Author Topic: suggestions for composite decking  (Read 6598 times)

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Offline HowardH

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suggestions for composite decking
« on: October 16, 2010, 09:23 PM »
My big fall project is to replace my deck.  Last two times I used wolmanized yellow pine.  It simply doesn't hold up to Texas summers.  The BORG and Lowes carry Trex and some other brand.  What else is out there besides what you can find at the big home centers?  If I can find a good enough price, it may leave enough left over in the budget for a Kapex!   [tongue] [tongue] [tongue] [tongue] [tongue] [tongue]
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

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Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 09:43 PM »
Just to caution you, Lowes doesn't carry (at least in my section of the country) the full Trex materials for making a deck like the railing parts.  They carry their private label brand that they try to mix in with the Trex stuff they sell to make a complete deck solution.  Problem I found when looking at a previous job of someone's was that the mix of parts doesn't work.  So saving money by buying Trex through Lowes will cost you.  It looked like junk and I was asked to fix it.  They didn't like my $11,000 price to tear it all down and redo the right way and to code.  [big grin]

You might also want to look at Azek or for "real" wood, ipe.  Ipe is beautiful, expensive, tough on tools, but lasts forever.  Western red cedar is another good but expensive option.

Being in Texas, you're probably going to have an issue with the heat and these PVC type decks.  I've read that it becomes very uncomfortable to walk on for people or lay on for pets.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 09:48 PM by Ken Nagrod »

Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1324
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2010, 10:24 PM »
Howard,

Stay away from the composites. As Ken said they are too dang hot! If they are too hot here in New England, they are too hot for you in Texas. For a few cents more/sq.ft/ you can move to Ipe, Meranti, Garapa or some other tropical hardwood that will last longer than both you or any composite you can buy, not to mention how much better it will look.
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1249
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2010, 10:38 PM »
my brother recently re-did his deck with a S. American species, not Ipe, but something like it, a cousin so to speak.  He lives in the area as well.  I'm not impressed on how it looks after only been down for a little over a year.  That wood shrinks a lot, I mean a lot, leaving big a gap in between boards.  It also did not hold it's color and will eventually turn grey.  The LOML likes a particular color and grey isn't it!  The stuff is also very expensive and will eat up blades and drill bits.  He had some left over so I was fooling around a bit with it and it was very tough to cut, even with my TS-75.  I guess those species work well in cooler climates but Texas summers are tough! That's why I was thinking composite, a light color to reflect the heat.  No railings will be necessary on this design so that's not an issue.  I just hate paying full retail for anything, except for Festool of course!   [big grin]
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, P1cc, MFT/3, T15, RO150FEQ, MT55cc, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, OF 2200, OF1400, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router plate. Mafell DDF40, Sawstop contractor, PM 1500

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2010, 10:41 PM »
Howard, are you referring to cyprus?

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2010, 10:48 PM »
If you're set on getting the Trex, go on their website to the contractor/installer section and download the installation procedures, not just so you do it correctly, but also for the warranty.  I would still suggest checking online for reviews and comments using the light colored boards in high temperature parts of the country.  Go on JLC and get some info from there as well.

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1249
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2010, 11:04 PM »
No, not cypress.  It's cambara I believe.  Same family as Ipe'.  I know there are a lot of other manufacturers other than Trex, I just wanted to know my options from you guys who do this for a living.
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, P1cc, MFT/3, T15, RO150FEQ, MT55cc, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, OF 2200, OF1400, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router plate. Mafell DDF40, Sawstop contractor, PM 1500

Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1324
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2010, 11:06 PM »
my brother recently re-did his deck with a S. American species, not Ipe, but something like it, a cousin so to speak.  He lives in the area as well.  I'm not impressed on how it looks after only been down for a little over a year.  That wood shrinks a lot, I mean a lot, leaving big a gap in between boards.  It also did not hold it's color and will eventually turn grey.  The LOML likes a particular color and grey isn't it!

The over size gap is an installation error, you have to allow for the shrinkage when it is installed. As for it turning grey, that tells me he either did not treat (oiled) it at all or not enough. Which may have also significantly contributed to the shrinking.

I will guarantee you that a little 'extra maintenance' (oiling) work in the first couple of years will give you a better looking deck than any composite decking 10 years down the road. Most composite products cannot be 'repaired'.


Quote
  The stuff is also very expensive and will eat up blades and drill bits.  He had some left over so I was fooling around a bit with it and it was very tough to cut, even with my TS-75.  I guess those species work well in cooler climates but Texas summers are tough! That's why I was thinking composite, a light color to reflect the heat.  No railings will be necessary on this design so that's not an issue.  I just hate paying full retail for anything, except for Festool of course!   [big grin]

Yeah the stuff is a little tougher on bits and blades, but not ridiculously so.

