Ipe vs. Composite vs. PVC vs. Cedar: Which Decking is Best?

on the build show today it looks like

we're doing an infomercial that actually

we're gonna be doing some real-world

deck testing I've got four common deck

boards here and we're gonna put them

through a series of tests the things

that happen on your deck on an everyday

basis things like spills and scratches

and stains today's video is sponsored by

our forensic Azek let's get going

on the build show today real-world deck

testing we're gonna put these four

common deck boards through a series of

tests and see how they're really going

to perform in your backyard so let me

show you the four that we're working

with number one we're gonna be using

cedar now cedar is a softwood used all

over the country beautiful wood it

Gray's out really nicely but in this

case we wanted to give it a little bit

of resistance when we got into the stain

testing portion so we put one coat of

sickens on that next

IPE I've used a lot of IPE over the

years if you're not familiar with that

it is a tropical hardwood extremely

dense very very resistant to decay and

rot and we put one coat of oil on this

as well in IPE oil next we're going to

be using timber tech this is a composite

wood and if you're not familiar with

this it's a mix of both wood and plastic

HDPE specifically and there's a lot of

recycled content in this but this is

what's considered a capped composite

meaning there's a virgin polyethylene

cap all the way around that timber Tech

which is going to give it some

additional resistance in these tests and

then the last board here is a zyk now

ASIC is a cellular PVC product the first

thing we're going to do here is stain

test so let's get going on that okay the

first test stains let's see what some

common foods that you're gonna be eating

on your backyard deck are gonna due to

these four common deck boards so first

we're gonna start with these guys right

here catch-up and mustard you know

you're using these at every party in the

back of your deck invariably somebody's

gonna spill these so first we hit

mustard and we gave a nice puddle on

each one of these boards next we moved

on to catch-up and same thing we know we

left a nice little puddle there okay

next up I didn't spare any expenses I

didn't bring the box wines from home I

stopped and got the good wine from the

store to splash on these deck boards now

a splash of wine on a deck my

expectation is we're gonna see some

differences between these so we splashed

a little bit on each one of these and by

the way I brought in a fourth piece or

pardon me a fifth piece as well I

brought a control sample of some

unfinished cedar I just flipped over

this side that had the sickens on it and

on the backside I hit the red wine and

then last is gonna be the burger and I

think this is the one that I've seen on


in law's deck the most when it comes to

stayin äj--

so we took some some regular old

hamburgers from the local shop flip the

patty side down and pop out in each one

of these including the unfinished cedar

now here's the way I did though I didn't

want to just wipe these up immediately I

didn't forget was necessarily a fair

test so I moved on to the scratch test

and then we're gonna come back and wipe

these off later so next let's talk about

scratching so scratching this can happen

certainly under construction but I think

also moving deck furniture around is a

typical place where you might find a

scratch let's see what a screw does for

these now I lined up all four boards

together so that I could try to give a

consistent pressure with my thumb and

made a series of four or five scratches

across here no shock that the cedar gave

the most deep and impressionable scratch

the really the most noticeable soft wood

pretty normal that you're gonna see it

scratch pretty easily

IPE you know super dense super hardwood

you were able to get a small scratch on

there but really not much at all and

then the timber tech in the Azek I'll be

honest they surprised me a little bit

they were much harder and much more

dense than I expected them to be now

we've made a scratch across the grain on

the timber Tech in the Azek and they

scratched about the same as what I


maybe slightly more than the IPE but way

way less than the cedar now here's an

interesting tip for you though the ASIC

rep was here earlier today and showed me

that you can actually fix a scratch on

the Azek and I didn't know this because

it's got some memory to it if you apply

heat to a scratch depending on the size

of scratch of course if it's a more

minor scratch you can actually get rid

of it and so I did some testing on that

I was shocked to find out you actually

could we took a heat gun and we heat it

up we actually let it preheat for about

two minutes on the very highest setting

and the exact people tell me it needs to

get to like 850 degrees but here's the

key you got to move that heat quickly

and you want to keep it about two inches

from the deck board don't stay there in

fact I practiced on a scrap board first

and I was able to burn through it by

accident so I knew that I needed to keep

my wand moving that tip of that heat gun

but check this out I mean you move that


you can across that scratch I was

impressed you could really make it just

about disappear not perfect but sure is

gonna diminish the look of that scratch

without a zach and a heat gun again

practice on a scratch on a spare board

don't don't go right to your deck or

you've got a scratch and do it right in

the middle your deck because you can

damage that with too much heat okay now

about an hour later we came back to that

stain test and I think this is a much

more real world if everything's left on

that deck for an hour that's gonna give

it time for to soak in and cause that

damage and first let's start with the

cedar I took the burghers away first and

then I started wiping from there and

right away you could tell obviously on

the unfinished cedar we got we got a

problem I mean that that red wine

absolutely stained and I think that's

gonna be really hard to get out the

burger left a nice grease mark in there

as well interestingly enough though the

sickens finish on the cedar boy it

protected it really well the only thing

that got past it was the red wine and

you can see we've got a bit of a red

