Optimism pervades America’s decking market heading into spring 2015. Analysts such as The Freedonia Group are predicting that demand will grow through the next four years after having shrunk during the housing industry’s recession. In terms of board feet, Freedonia says that sales of PVC and other non-wood products will rise 11% per year through 2018 while sales of wood-plastic composite goods will climb 8.6% annually. That’s far above the 1.1% annual growth rate in sales of solid-sawn wood, but it’s partly because wood still accounts for a solid majority of board footage sold.

Reflecting those good feelings, more than a dozen new products were unveiled last October at DeckExpo, and manufacturers are preparing more rollouts at this year’s International Builders’ Show. Much of what’s new can be considered refinements—variations on established themes—rather than fresh inventions. For instance, some introductions of composite, capped-composite, and PVC decking continued the trend toward producing colors and patterns that more closely replicate natural wood, including exotic hardwoods and weathered grays and browns.

Composite Collection

NyloPorch composite flooring: NyloPorch, a tongue-and-groove composite flooring material, is rated for a uniform live load of 100 pounds per square foot. The flooring carries a 25-year warranty against staining and fading, and can be installed on grade and in the ground. NyloPorch is available in 3 1/8-inch and 5 1/8-inch face widths, and comes in four standard colors: Mountain Mocha, Saddle Rose, Desert Spice, and Coastal Mist. Variations in Newport White and Harbor Gray can be special-ordered.

ZomeTek I-Beam decking boards: Made from bamboo, ZomeTek boards come in two formats: I-Beam, which has channels for running wiring, and solid plank. According to a company spokesperson, the I-Beam boards are lighter, while the solid planks are sturdier. The system includes matched fascia moldings to conceal the ends of the I-Beam planks. The boards are striated on one side and smooth on the other. ZomeTek bills its bamboo composite boards as 30% less expensive than other composite deck boards.

Thermal Gains

Novawood Thermowood Ash: Thermally modified wood has been popular in Europe for years, and it’s on track to become a bigger player in the U.S. in 2015. One example: Novawood’s Thermowood Ash, a thermally treated wood decking introduced at DeckExpo. Its promoters say that the product is 30% more fire-resistant and 25% more acoustic- and heat-insulated than traditional lumber. Available as decking or cladding, Thermowood Ash is FSC certified and is available through Cherry Forest Products.

Kameleon Screws

Kameleon composite deck screws: GRK Fasteners is now offering Kameleon composite deck screws in colors that match Trex Select composite deck boards. The screws are made from case-hardened steel and coated for corrosion resistance. The shank design, called W-Cut, reduces friction for faster, smoother machine driving. The screws’ CEE Thread design enlarges the hole during application, while saw-like teeth under the screw heads promote countersinking.

Color Me Exotic

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Legacy Decking, Ashwood: Exotic colors were also on the minds of developers at TimberTech, which introduced Ashwood—a rustic, natural gray color—to its Earthwood Evolutions Legacy Collection. The subtle, earthy and aged look of Ashwood mimics the look of hand-hewn lumber, and it’s meant to be nearly indistinguishable from tropical hardwoods.

Deckorators Vista Decking: Seeking opportunities in the holistic marketing trend, Universal Forest Products rebranded its Latitudes decking under the Deckorators label. Deckorators Decking is a capped composite 7/8-inch thick with a 5 1/2-inch face width. It’s available in four solid colors and two variegated designs: Vista and Heritage. Price- competitive with Trex and TimberTech, the Deckorators brand decking carries a 25-year warranty against structural failures as well as staining and fading, which includes the removal and replacement of flawed materials.

MoistureShield Pro Series: Decking, Brazilian Chestnut MoistureShield has added Brazilian Chestnut to its Pro Series decking line. The Pro Series combines a wood-plastic composite core with a deeply embossed cap coating for fade-, stain-, scratch-, and slip-resistance. The Brazilian Chestnut option offers natural-looking surface color variations from light to deep brown. MoistureShield offers a builder/dealer program with Pro Series decking, reducing the price per board by 50 cents for purchases made between March and September 2015.

Understory Options

Dexerdry waterproof decking spacer: Dexerdry flanges are designed to act both as spacers between deck boards and as gutters to catch water that would otherwise drip to the space below. The rubber flanges are designed to be pounded into decking edge grooves using a rubber mallet and are available in a number of sizes to fit edge grooves in major decking brands.

Admiral SpaceMaker Outdoor Flooring with edging: This capped composite flooring material joins with specially designed interlocking tongues and grooves to channel water to the edge of a deck and out to the coordinating edge member. The design promotes drainage, ensuring that no water falls through.

RainTight under-deck ceiling system: Constructed of heavy-gauge aluminum, the company guarantees that its RainTight under- deck ceiling systems will hold any amount of rain or snow without failing through. Available in 20 color options, the panels are designed to resist fading and rusting. RainTight systems can be installed during deck construction or as a retrofit upgrade, and each installation is customized to fit the exact size of the deck.

Railing Options

CXT-Classic railing with accessory lighting: Complementing its CXT-Pro system of co-extruded and composite railing designs, Deckorators introduced the CXT-Classic line, which connects with posts via a bracket that is concealed with a trim cover. The company claims that CXT-Classic railings are less expensive than Pro and are easier to install. The new railing design enables face- mounting of balusters.

AGS Stainless Ready Rail: According to Kevin Harris, AGS Stainless director of sales and marketing, before Ready Rail, if a deck builder’s customer wanted a stainless steel railing, it would have to be subbed out to a custom craftsman. Ready Rail is an off-the-shelf stainless steel kit consisting of posts, cable, and fittings. A wood top rail must be acquired for complete installation. Four-screw brackets for fastening post bottoms come in the kits.

Fiberon Good Life Railing: Designed to complement its capped-composite decking, the top rail of Fiberon’s Good Life Railing System has a sculpted profile, and the system features drop-in balusters. Slip-over wraps for both 4x4 and 6x6 posts are available, and parts are joined by discreet color-matched brackets. The maker says the system meets AC 174, IRC, and IBC standards. “The Good Life Railing System should be easy to stock and easy to sell,” says Fiberon’s Rob Long, director of channel marketing. “It comes in complete kits and is comprised of only a few SKUs.”

Let There Be Light

DesignRail Kit components with LED lights: The DesignRail aluminum railing systems with LED rail light kits work as both outdoor accent lighting and a visual aid for low-light areas. Kits are available in 21- and 32-inch lengths to provide effective light distribution. The kit includes the LED light strip, a light lens diffuser, and installation components. The system’s required power kits include either a 35-watt or 60-watt, 24-volt driver. The optional inline LED Dimmer Kit includes a remote control and dimmer to adjust the light level.

Deceuninck Clubhouse lighting and railing: Intended to coordinate with its Clubhouse Decking products, Deceuninck North America’s new lighting fixtures and balusters extend the brand and create a one-stop source for decking and accessories. The new line of fixtures includes step lights, post-cap lights with matching standard post caps, and downlights for deck posts. Recessed deck lights will also be available for installation on stairs, walkways, and perimeters. New additions to the Clubhouse line also include balusters custom- coated to match Clubhouse Elite Railing.

Fairway 12-volt LED lighting accessories: Several 12-volt LED lighting components have been added to Fairway’s lighting accessory product line. Frosted glass inserts are available for the Carriage Light post caps, and new in-deck lights are available in black or brushed bronze accent colors. Also available in brushed bronze is the 12-volt post sconce with matching 4- and 5-inch post cap accents. Installers will also find connector cables and outdoor wire in the product line for one-stop deck lighting.