This deck was done with Meranti.
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1249
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2010, 11:17 PM »
beautiful work. How often does the material have to be oiled? 
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, P1cc, MFT/3, T15, RO150FEQ, MT55cc, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, OF 2200, OF1400, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router plate. Mafell DDF40, Sawstop contractor, PM 1500

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2010, 11:22 PM »
Howard,

I've heard of other associated names with ipe.  It gets confusing after awhile.  The spelling of the name you were referring to is Caraiba if you want to do a search on it.  When I first came across ipe, guys in the trade referred to it as Brazilian walnut.  I know that some famous boardwalks in my part of the country were redone with it.  You might be able to get some pictures online of how the boards look today with the severe coastal weather and foot traffic they endure.

Another composite decking I'm familiar with is made by TimberTech.  I can check some catalogs I've gotten at the builders shows to see if anything else might be of interest to you.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 11:49 PM by Ken Nagrod »

Offline harry_

  • Posts: 1324
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2010, 11:32 PM »
beautiful work. How often does the material have to be oiled? 

That deck was completed in early spring, and oiled immediately. Then again around this time of the year. then again the following spring. They now do it every other year.

The rule of thumb is: If the water don't bead, oil it. Eventually you will reach somewhat of a saturation point with the oil and you can do it less often.

Whatever you do, don't fall into the hype of composites being maintenance free, they are not. You still have to wash them down seasonally or they will stain,... just like wood. (this presumes you have trees & leaves).

Real wood, if taken care of, gets more beautiful with age. Composites only get to looking worse.
Disclaimer: This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. This is not an offer to sell securities. May be too intense for some viewers. No user-serviceable parts inside. Subject to change without notice. One size fits all (very poorly).

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2010, 11:47 PM »
I agree with Harry if it were my choice.  Every couple of years spend a little time coating everywhere with a good product like Cabot.

I found a product called Correct Deck, www.correctdeck.com, Correct Building Products, LLC. now owned by GAF.  For the ipe, Diamond Hardwoods, www.diamonddecking.com.  TimberTech, www.timbertech.com for a Trex-like product.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 11:50 PM by Ken Nagrod »

Offline WarnerConstCo.

  • Posts: 4112
    • Warner Mill Works
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2010, 12:02 AM »
Please start by going to a real lumber yard and stay far away from the big box stores when dealing with decking materials.

This is for your own good.

Everyone I know in Texas builds them from SA hardwoods.

Fiberon makes a pvc encapsulated board that looks like ipe.

Offline tjbnwi

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  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2010, 12:43 AM »
Another option for a wood deck material;

http://tigerdeck.com/

Tom

Offline Chris Hughes

  • Posts: 572
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2010, 08:48 AM »
I am finishing up a deck and rail system currently.  The customer specified Azac decking and Certanteed  rail systems with a newel wrap.  We installed the decking with a new pneumatic nailer called the Hid Fast system in the field and used the Azac plugs and screws on the perimeter.  We did not have installation instructions at the onset, (how hard could this be for God's sake?  It's a deck.) it turns out that if not nailed and screwed completely after a temperature adjustment like 75degrees after noon and 40 degrees at night we experienced unacceptable shrinkage.  After reading the instructions we corrected the method with very nice results.

Note.  Wood shrinks rapidly in width mostly due to moisture content, while plastic shrinks most rapidly in length due to temperature.

I much prefer natural hard wood to plastic and composite.  I have worked with Ipe' (Brazilian Walnut), Massaruba (Brazilian Redwood), and Southern Cypress.  Of the three I would build my own deck with Ipe'.  It is the denser material and will span the longest with the least deflection. 

I would use Messmer's oil to seal the wood.  The Messmer's product has pigment which gives it a little better UV protection. 

Offline JSlovic

  • Posts: 112
Re: suggestions for composite decking
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2010, 09:46 AM »
For what it's worth here's my Atlanta Experience.
 I redid my deck with Cypress planking and Redwood/Azek rails and trim The deck was finished with white Cabot opaque stain everything else SW Enamel. My wife's decorator insisted on white. More on this later. I fastened the deck w/ screws and glue from the bottom, to avoid nail/ screw holes on the top. Net results-
The stain sticks with varying success to cypress but need frequent re-staining/painting. One board in particular stain didn't stick well I think it has a lot of resin in it.  It's interesting that the deck in the covered porch  looks great, but the exposed deck (north side of the house) generally looks like heck.
The cypress swelled somewhat and the board spacing closed up so it doesn't drain so well and stays damp a lot. Opening up the spacing is a topic for another thread
I'm looking at refinish options now considering Cabots semi transparent white stain or Sikkens Cetol.  does anyone have any experience w/ either?
 
 Azek is great, I've slowly been replacing any piece of wood on the house with it. Holds paint well and the only way you don't know it's real is that it never rots.   

As for tropical hardwoods- I've seen it used for pier decking on the SC Coast.  after 6yrs unfinished still looks good. π