wine mark here not terrible but if that

if that red wine was let's say left out

overnight rather than just for an hour I

think it'd be even much more pronounced

now the IPE seemed to soak in but after

I wiped it down with soap and water it

wasn't as bad the red wine I think would

absolutely soaked in given more time and

interesting enough you can see just a

little bit of that ketchup and mustard

on there timber tech I'll tell you this

was impressive after I wiped it down

with a paper towel and then used a

little bit of dish soap water on there I

don't see a thing on that that looks

money absolutely brand-new even after an

hour of soaking in and the A's X

similarly everything did really well

cleaning off that Azek

however one little Achilles here that I

found is that that yellow mustard you

can still see a haze from that kind of a

yellowish haze even after wiping it off

my assumption is that there is vinegar

in here which somehow is making some

reaction with that PVC if given enough

time interesting I didn't see that on

the timber tech but I did see that in

the ASAC I don't know maybe I had a

flawed test but but I did find that the

mustard left a little bit of a problem

everything else no problem

all okay let's move on to the bug spray

and the sunscreen test now this one I've

had personal experience with as well

when I'm out at the lake with the kids

I've seen the kids spray their feet down

and after they leave with the sunscreen

you can absolutely see the two foot

marks on the deck where their feet were

in the bug spray or the sunscreen has

marred it so we went a little extreme on

this test now we did this test for

several days in a row where we

absolutely glazed the boards we shall

act him with both of these we did it on

Thursday we left him in the Sun all day

we did it on Friday we left him the Sun

all day on Saturday again and in the Sun

all day and then today first thing we

did we put another coat on all these

boards now we use the B in the S and

tape so we can kind of see what they

look like later that stands for a bug or

sunscreen also kind of nice that it

stands for build show as well so then

once we glazed them for that fourth time

what I did was I pulled the tape on

these and again we let him sit out in

the Sun for a couple more hours after I

did that this morning we pulled the tape

and man that was slightly disgusting I

got to say that sunscreen left a giant

film on those boards so I'm interested

to see after they got clean what they

look like and then the bug spray pretty

disgusting as well I was a giant mess on

these boards after several days of that

now what I did first was I scrubbed him

down you know I used just some regular

old dawn kitchen soap a couple of drops

in a little bucket of water and then I

washed each one of them down and you

could see as I wash them down for

instance the sunscreen on the cedar

which had that PPG sickens finish kind

of gummed up and you could tell it was

coming off on there now on the other

hand the sunscreen on the IPE oil didn't

come off very well in fact you can see

perfectly that s on there and it's kind

of a nasty I don't know what exactly

happened I assume that there's some kind

of reaction with the sunscreen in the

IPE oil I really could not get that off

easily I think you'd have to powerwash

this to actually get that off the timber

tech cleaned off relatively easily on

the sunscreen and the bug spray although

if you look at the sunscreen on this

timber tech board you can see that it's

mess with the sheen of

little bit I don't know if that's

because I wasn't able to fully get that

sunscreen off or if it actually did

something to the finish in the board not

totally certain there now the ASIC had a

slightly surprising result and I'm not

sure if it has anything to do with my

tape but you can see the outline here of

my be in my s where I tape those over

and again there's a little bit of a

sheen difference where the sunscreen was

the bug spray seemed to leave an outline

of that be on there I think the big

takeaway on this is look if you've got

sunscreen or bug spray there in a metal

can for a reason they're chemicals and

they're gonna mess with your deck about

the only one of these that that took a

licking and kept on ticking was the

cedar with that PPG sickens I thought

that one did really really well but the

other three here we definitely have some

some things going on that are not good

now the guys at ASIC tell me that

they're decking has this alloy armor

technology that's gonna make the surface

of this much more resistant to the bug

spray and the sunscreen damage then even

the product a couple years ago this is

fairly new technology in the product

today they didn't used to have but I

think the takeaway on this test is look

be really careful you shouldn't be using

those products on your deck they can

cause damage so you should spray those

down on the grass and then come on the

deck later okay so what are the

takeaways after a days with the testing

and all these boards you know I've put a

lot of wood decks down over the years

and I love the look and feel of real

wood but it does have its downsides and

we got to see some of that today however

I think one of the big takeaways frankly

is that ASIC and timber tech they've

come a long ways

considering the composites I was putting

down 10 years ago that I have kind of

the most direct and personal experience

with this capped composite with timber

tech did really well on the tests and

the cellular PVC with Azek very

impressive product I had no idea that it

was this impervious to so many things I

think we've got some really good choices

out there if you're planning a deck

project hopefully you learn something

that will apply to your specific project

and you can choose a good deck no matter

what deck you choose I want to recommend

my friends at timber town that's whose

warehouse we're in today and they're the

dealer locally for all these products I

also want to thank a sec for being man

enough to sponsor the video

and also show the downsides of their

products as well not just a hundred

percent positive on those so big thanks

to those guys as well link in the

description below for both of those

companies I talked about if you're not

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we'll see you next time on the build