Evaluating Alternatives to Traditional Wood Decking

May 2022

Creating a stronger connection to the outdoors continues to be a Top 10 design feature for home design. Today’s homeowners want more than a big back yard. They want options, flexible designs and multifunctional spaces. A recent study by the New Home Trends Institute and Professional Builder Magazine cited decking as one of the three most popular items at 55%.

Today’s decks are still widely built with wood. Wood is beautiful but offers a high cost versus value for resale not to mention environmental strain, volatility of today’s supply chain, unstable pricing and supply. Given these factors plus innovation in wood alternatives, now is the perfect time to consider new material.

Here’s a list of key factors to consider as you evaluate wood alternatives:


Traditional composites mimic the look of wood, but often can have a plasticky look or feel. Today’s innovation using natural organic fibers can produce products that are nearly indistinguishable to the real thing.


The materials you choose should last as long as possible to avoid homeowner maintenance replacement costs or product ending up in a landfill. Look for alternative materials that can deliver premium performance like resisting weather, water, mold, rot, pets, and other forces of wear and tear.y are securely attached to the house (if applicable) and sturdy to last the outdoor season.

Ease of use

Because most construction tools are designed around the use with wood products — saws, hammers, drills, glue, fasteners, and more — alternative materials should accommodate, including standard dimensions without the need for special equipment, tools, or training.

Finishing options

Traditional composites are limited to factory produced colors. The latest in organic composites allow for stain or paint — even without a primer. This allows for true customization, unlimited creativity and the ability to take advantage of trends like multi-color planking.


Wood as a natural fiber still requires trees. While wood is a renewable resource, depending on its source and how it’s grown, it can still challenge the environments. Today’s alternative materials can make better use of the resources, have less impact on the environment, and be 100% tree-free and recyclable.


Consider locally sourced materials that are not vulnerable to the current supply chain woes regarding availability and cost.

Introducing a new generation of materials
As the decking market grows, so do the options for alternative materials to wood and traditional composites. ACRE by Modern Mill is a new sustainable alternative to wood and traditional composites. Made from upcycled rice hulls in a zero-waste manufacturing environment, ACRE offers all the warmth and beauty of wood with all the maintenance-free conveniences of composites.

Visit www.modern-mill.com for more inspiration or to view our list of stocking dealers and retailers.


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