DuraLife is one of the leading nationwide companies in composite decking.
They have streamlined the buying process by limiting your choices and giving you a step by step guide.
While some aspects of the process can still be confusing, the real question is if DuraLife is worth the cost.
In this article we aim to answer just that.
We will look at DuraLife from all angles to find out if they stand the test of time. We also look at the advantages and disadvantages while rating the entire line and looking at customer reviews.
DuraLife Buying Process
- 1 DuraLife Buying Process
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best DuraLife Deck for Your Home
- 3 DuraLife Decking Review
- 4 DuraLife Pros, Cons and Ratings
- 5 Installation: DIY or Professional?
- 6 Where to Buy DuraLife Decking
- 7 Known DuraLife Decking Problems
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 Conclusion
The four-step buying process is meant to make life easier, and dare we say, more Dura-ble?
- Choose Composite Deck Color. DuraLife offers 8 colors to choose from, the first step is to decide which color you prefer.
- Choose the Decking Profile. In the second step you will pick the board profile type you prefer.
- Choose the Deck Railing. As you can guess, the third step is to choose the railing that will go around your deck.
- Choose Decking Accessories. Finally, you can choose any accessories you need to complete your project. All that is left is installation and enjoyment.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best DuraLife Deck for Your Home
The overall project size is one of the most important measurements you can take. Square footage will tell you how much material to buy, where your joists will go and what type of fasteners and support beam systems you should install.
When it comes to DuraLife boards, you have fewer options than some brands. However the choice you make will still be important.
All DuraLife boards are made from their proprietary polypropylene composite material and come in solid or grooved boards with either a full board plank or a scalloped plank (known as Siesta and MVP, respectively).
Colors and Features
When it comes to colors, regardless of the board type or style you choose, you have 8 choices. Four of those choices are in the Hardwoods collection palliate and include common colors of exotic woods like Walnut, Brazilian Cherry, Garapa and Golden Teak.
How you install the boards is up to you, but the hidden fastener system is the optimal choice. It is more secure, easier to install and as the name implies, stays hidden.
Care and Maintenance
Care and maintenance of a composite deck is quite simple., In most cases all you need to do is sweep it weekly and rinse with a garden hose. Of course other factors like barbecue grease, droppings, wet leaves and snow and ice will have other cleaning methods, but your overall costs will still be near zero.
Cost and Warranty
All DuraLife boards come with the same 25-year stain and fade warranty. The boards are also covered against damage, splintering, cracking or peeling.
The cost, as with most composite and PVC decking is done by the board and with three size options, you will pay an average of $60 per board. This price will vary by profile, location and installation method as well.
DuraLife Decking Review
DuraLife enters the industry with a new model: let the consumer pick the color and performance of their deck all at once. The 4-step selection process is simple and adjustable, allowing you to get the deck you want at the price you can afford.
There are two main collections and both deal with color, not style. The hardwood collection features four colors pulled from hardwood planks and flooring from around the world. The colors are created using a random dispersal pattern.
This means that the colors on each board are mixed slightly differently so no two boards are exactly the same.
This coloring process makes the composite planks look more natural and prevents you from having a distracting “off color” section in your deck. The Landscapes collection also has four colors that are pulled from nature. And they come with SolarGuard, a proprietary coating that protects against stains and fading.
The Hardwood collection is made up of Golden Teak, Garapa Gray, Brazilian Cherry and Tropical Walnut. The Landscapes collection has Pebble, Coastal Gray, Mahogany and Slate.
Board Profiles and Options
The first step in your deck selection process is to choose your color. After that, you move on to the board profile and performance. Technically there are 4 options here, but two choices will make up the bulk of your deck.
The Siesta Profile is the more expensive option. It features solid, grooved boards that are stronger, sturdier and more durable than the other options. These planks can hold more weight per square inch and are tough as nails, while still being extremely easy to install.
The other primary option is the MVP profile. These are also grooved boards but the bottom edge is scalloped. This makes the boards lighter and easier to install, but removes some of the durability. It also costs less per board, making them extremely popular.
The other two options are for your finished decking portion. The Starter Profile boards are grooved and square edged (one of each) and are designed to be the first row around the edge of your deck.
Using these boards gives you the groove on the inside for the hidden fasteners, while maintaining a non-grooved side facing outward.
Installation is fairly easy and many homeowners take the project on themselves. We cover installation methods further below, but what you should know is that you can have the decking, railings and accessories all purchased at once. This includes lattice work, screen panels and lighting, all made to match your entire project.
Whether you choose to install yourself or hire a pro, it won’t affect the warranty.
