Capped composite decking: what it is, and why you need it

Summer is in full swing, and the Fourth of July is right around the corner. As you plan that holiday party on the deck, take a minute to look around. Is yours a wooden deck? Is it faded, splintered, and sporting more than a few nail pops? Does it need to be refinished – again?

If the idea of replacing your tired, always-needs-something wood deck sets off fireworks in your head, consider capped composite decking. Unlike wood, capped composites won’t splinter, crack, or decay. They won’t fall victim to insect infestation, and never need sanding, staining, or refinishing.  In fact, an occasional soap-and-water bath is usually all that’s required to keep them looking like new. Plus, capped composites are exceptionally resistant to staining and fading.


Capped composites are light-years ahead of earlier, uncapped options

Composite decking (sometimes called wood-plastic composite, or WPC) is an eco-friendly alternative to wood decking. Whether capped or uncapped, WPC is made primarily from wood flour and recycled plastic polymers. The big difference is that capped products have a “cover” that provides added protection against the elements and everyday living. It’s an important distinction to note, because earlier generations of composite decking were uncapped. As a result, they were far more vulnerable to staining and fading. Of course, when we say cap or “cover” we don’t mean something that is added after the composite decking is made. In the case of Fiberon capped composite decking, the cap is bonded to the core during the manufacturing process. (More on that in a minute.)

All Fiberon WPC decking boards for the North American market are capped. They are made using mostly locally-sourced, pre- and post-consumer recycled content. The wood comes from lumber mill scraps while the plastic (polyethylene) polymers are recycled items such as shampoo and detergent bottles. Local sourcing reduces our carbon footprint as well as supports local economies. And of course, using recycled lumber prevents further deforestation and prevents unwanted materials from polluting the earth via incinerators or landfills.

Co-extrusion process creates strong, resilient boards with lasting good looks

So, how are capped composite deck boards made? At the Fiberon manufacturing plants in North Carolina and Idaho, the wood and polyethylene polymers are carefully blended to create a solid, dense core material. The core material is then co-extruded with a patent-pending, non-organic surface product we call PermaTech®. This is another important distinction to note. PermaTech is unique to Fiberon, and the reason why Horizon® decking, our most popular line, keeps its good looks year after year. PermaTech contains UV inhibitors, anti-oxidants, and a careful blend of color added at precisely the right time – a detail that gives Fiberon boards their rich color and dramatic, multi-chromatic streaking. PermaTech is fusion-bonded to the core board, creating a product that is highly durable, long lasting, and resistant to staining, fading, and relative impact.


Four-sided capping gives Horizon decking added versatility

Horizon decking is capped on four sides. In addition to enhanced durability and performance, four-sided capping makes the boards completely reversible. Why does that matter? Reversible boards offer several advantages over non-reversible boards; specifically, fewer board cuts and less material waste, as well as the ability to emboss different grain patterns on either side of the board, thus increasing design options and visual appeal. Plus, Horizon decking can be installed using hidden fasteners, which gives your deck a smooth, nail-free surface that’s easier underfoot and more like your indoor wood flooring.

Capped composite decking is the smart way to get a great-looking, long-lasting deck that can stand up to Friday night dinner parties, weekend celebrations, and so much more – especially if you opt for Fiberon composite decking with PermaTech surface technology. Declare your independence from high-maintenance wood decking.  Check out our full line of composite decking, railing, and accessories. We even have some fun design tools to help you create your ultimate outdoor space. And of course, Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Fiberon!