When researching low maintenance decking materials there are a few important things to consider and compare. Even though there are over a hundred composite deck brands currently on the market we would recommend limiting your search to companies that have a current engineering report. Many local building departments require that a manufacture has one of these reports to provide testing data for their products in order to issue permits. Another important factor to consider is local availability. Some of these products are only availble in certain regional markets. It is best to find a material that is stocked at a local lumberyard. This will make returns and future purchasing much more convenient.
Most low maintenance materials come with a 10 to 25 year limited warranty. It is a good idea to review the warranty policy to see what is covered before making your final decision. Comparing pricing is always important when trying to choose the best product to meet your budget. Many low maintenance decking brands offer a range of products at different price points. You can consult the websites or your local dealer for details of how price relates to appearance and performance. You can often pick up samples of materials from your local lumberyard or order them online. This is a good idea to do some practical testing at home. You can see how easily the surface can be scratched with a key or stained with some greese or ketchup. Some materials tend to have color fade issues more than others. If your deck will be subject to intense sun with little shade you may want to see if you can find a finished project or outdoor display to visit that has been exposed to the elements for a few years as a part of your research process.