All boards come with a 25-year warranty. This warranty protects against stains and fading on all of the boards, regardless of install method. Scratches, denting, damage and other defects are also covered, but you need to read the entire warranty to understand.
What is and isn’t covered, how to make a claim, registration deadlines and all other aspects of the warranty are clearly written out. Depending on your location, when and where you purchase your decking materials and when the install takes place will all have a bearing on the warranty.
DuraLife Pros, Cons and Ratings
|25-year warranty||Styles and colors not always available|
|DIY installation capable||Ordering the correct amount is sometimes difficult|
|Embossed wood grain patterns||Minimal color and style choices|
|All boards made from polypropylene and natural hardwood and 90% recycled material|
|No painting or staining|
|Easy clean up and low maintenance|
|Decking, railings, and stair components all match|
- Selection: 3
- Warranty: 4
- Durability: 4
- Installation: 4.5
- Price: 4
- Quality: 4
- Eco-Friendliness: 3.5
- Overall Rating: 3.8
Installation: DIY or Professional?
When installing a DuraLife deck, you have two primary options, do it yourself or hire the project out to a professional. While professional installation has a lot of advantages, it has one major disadvantage. The eager and knowledgeable DIYer, though, can get the job done with great results.
For DIY install, you will need the right tools, time and knowledge. While installing a composite deck with hidden fasteners isn’t too challenging, it can be a daunting undertaking if you’ve never done it before.
Along with the right tools (which can get expensive if you don’t already own them), you need the knowledge of airflow, joist placement and spacing and how to lay and install the planks. You should always start on the longest edge and with a perimeter board (such as the Starter Profile style).
With professional installation, the job is done faster, usually looks better and you can begin enjoying your new deck in as little as a single day. The trade off, though, is that for this expert level installation, you will pay for it.
On average you can expect to pay between $3 and $6 per square foot for a professional. This will vary depending on the size of the project, how much work with placement, joists and support beams are needed, the pattern or design of your deck and even where you live.
Finding the right contractor is the hard part, but we can help. Our free to use professional locator tool makes finding local, reputable and licensed contractors easy to find. You can set up estimate inspections in as little as 24 hours from now.
Where to Buy DuraLife Decking
The hardest part about DuraLife’s buying process is finding a local dealer. While some decking is found at Lowe’s and Home Depot, it isn’t a constant stocking and they never carry all the options.
You can find a local dealer, though, by using the Retailer Locator tool on the DuraLife website. You simply enter your zip code and desired search radius and the tool will return a map with all the retailers and dealers in that area.
Known DuraLife Decking Problems
All in all, as far as brands go, there aren’t a lot of complaints or problems with DuraLife. While they are still considered a smaller company, they have a product that is valuable, durable and reliable.
However, there are a few reported problems that keep popping up from around the country and we will look at those now.
The biggest complaint is that the decking is hard to find. When a retailer or dealer is located, they are either far from the homeowner, or have a limited stock or selection available. There isn’t much anyone can do about this from our end.
However, if you talk with the local retailer, they can order directly from DuraLife for you. You may have to wait an extra week or two, but you can get the full order all at once this way.
Another problem, though admittedly not very common, is that the decking tends to show scratches. This can be caused by a lot of things, including weather, improper care, maintenance or even installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we will cover the most commonly asked questions about DuraLife decking. As always, if you have other concerns or questions, please feel free to use the comment section below.
Q. How do I clean DuraLife decking?
- DuraLife recommends a weekly sweeping of the entire deck to remove any leaves, pine needles or other dirt and debris. At least once a month you will also want to rinse the entire deck off with a garden hose. For stubborn dirt areas, though, you can use a warm water and detergent (non-bleach) mix and hand scrub the area. The decking shouldn’t need more than that.
Q. Can I sand or buff scratches out of my DuraLife deck?
- Sanding and buffing are not recommended as they will only cause more scratching and damage to the boards, plus it will void your warranty. Because the capped side of the boards are polypropylene, you can use a heat gun (on low or medium) from about 3-inches away to meld the surface and lessen the appearance of the scratches.
Q. Is DuraLife a green company?
- DuraLife is considered a green, or Eco-friendly company since all of their products are made from up to 90% recycled materials.
Q. Are the DuraLife decking boards capped?
- DuraLife decking is capped on three sides. The bottoms of the boards are not capped, which helps moisture and humidity escape the board, prolonging the life and lessening the overall weight.
DuraLife makes a simple product. They have a couple of different board profiles with different price ranges. The content and construction of the decking is the same, though, and all options share the same 8 color choices.
While locating the material to purchase is the biggest challenge, once you do, you won’t be disappointed in the quality, durability or final look of your new deck.