new "composite" wood for decks, etc.?

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judiebug

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One of my neighbors was telling me she heard about a new "composite" wood that's supposed to be ideal for decks, patios, etc.. Problem is, she can't remember what the name of it is. Has anyone heard of this and know the name and more about it?

TIA!

Judiebug
 

decorchallenged

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I know Lowe's has a version of it. I glanced at it this weekend. It looks great, but it cost quite a bit more than wood. How long does a deck with pressure treated wood last if it has been sealed properly? Is it worth the price difference?
 

judiebug

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You raise a really good point. That's one of the things I'm looking into. I know I wouldn't want to spend a lot of money needlessly. I'm looking to find out how long that composite wood would last vs. pressure treated and then the maintenance aspect of it. How often does pressure treated wood need to be re-treated, if ever? And if it does, how much would it cost?
 

fixitright

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I think you should be able to get information on the "life expectancy/maintenance" of the pressure treated lumber as well as the composite. You may also want to try looking it up here on the web for more info..
 

Bill

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i have seen at least ten different types of man made decking. some are better than others. there are also more than ten types of wood. the appearance and lastability and cost are all factors that need to be addressed when you choose your deck. good luck!
 

FirTrader

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TREX and Millenium are the two I see the most of. Trex is a mixture of wood and vinyl, Millenium just vynyl I believe. Besides being utterly water and bug proof, there is no advantage to these products over treated wood, for the most part. If you put a treated deck together, and put some linseed oil or something like that on it once every 3 years, it'll outlast you.

The vinyl composites are super expensive, and they get awful hot in the sun - like forget going barefoot on the deck - it'll burn the soles off your feet.

All in all, I build a lot more treated decks than I do composite. I do used composites in non-structural rot proofing applications, but that's another issue.

As you can tell, I'm not a particularly big fan of these products in general. They are too expensive, too hot, too flexible, and not particularly attractive in my opinion (we joke in the industry that trex comes in "not-quite-purple" and "not-quite-grey".)
 

shadebuilder

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I would have to agree with FurTrader. We are from time to time requested to use Trex but I much prefer natural treated wood.
 

BillsCatz

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I've installed miles of both PT and composite decking in New England. The upside of composite decking is that it doesn't require oiling or staining every few years, in fact it doesn't require anything except a cleaning now and then. It also doesn't split or crack over time, nor does it warp as long as the joist spacing is 16" O/C or less. The better brands also come in several colors. The downside is that it costs about 30% more than PT.

I agree with the guys who've posted about PT decking lasting forever IF MAINTAINED. A common misconception is, "Oh, it's pressure treated, we don't have to do anything to it!" and five years later it looks like tore up drift wood with cracks and splinters everywhere. A well oiled PT deck will last longer than the owner.
 

The Gingerbread Man

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Yes well oiled. BUT........ You must follow the directions on the can!
Too many of my customers complain that their decks are sticky or gummy after they use certain products. When asked if they read the directions they always answer "I thought you just put it on. So I thought alot would be better" doh
 

Gary

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Our PT deck is around 20 yrs. old now. In the Spring we pressure wash it, let it dry & and seal it. There are a few weather cracks here and there, nothing major however. We removed the pool a couple years ago and remodeled the deck adding a few new boards here and there. Once pressure washed and sealed the difference between old and new boards is hardly noticable.
 

speajeannih

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I Have Wood Rot In Tongue & Grove Boards On My Front Porch, Seems To Be From Water. I Hear Of Wood Rot Repair Products; Can You Tell Me An Easy And Fast Setting One A Home Owner Can Use With @least Good Results?
 

glennjanie

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Dear Spea:
If your boards are showing rot on the top surface, there is a lot more out of sight! Your framing members under the floor are possibly rotting too. I would recommend you take the whole floor up, replace any rotten framing with treated lumber, then put one of the new composite products down for the floor. There are at least 3 kinds of composite deck boards available and they are all expensive--but you will never have to repalce them again. Home Depot is just waiting to help you with this. Another good option for your area is to tear out the old and replace it with concrete for a lifetime fix. That would require a footing, foundation wall and filling the space with sand or rock to support the concrete. Its hard work and expensive but you will be proud of the results for a long, long time.
Glenn
 

woodworkingmenace

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My thing would be the expansion factor on the new composit boards. I believe, according to THIS OLD HOUSE Magazine, they say it can expand 2 inches or more in the hot sun, where the treated lumber doesnt expand at all. Thus, how do you keep it "tight" and secure, if it has that much expansion? I'm sure you dont put nails in "slotted holes" for the expansion factor, and does it work itself loose over the years because of that? Or, do the floor joists just take up the expansion and "grow" with the composit wood?

