Vinyl decks and decking are becoming increasingly popular today. Vinyl decks are often marketed as lasting a lifetime, a forever deck if you will. In many instances this is true, but not all vinyl decking is created equal. It is important to know the differences when you are in the market for this type of product. With vinyl decking there are a few items to be aware of. Ultraviolet (UV) protection is crucial. The UV protectorants protect the vinyl from breaking down causing it to become brittle and discolored. The industry standard for UV additive is 10 parts per 100. The higher quality vinyl deck material can reach 12 parts per 100. Since vinyl decks come in many colors these additives are important. Make sure the vinyl decking you are considering is 100 percent virgin vinyl. Some manufacturing processes use an outer layer to hide or cover up substandard recycled base material. This sub-standard material will not hold up to the long-term wear and tear of deck traffic. Another aspect of a well-built deck and higher quality construction is a single-piece plank design. This design prevents squeaking and provides a better weight load capacity. Reputable vinyl deck manufacturers have submitted their product for various testing at independent laboratories. Be sure to ask for and review testing information. This is a great way to compare the various products for aging, strength durability and safety testing. It's suffice to say that today's vinyl is not all created equal and in some cases, vinyl may not be final, so shop around, ask questions in order to make informed decisions.