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Lovewell Decking Materials: What to Expect

When researching companies to build a new deck for your home, there can be a lot to take in!

Design, price, craftsmanship, availability, and warranty all play a key role in the decision to hire a company to build your new deck. Then of course there is also the issue of what materials to choose!

Lovewell stopped building wood decks long ago. Wood decks can be done well and can last awhile when maintained properly. But when most people come to us, it’s because their wood deck is old, rotting, splintering, and has become an eyesore, if not dangerous! Either it hasn’t been taken care of well, or, often, it’s just the nature of wood, time has taken its toll and a better solution is needed.

A rotted wood deck

When working with Lovewell, the options you have for a deck are pretty straight forward. We don’t offer 50 different decking choices. The reason is because we have been in this industry for 45 years now. We know what works and what doesn’t.

Our goal is to offer the highest quality product paired with our belief in creating low maintenance outdoor living. You spend less time taking care of your outdoor space, and more time truly enjoying it!

When we say we don’t do wood decking, the assumption by many is that we then build our deck of composite decking. Composite decking is the buzz word that was most prevalent for a long time when looking for an alternative to traditional wood. However, we have been using ‘AZEK’ decking for many years now. AZEK decking is not a composite, but rather an advanced polymer, PVC deck material.

To understand the difference, we are going to dig deep to understand a couple of things – the evolution of the brand that is TimberTech AZEK, and some technical details behind the two!

Evolution of the TimberTech & AZEK brands

The Cliff Notes version here is that TimberTech and AZEK were two separate companies, both highly regarded and successful in their product offerings. TimberTech was always known for their composite decking, while AZEK focused on premium PVC exterior products like trim, mouldings and decking.

A little over a decade ago, AZEK’s parent company acquired TimberTech and for awhile the two remained separate brands, keeping their products under their respective names. Slowly the company has started to cross lines by bringing their AZEK decking over to the TimberTech side and focusing the AZEK name for their exterior lines of siding, trim, and moulding.

Several TimberTech and Azek logos through the years

This just means that the TimberTech umbrella is going to have product lines for both their original composite material as well as the PVC decking that originally fell under the AZEK line. In terms of our product here, you may see or hear it referred to as TimberTech, AZEK or TimberTech AZEK. It may be a bit confusing but it’s just due to this evolution of the combined brands.

Moving forward, the branding is going to “TimberTech Composite” and “TimberTech Advanced PVC”. TimberTech Advanced PVC being the material we use here – still the same as when it was under the AZEK name.

Composite Decking vs PVC Decking: Let’s Get Technical

It is helpful to understand the history of manufactured decking, its origins and advances over the years. This is mainly a story of two plastics, polyvinyl and polyethylene.

Polyethylene is the base polymer component of nearly all composite decking. This soft plastic is most familiar to consumers for its use in milk jugs and grocery bags. To make it into decking, it is heated, mixed with wood fibers, colors and stabilizers and extruded into a board shape. In the early years of the composite decking polyethylene was a very popular choice as it was readily available, easy to obtain and extremely cheap.

While it lacked structural integrity needed for a manufactured lumber product this was easily remedied by mixing the product with wood fibers. The wood fibers helped it to have a more natural appearance, but it was a trade off as first-generation composites retained some of the properties of wood, i.e fading in the sun, staining and molding. The decking did not rot however, and as with most things in life, this was a compromise.

The base polymer component of TimberTech Advanced PVC is polyvinyl. This plastic is most familiar to consumers as PVC plumbing and vinyl siding. To make this into decking, it is heated, mixed with colors, stabilizers, and fade inhibitors and extruded into a board.

As a base polymer, vinyl was much more expensive than polyethylene, but it had much better properties for outdoor use. It was more resistant to fading and staining and when cleaned it looked brand new. While these qualities were very desirable to consumers, vinyl lacked the wood fillers of composite decking and as such, it was less natural in appearance.

As with most products, technology progressed, and improvements were made. For traditional composites, the fade and stain problems were overcome with co-extrusion. The base polyethylene with exposed wood fibers was “capped” with an improved quality polyethylene layer that had more fade and stain resistant chemicals. This allowed them to achieve UV performance close to that of traditional vinyl decking.

For traditional vinyl decking, the development of foaming agents allowed vinyl to be extruded, filled with tiny air bubbles. This created “Cellular PVC” and allowed vinyl deck boards to have a nearly identical shape, weight and density to traditional wood products. It also dramatically improved its looks! Vinyl was also co extruded and engineers learned how to mix colors, emboss and brush the product so that it resembled real wood. They improved the fade, stain and scratch performance by adding acrylics to this outer layer. No longer did vinyl technology have to take a back seat to composite when it came to its resemblance to real wood.

Why PVC Decking?

With the advancement of technology, composite is certainly not a bad product. We have used both composite and PVC decking and found over years of experience that if we wanted to offer our customers the best, then the choice was PVC. The chart, as provided by TimberTech by AZEK, shows you the key difference.

TimberTech Composite

  • Durable: Won’t splinter, crack or peel

  • Low Maintenance: No sanding, staining or sealing ever

  • Moisture-Resistant: Protected from mold, mildew and rot

  • Fade-Resistant: Maintains its rich color for decades

  • Warranty: Covered by 30- and 25-year warranties depending on the collection

  • Sustainable: Made in the USA from 80% recycled material

TimberTech Advanced PVC

  • Super Durable: Highly moisture resistant, won’t splinter, crack, peel or rot

  • Low Maintenance: No sanding, staining or sealing ever

  • Fade-Resistant: Maintains its rich color for decades

  • ·Barefoot Friendly: Up to 30 degrees cooler and 40% better traction over the competition

  • Fade-Resistant: Maintains its rich color for decades

  • Industry Leading Warranty: Covered by 50-year Fade & Stain and Lifetime Limited Product Warranties!

  • Sustainable: Made in the USA from 60% recycled material

(Source: TimberTech by AZEK)

TimberTech Azek deck landing

As you can see, TimberTech Advanced PVC is a better product. It’s reflected in the warranty as well as the fade and stain performance guaranteed by TimberTech. We want our customers to LOVE their product for as long as they own them. Success for us and for our customers has proven to be TimberTech Advanced PVC!

Do you have questions about our decking materials? Interested in getting a free deck estimate for your home? Contact us today for more information!

For Deck Installation in Cedar Rapids, IA & Surrounding Areas: 319-351-9996

For Deck Installation in Davenport, IA, Rock Island, IL or the surrounding Quad City areas: 563-391-7025

For Deck Installation in Iowa City, Tiffin, North Liberty: 319-351-9996

large second story deck with seating area, custom grill and dining area


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