Seems to me, that an awning would be in "vogue" for this stuff, if it expands that much, and would be a necessity addition, eh?

Just my two cents worth...

Jesse
 

brandonriffel

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I hope my composite deck doesn't expand 2 inches! The installation guides for most composite materials (As well as the included warranty) specify that you space the boards a certain distance to allow expansion during hot weather. The most I have seen is a quarter of an inch recommended. I put my deck in 2 years ago using Evergrain and LOVE IT. It was about two times more expensive, but well worth it. No splinters, EVER, no staining or sealing, EVER, no wood rot or cracking, EVER. Those are worth the extra cash in my book. Plus you have loads of options on colors, it's easier to bend if you want to put some fancy designs in. Just understand that it isn't the same as PT lumber. Do your research, talk to a local lumber yard, they will most likely have a construction engineer on staff to help you, FREE. The people at HD or Lowes might just be part time help with no real building experience.
 

DeckPro

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If your neighbor lady wants a nice composite decking, I would suggest Trex, or Timber Tech. Trex is a more difficult product to understand though, because if the deck is only a foot or two off the ground on the shady side of the house it has a tendency to mold. (more maintenance in cleaning). Trex is more designed for walkouts. Trex has an expansion of about an 1/8" per board in the sun. Brizilian Hardwoods like epoch, although a natural wood has the same rating as concrete and steel and also has a slightly higher warranty than composite material not to mention beautiful..

To answer the other guy's question.. Treated lumber has around a 12-15 yr. warranty although if kept up well, will last for 20-30 years.. depending on where you live and how much sun is on the deck..
Composite decking has a 25 yr.. warranty on most of them, but if kept cleaned, it will last pretty much the life of the house, the joists will rot out long before that composite does...

Although composite decking is roughly 7-12 times the cost of treated lumber and 3-5 times the cost of cedar depending on how extravagent you go, it is worth every penny!!

Another variable in how long a deck last is on the skill of the carpenter that installs it...
Through out the years I have built around 500 decks and now I build an average of 3 a year and put a 10 yr warranty on all labor.. Most people dont realize how much that ads to your house, its like a second livingroom if built properly..
 
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brandonriffel

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Saying that composite decking is 7-12 times more expensive than treated is a little general do you think? Mine was about 3 times more. I spent about $6000 on a 12x20 Evergrain deck. The treated quote I got for the same was around $1800, but it was very early on, I'm sure that the final total would have been well above $2000. My first Evergrain quote was only $5200.

There are MANY types of composite brands and each brand will have different grades of material. Evergrain had 3 different prices depending on the type and color you wanted.
 

AtticCare

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FirTrader put it well. Redwood looks beautiful, and if you dont mind it turning silver, you never have to treat it, ever. Composites, are like plastic noodles, they smell like plastic, they always look like composite, they hold heat in, did I mention PLASTIC. Look around at the rest of the permanent members of your house, and find JUST ONE other plastic product...........NONE.....for a reason. Unless you are unfortunate enough to have vinyl siding.
 

brandonriffel

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I didn't know this was going to get so nasty that we needed capital letters...

So I assume that you also only own vehicles that are all steel, right? No plastic or fiberglass? My deck is made of COMPOSITE lumber, which means many things. There is some plastic in it, some natural wood, and some recycled wood. It looks great and my neighbors and friends are all jealous. Isn't that the real reason we we do anything, to look good and make others jealous?
 

AtticCare

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If you put a composite deck next to a redwood deck, 10 out of 10 people will tell you the wood looks, smells, feels better. Composite will most likely cost more, perform worse, you must sell it? How bout hot calm days and the smell of oil (voc's) from your petro based material, or how spongy it gets between joists when it is hot, even on 12" centers. Composites add the weight of a couple people to the deck because it is so heavy, if you dont add more joist than normal, the whole deck feels spongy, there is no strength whatsoever in that stuff. Can you even run it at diagonals? Do you have to use 6-8" centers if you do? Composite decking would be a great product, if it were 1/10 the cost, it is in the same league as vinyl siding, but vinyl siding is cheap.
 

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