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Thermory vs. Composite Decking

Date: May 17, 2018 Category: Design Trends

When it comes time to build or rebuild a deck, homeowners have more options than ever before. With the number of products on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and make an incomplete choice.

The choice between a composite deck and a real-wood deck is a combination of priorities, expectations and knowledge. Let’s break it down so you’re armed with all the information you need to make the right choice for your needs.

Thermory Decking Isn’t Like Other Wood

If you research the difference between wood decking and composite decking, it’s easy to come away thinking that composites will offer more durability.

But Thermory makes expertly thermally-modified wood. All of our current products undergo the same thermal modification process – Benchmark, Rebel Series, all of ’em. That modification process results in real-wood products that have incredible moisture-resistance, leading to an easy 25+ year rot resistance rating. Other wood decking products simply don’t match up to Thermory. Our modification process delivers wood that far exceeds standard wood decking in quality, durability and consistency.

How Does Thermory Stack Up To Composites?

So we know that Thermory blows other wood decking products out of the water in long-term performance. But composites were developed specifically to overcome many of the issues with wood. So how does Thermory compare to composites?

Weather Resistance

In general, composites lack the structural integrity of wood. Composites, as their name suggests, are created from a mix of plastic and wood fibers. Held together by adhesives, they are simply not as strong as natural wood fibers. Extended exposure to rain and sunlight weaken composite decks over time as the adhesive wears, causing unsightly and potentially dangerous delamination, splits or breaks. Thermory decking offers drastically reduced moisture resistance, so the rain/sun cycle wreaks less havoc. In fact, sunlight hastens the Thermory color evolution, getting you to beautifully aged silver in less time.

Color

The Thermory color evolution is a unique journey. Over time, a Thermory deck will transform from its original natural-wood color to a breathtaking weathered silver. This transformation typically happens over six months to a year, but the speed depends on your climate and weather conditions. If you want your wood to stay the color it is, periodically oiling it will maintain the beautifully consistent color that’s resulted from our natural modification process. Composites, on the other hand, tend to fade over time and maintaining a consistent color across all boards and in all weather conditions is a challenge. Most composites come in a very limited number of colors, ranging from vaguely wood-like to one-dimensional grey. While a very high-end composite may bear a passing resemblance to wood, at the end of the day, only real wood gives you the aesthetic of wood. Not everyone desires that look, of course, and composites are a superior choice if what you’re looking for is a deck that looks like plastic.

Rot Resistance

A common point of comparison between composite decks and wood decks is rot resistance. Composite-enthusiasts are quick to point out that wood decks will only last 10-12 years. But remember – Thermory isn’t like other wood. It’s better. Thermory Benchmark Ash comes with 25+ year rot resistance rating, Thermory Benchmark Pine comes with a 20+ year rot resistance rating. For Thermory Drift products, those numbers are the same. And unlike composites, Thermory doesn’t require additional treatments or coatings to achieve this rating – it’s simply a natural result of our thermal modification process. And rot-resistance ratings matter, because materials that absorb moisture are a breeding ground for mold, then rot, then “uh oh, we need a new deck!” So while some composites may have comparable rot resistance ratings, make sure you know what you’re buying and if it requires additional treatments. Thermory doesn’t.

Sustainability

The lumber industry takes some flak for destruction of rainforests. And you know what? Some of that is deserved. But there are many companies out there who take their responsibility to the planet very seriously, and Thermory is among them. Our wood is sourced with reliably responsible methods. Most of our softwood comes from Scandinavia, an area known for having the most responsible forestry practices in the word. Our hardwood comes reputable and reliable mills in North American and Europe. Deciduous forests are naturally-renewing, meaning responsible lumbering does them no harm. And there’s more to sustainability than sourcing. Thermory products are modified in chambers in Europe (Estonia!), and shipped to the US. If you’re not totally in-the-know about fuel efficiencies, here’s a quick fact: shipping by water is the single most fuel-efficient method. It’s more than twice as efficient as freight trains and nearly 10 times as efficient as 18-wheeler trucks. Because of Thermory’s innovative installation solutions (read on to learn more about those!), installation leaves almost no wasted product. Composites boast the use of recycled materials, preventing plastic from ending up in landfills. We think that’s great, but we also think a world less dependent on plastic and more in tune with our natural, renewable resources (like non-tropical wood!) is a better solution. Visit the Thermory Footprint page to learn more about our commitment to sustainability.

Installation

Thermory is a producer of thermally-modified wood products, but we’re also a company born out of a desire to solve the industry’s biggest problems. Thermory will go head-to-head on installation with any competitor and come out on top. In fact, installation is one of our proudest solutions. Because composite boards tend to come in limited lengths, profiles and sizes, installation can result in a large amount of wasted product. Composites also have very specific joist and spacing requirements, and if you want a hidden clip installation, those clips typically need to come from a 3rd party.

Thermory manufactures our own hidden clip system, and even better, our exclusive JEM joint system saves time (and materials) by eliminating the need for each seam to rest on a joist. Beyond that, our exclusive PaCS installation system is the easiest, fastest installation system on the planet.

When it comes to installation, Thermory comes out on top every time. Nice try, every other decking company on earth.

Warranties

There are a lot of ways to compare Thermory products to composite decking products, and most of the time Thermory will emerge victorious. We make a truly unrivaled product, and we believe in it 100% over any other comparable product on the market. You may be asking yourself, then, “why doesn’t Thermory offer warranties as proof of quality, like most competitors do?” In response, we challenge you to read the fine print of the last product warranty you received. Warranties are designed to protect the manufacturer, not the customer. Did you know that power washing a composite deck typically voids the warranty?

Thermory is committed to our customers. If our product was installed correctly and fails, we’ll find a solution. If you call us, we’ll call you back. If you need something special, well, we love a challenge.

Foot-Friendliness

Do you love burning the bottom of your feet on a hot deck? No? Does your dog love the feeling of scorched paws? Composite decks get pretty hot. At Thermory, we think being barefoot on your own backyard deck is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures. Our decks are feet-friendly, with a high solar reflectivity rating that means no hot feet, scorched deck-side plants, or fear of going barefoot.

Summary

If you’re thinking of building a new deck, you’ve got a lot of options. While composites offer some great features, Thermory products offer the same solutions, plus many additional benefits. It’s your choice, of course. But we don’t think it’s difficult one.