Decking Material Basics - Azek vs. BamDeck

Your deck is the ultimate in outdoor fun. A deck can be the kids playground, the outdoor kitchen, a family gathering place,  a garden, the pool deck and that's just to name a few of the many fantastic ways you can take advantage of a wooden deck or patio. Today's modern decking materials are much more than just basic wood. Plastics, resins, wood flour and a host of other materials are often used separately or in conjunction with each other to create the ultimate in long lasting decking materials.

But with so many different materials on the market today, it's easy to see why choosing the right product for your deck can be difficult at best. That's why narrowing down the field and concentrating on a specific material can help keep your many choices in check. Alternative materials like plastic and wood flour composites are becoming the new norm in the mainstream of composite decking. But look out, a new competitor is on the horizon—bamboo and PVC. Use this comparative guide to see which material best suits your tastes as well as your budget.


BamDeck is the ultimate in ecofriendly decking materials. Made from 100 percent recycled materials, it is predominantly made with 60 percent recycled bamboo fiber and 40 percent recycled plastic. That means this green product is eligible for LEED certification points. BamDeck is termite resistant and impervious to most weather conditions. It also comes with nine distinct installation variations to ensure you get the style you're looking for in a green decking product.

Because bamboo and plastic are literally found in every corner of the globe, shipping costs are reduced and environmental impact is lessened. Bamboo is also easier on the planet than wood byproducts because bamboo reaches maturity in just four years compared to the average pine tree that takes 7-10 years to reach cutting age. Bamboo and plastic composites prevent thousands of tons of waste materials from ending up in our landfills or incinerators each year.

Using hidden fasteners to conceal screws, BamDeck offers a smooth deck with clean and consistent lines. It comes in four colors: natural, coffee, caramel and slate. To make up for the limited color selection, BamDeck offers two impressed patterns to vary deck styling options smooth and ridged.

While BamDeck's color and style selection is certainly limited, it makes up for it in hardness, durability and strength. Compared to other composite materials using a third party to verify ATSM standards, BamDeck was twice as hard as other composite decking and four times as strong. Burn and smoke tests reveal comparatively better numbers than other composites. Water absorption rates are much higher than other composites, so butt and joint spacing must remain uniform.

Best of all, BamDeck isn't just the only material you can buy that is made from composite bamboo/plastic materials. Structural lumber, affectionately named LumBoo is capable of supporting just about any weight or decking structure. Using laminate engineered technology, LumBoo uses 100 percent bamboo fibers and low VOC resins to compress materials into just about any length and thickness, allowing your bamboo deck to be made completely from bamboo from the ground up. From decking to plywood to laminate beams, Cali Bamboo offers a complete line of decking products for the ultimate in bamboo decking.


Although BamDeck offers one of the toughest and strongest decking materials on the market, it doesn't take well to staining. Trees, leaves, dirt, sand and a thousand other things can happen to a deck everyday causing instant staining that can bleed through paints, stains and sealants for life. Azek offers a truly unique decking material that is nearly impervious to staining. Azek can take spills from wine, tannin from tree leaves and even grease from your barbecue grill—and still come out stain free every time.

While the formula for Azek decking is a well-guarded trade secret, its basic molecular structure is similar to a PVC plastic polymer. Being neither a composite nor a wood product, it contains no recycled materials, but is guaranteed to last a lifetime. And because it's similar to vinyl or PVC, it's one of the easiest deck materials to maintain. A wash with a high pressure hose and a soap solution is almost guaranteed to remove any stains. But what's really great about this durable plastic polymer is that it doesn't scratch or gouge like conventional wood or composites do.

Azek decking comes in 13 different colors, allowing for a wide variety of colors and design options. But besides decking, Azek has railing systems that complement the deck boards in six attractive colors and three unique styling options—colonial, Victorian and contemporary classic.

Options abound with Azek products. Conventional decking uses a typical spacing pattern to achieve the conventional look of a 5/4 rounded edge decking board. But Azek takes it to the next level and offers a tongue and groove decking board. Azek Porch uses the same materials as Azek deck but allows for a tight pattern and classic look of the American front porch. This 1x4 tongue and groove decking can be used under roof cover or in direct contact with the weather for the ultimate in unconventional deck design.

Azek goes the extra mile by creating even more great Azek products. Azek Trim offers quality trim materials impervious to any weather condition without splitting, warping or cracking. It can be cut using conventional tools and worked just like wood. But unlike wood, Azek Trim can be heated molded to create curves and arches for a unique and maintenance free trim on any structure.

Azek Molding products are the perfect complement to any Azek Trim. Taking the place of wood, Azek can be heat formed and laminated to any curved shape or molding that can be mitered into wood. With a combination of all four unique Azek products, your entire deck and home's exterior can be protected using a lifetime guaranteed material that requires little maintenance and will still look brand new for years to come.

While Azek is long lasting and durable, BamDeck is a recycled and strong material. Both are moderately priced compared to conventional wood products, so shipping plays the biggest factor in pricing differences. Depending upon how far away you are from their limited warehouses, you may find yourself paying more for one material than the other.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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