The Azek vs.Wood Conundrum

March 24th

What materials should I use to build my deck?

It’s always tough to decide what materials to use when building. There are a lot of variables to weigh and the base material is an important one.  The main decision that you have to make is wood vs composite.  Although most people build out of wood, it’s becoming more popular to build Azek decks.


AZEK is a PVC-based product which has several big advantages:

  • It’s basically maintenance free
  • It’s certainly easier to clean than wood
  • There’s no staining involved
  • It lasts a long, long time (which could be good or bad depending on your green-tendencies)
  • Hidden screws — some find this more aesthetically appealing


On the downside:

  • It’s pretty expensive (2 times the price of your standard pressure treated deck)
  • It’s riskier to work with if you’re doing it yourself — since a bad cut could cost you $100! And might result in a work-delay since you’d have to order a replacement piece if you make too many  “bad cuts”.
  • Some of the darker shades of Azek can get pretty hot to the touch — which translates into painful bare footsteps in the summer
  • It’s tricker to repair.  Once it’s put together, if you need to get under the deck for any reason – it’s much more painful than a wood deck.


The majority of my customers are still building out of wood (both pressure treated and cedar — but that’s a post for another day!).  Wood is always a great option for a deck:

  • It’s less expensive
  • It feels a little nicer underfoot and to the touch
  • You can create a custom look with stain
  • It’s more forgiving in the planning stages – since making a “bad cut” is less costly and it’s easy enough to procure a replacement piece.


The biggest real downside to wood is lifespan — a well-built wood deck will last 20-25 years with good maintenance.  Which really, should be ample.  By that time you’ll be ready for something new, won’t you?  Splinters are also a consideration — but a well-maintainted deck shouldn’t cause much suffering.  Another negative on the wood side for do-it-yourself-ers is the non-uniformity of boards – a problem you don’t have to deal with when you’re building with Azek.


Overall, it really just comes down to personal preference — and often budget has a large influence on deck material.  But whatever your inclination — I’d be happy to assist you in your decision.


Contact me if you’d like to have a conversation about it.  We’d be happy to come and discuss it.  Email us at


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