mildew to seep in. If you’re planning to build a raised deck, this shouldn’t be a problem.



Think of ASA as the premium version of capstock. It actually doesn’t contain any wood but can still have a natural wood look without the concern of fading, staining, or scratching. It has a long life span, but it’s also the most expensive material of the four described here, meaning it’s best for those who plan to stay in their homes for a long time.

If you’re still trying to decide what decking material is best for you, don’t hesitate to talk to Sea Island Builders.


Kitchen Renovation: 5 Tips for Purchasing a Kitche...
Team Spotlight: Steve Herlong