What Is Mineral-Based Composite Decking?

Composite decking is made of a combination of materials - hence the name "composite." Traditional composites are made from a mixture of wood and plastic, but the newest and best technology in the industry is mineral-based composite decking: a combination of plastic and stable, durable minerals.

Mineral-based composite decking, sometimes called MBC decking, represents the next major step in low-maintenance decking. It's stronger and more dimensionally stable than traditional composites, helping create an amazing deck that will last longer.

A crisp, modern deck using MBC decking and a steel pergola

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What Are The Benefits Of Mineral-Based Composite Decking?

In general, composite material is more durable than wood, with a built-in resistance to issues like rotting, warping, splitting, molding and insect damage. Mineral-based decking takes that to an entirely new level with improved durability, better dimensional stability, and a complete resistance to mold and water damage.

The secret? Mineral-based composite decking replaces natural wood fibers with minerals to avoid wood's vulnerability to water, insects, and changing temperatures.

A sparkling deck with matching mineral-based composite fascia boards and deck boards

We'll run through some of mineral-based decking's advantages, focusing in on our most trusted MBC decking brand: Deckorators, a pioneer in the low-maintenance decking industry.

Maximum Stability With Virtually No Thermal Expansion

The biggest advantage of mineral-based composite decking is that it's rock-solid stable in any temperature.

Almost every building material changes size to some level as temperatures swing. Have you ever noticed how wood doors in your home can have plenty of wiggle room within their frames in the winter, but when summer temperatures climb, the door fits snugly (or doesn't fit at all!) into its wood frame? That's because wood expands in hot, humid weather and contracts with cold temps and dry air.

With wood, that expansion or contraction can be pretty drastic - at least, relatively speaking. It only takes a fraction of an inch for a perfect gap between deck boards to expand into a large, unsightly fissure that collects dirt and debris.

PVC and traditional composite boards have improved on wood's lack of stability, showing less expansion and contraction.

But mineral-based composite boards one-up even other low-maintenance options. MBC deck boards show virtually no thermal expansion or contraction - that means they barely expand or contract at all as temperatures swing.

A dark brown mineral-based composite deck with white railing

Tighter Fastener Connections That Last Longer

What does that dimensional stability mean in practice? One of the biggest examples is in your deck board fasteners. Because they don't swell or shrink with temperature changes, mineral-based composite deck boards keep your fasteners in place with tighter holds that last longer.

Think of it this way: as wood boards expand or contract, they strain against the screws holding them in place. Over time, this tends to rip out the screw-holes and loosen the fastener connections.

Because MBC decking stays so remarkably consistent in size, none of this pulling, straining and loosening weakens the fastener connections. For a deck owner, that means less maintenance time - you're not constantly fixing loose boards, replacing screws, or swapping out entire boards that have warped out of shape.

A vast, expansive deck built to last with mineral-based deck boards.

No Wood Fibers To Rot Or Mold

Mineral-based composites have no organic material - no natural wood fibers. That takes away a whole host of deck predators that prey on wood boards: namely, water damage, mold, mildew, and insects.

Mold and mildew are fungi that feed off of organic matter. They're a common problem with wood deck boards, taking root and actually eating away your deck. Insects like termites can cause similar damage. Traditional wood composite boards typically have a strong outer cap that protects the wood fibers, but if the capping gets damaged, they, too, can be susceptible to mold, mildew taking root.

That's a huge advantage of MBC decking: with no wood fibers, there's no organic material for mold, mildew or insects to eat. That means that you should be free from those pesky deck detractors as long as you keep your deck surface reasonably clean of yard waste like fallen leaves or pine needles.

Strength Without The Weight

Mixing minerals into a composite mixture makes deck boards significantly stronger. That's why mineral-based decking forerunner Deckorators is able to promote their boards as having the best strength-to-weight ratio in the decking industry.

Because MBC decking material is so strong, manufacturers can often get the same strength as other composite boards while also keeping each board thinner. That makes for lighter deck boards that are easier to transport, lift and install, saving you time, man-hours, and money at installation.

A mineral-based composite deck is durable even when exposed to water regularly

Safe For Use Around Water

One reason we love Deckorators mineral-based composite deck boards is that they are actually approved for use in the ground or in contact with water. That's a huge deal: for wood decking, water is a constant danger that wears down deck boards. Wood-plastic composites are a big improvement in durability, but they aren't designed to hold up to long-term contact with the ground or with standing water.

You can actually install Deckorators mineral-based composite decking lines in direct contact with the ground or with water, because these futuristic boards don't absorb moisture.

Water-resistant deck boards made of mineral-based composite make up a durable deck board dock

Approved For Use As Cladding

Deckorators mineral-based composite decking is one of the few deck board options that can actually be installed as cladding on vertical surfaces. Once again, this owes heavily to MBC decking's ability to keep a stable size and shape in all temperatures.

As composite decking continues to evolve with beautiful on-trend colors and looks, a growing trend is using deck boards as cladding. However, most deck boards aren't approved for that kind of installation. Using Deckorators mineral-based composite allows you to get the deck board look you want in a vertical cladding setup.

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Mineral-Based Composite Decking FAQs

Here are a few more interesting facts about mineral-based composite decking and the benefits it brings to any deck project:

What Is The Difference Between Trex And Mineral-Based Composite Decking?

Trex is a well-known brand of traditional wood-plastic composite decking - so much so that the name Trex has become synonymous with wood-plastic composite. Mineral-based decking is a mineral-plastic composite, mixing synthetic plastics with durable minerals, rather than organic wood fibers.

In practice, that means mineral-based composite decking will be more durable than traditional composites like Trex, while holding more dimensionally stable even as temperatures fluctuate.

An oceanside deck with an expansive view

How Is Mineral-Based Composite Decking Created?

First, advanced plastic polymers are combined with durable minerals. That composite mixture is stretched out. As the plastic pulls away from the minerals, small air pockets form, making mineral-based decking lighter without sacrificing strength.

You can learn more about how Deckorators produces its mineral-based composite decking (using a patented technology called Eovations) in this video.

Can MBC Decking Have Contact With The Ground?

Deckorators mineral-based composite decking can actually be installed with direct ground contact. That's because the innovative mineral-based material doesn't absorb water and hardly expands or contracts at all with temperature swings. It's the rare deck board that is actually warrantied for installation in contact with the ground or with water.

Multi-tonal brown deck made of Deckorators MBC Decking

How Do I Pick The Right Mineral-Based Deck Board For My Deck?

You can find our guide to Deckorators two different lines of mineral-based composite decking here - it'll help you find the decking line that fits your vision and budget.


Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in our Deck Framing Guide and learn deck parts and terminology in the DecksDirect Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo.

Browse more deck design and railing style notes to upgrade your backyard space and deck in the DecksDirect Railing Style Guide: the quickest way to learn if your home is more suited for a classic aluminum deck railing or a showstopping cable rail setup.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new project, a deck update, or a style refresh, give our deck project planners a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our experienced team will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for an awesome deck completely personalized to your needs!