If you have been considering constructing or replacing a deck on your property with composite decking, then you’ve probably wondered what the differences are between consumer-grade and professional-grade materials.
This article and video explore the main differences between the Trex Transcend line available at big box stores and Deckorator’s professional-level line (Voyage) of products.
Both products have multiple colors and board profiles available to suit your style and design needs. Trex’s Transcend line offers eight colors giving this line the win over Deckorators Voyage line with just six colors.
Trex Transcend Available Colors
Deckorators Voyage Available Colors
Look & Feel
When it comes to look and feel, Deckorators Voyage line takes the win, as expected as we compare a consumer line to a high-end professional line. The Deckorators board looks much more like a natural wood product and claims to be 30% more slip-resistant than its competitors.
Inside the Board
While these two boards may look and feel similar, the differences become clear when you examine their composition.
Trex’s Transcend line is a widely recognized consumer-grade board. It’s a wood-based composite (WBC) made from a mixture of poly, plastic, and wood components. The image on the left illustrates how these materials form the core of the deck board, protected by a plastic wrap.
In contrast, Deckorators decking is a mineral-based composite with no organic or perishable elements. Some professional composite decking options are constructed entirely from PVC, offering superior protection against water and moisture.
Deckorators is so confident in their product’s water resistance that they honor their warranty even when it’s fully submerged.
We conducted a four-day water test with samples of each board. As shown in the photos below, the Trex wood-based composite absorbs water, whereas Deckorators’ mineral-based product remains unaffected. Therefore, if your project is near water or in a marine environment, it’s advisable to avoid WBC materials.
Failure from Water & Moisture
Even in a non-marine environment, wood-based composite decking is subject to failure from moisture and water penetration from the weather. As mentioned earlier, these products have a layer of protective material over the board core. However, water can soak into the core material if it becomes damaged, scratched, or has unprotected cutoff ends. Below are some photos of Trex decking that has failed and absorbed moisture. Once the board becomes wet inside, freezing temperatures will cause a catastrophic failure and lead to the board becoming unserviceable and needing to be replaced.
So, Trex vs Deckorators? The decision comes down to affordability versus durability, especially if you’re doing a DIY project and looking to save money. You’ll find that wood-based composite materials are much lower cost than mineral-based or PVC materials. On the other hand, of course, over time. This material will break down sooner if you’re looking for durability. There’s nothing that can beat professional-grade material, and that will show over time.