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Deck input needed
Old 02-13-2009, 03:29 PM   #1
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Deck input needed

In 1987 we had a pressure treated wood deck installed and it needs to be replaced. I have composite decking in mind but I have heard a lot of negatives regarding them. People had issues with mold and fading and I would like to avoid either. I would appreciate any input you might care to give especially if you have a composite deck. TIA
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:46 PM   #2
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Just out of curiosity, why does the deck need replaced?
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:23 PM   #3
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Recommend that you check out Ipe wood is also known as Brazilian walnut ironwood.

Kindest regards,
spncity
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:11 PM   #4
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what is your location? Weather conditions, and local conditions are important. Sun, shade?

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Old 02-14-2009, 04:39 AM   #5
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The deck needs to be replaced because the wood has cupped and bowed. It is in full sun which I am sure hastened its demise. Another deck, installed at the same time on the shady side of the house, is in great shape. I am in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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In addition to the issues you mention, the builders here mention that most types tend to be very slick when wet and they seem to freeze over quicker
We built our large elevated deck from cedar except for the floor which is redwood. It does require the usual maintenance, but it should last a long time and is very attractive. Oh yes, it was expensive.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
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In 1987 we had a pressure treated wood deck installed and it needs to be replaced. I have composite decking in mind but I have heard a lot of negatives regarding them. People had issues with mold and fading and I would like to avoid either. I would appreciate any input you might care to give especially if you have a composite deck. TIA

Trying to think out of the box...does it need to be a deck?

Would a ground-level patio of some type (pavers, poured concrete, stamped concrete, etc.) be workable? Lots less maintenance involved, plus you don't have to worry about someone falling off it.

omni
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:15 AM   #8
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We did an upstairs TREX deck about 9 years ago with a cedar & copper pipe railing. The cedar gets a bunch more mold and slickum on it than the decking. It's also showing it's age much more. The TREX stands up to fierce pressure washing while the cedar can't take it. We expected the color to go to grey, so that's what we started with - don't notice any change from what we started with. The TREX is a composite of sawdust and popbottles, cost, AIR, about 1.5x cedar $$, and the only real negative is we put it down with about a 1/8" spacing and that was too close - either it's swelled or the PT we mounted it to has shrunk, or tree gunk has plugged the most of the gaps. Oh, no splinters. much friendlier that way than PT or cedar.

Also: here in Oregon TREX was sold as being more resistant to black mildew and less slippery than wood.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:05 PM   #9
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Omni the deck is a second story one but thanks for the idea. Cam I appreciate the first hand opinion of Trex. Do you know if the joists have to be closer together then they do with PT?
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:41 PM   #10
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Omni the deck is a second story one but thanks for the idea. Cam I appreciate the first hand opinion of Trex. Do you know if the joists have to be closer together then they do with PT?
We did 16" OC i think - could be 12" - the TREX is about 5/4" thick and really flexible - like pick up a 6"x16' on the flat and it bows so much you fear it will break. Gives a soft feel underfoot. We installed with deck screws and a counter sink, at another place i just sank the screws and whapped the raised edges one time with a hammer - healed the material right over most of the screw head. Trex saws well and routs well - rounded edges at the ends were easy. Kept the scrap and recently used some under some porch posts to get the posts up out of the water - it also takes paint well.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:00 PM   #11
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We have a huge deck, made from TimberTech (similar to Trex). We chose it because we live in a high salt spray area, and wood decks don't last as long as the composites. Also, our intention was to minimize maintenance.We chose to place the joists at 12" OC for additional support, but I'm pretty sure code was 16".

It's only a year old but we already have a problem. It's related to installation as opposed to materials, though. We chose the hidden fasteners instead of screws. They used Tigerclaw fasteners (see below). The problem we have is that when the planks were hammered into the fasteners, many of the tips bent upwards. Add a couple seasons of sun and salt spray and the planks started forming bubbles wherever the bent fasteners are. Now, after a year, the bubbles are starting to pop through. Timbertech denied our claim, saying it wasn't their issue. Our builder is going to have to replace the entire deck, which sucks because he's a nice guy and going through the same slow times as everyone else. But he has promised (in writing) to either replace or pay for a replacement deck.

Overall I'm very happy with the material. Just be careful about the installation. I believe the newer version has grooves on the sides, with fasteners that slide in, sort of tongue and groove style. This should avoid the issue we have.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:26 PM   #12
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Do you plan on replacing the deck supports or just the deck surface? I know several contractors that claim they can usually leave the support in place and just replace the deck boards which is what we are thinking of doing. Our PT Fir deck is in very good shape after 8 yrs of sunny exposure. The boards are a full 1.75 x 5.5 inches (not the thin deck boards I see sometimes). Our deck takes A LOT of maintenance...I have stained it 3 times in 6 yrs, but not much curling and no boards replaced.

I wish I had used composite, but it was "too new" at the time. Neighbor has grey Trex which has weathered nicely to a pale grey. I've notice the newer stuff looks better and is supposed to resist "puffing" around the fasteners. Due to reduced stuctural strength, it does need closer spaced joists.....I think 12" max, but there is also a structural type that is configured like an I-beam and can take 16" joists.

Every year I go to the landscaper's show and ask about a composite overlay and they always say "we're working on it, but it's probably better to just rip out the PT and replace since an overlay would trap moisture against the PT."
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Old 02-15-2009, 03:08 PM   #13
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I used Trex and am pleased. The deck is 3.5 years old. Yes, maybe some fading,
but no warping or other deterioration, and that puts it WAY ahead of treated lumber
IMHO. Never mind I can walk around on it barefooted without feeling like I'm
absorbing poison through the soles of my feet. We just used the specified
square-drive screws, not the underside fasteners with which Harley
had trouble. Yes, it is very weak structurally, so be aware of that. I mostly
used the existing framing; some was 24"-spacing, so we added joists to yield
12"-spacing and it feels great. But other places that were 16"-spacing feel fine too.

For stairs, Trex says to use 2-by (instead of 5/4 thick). I really didn't want to do
this and instead used 5/4 but with 12"-spacing on the stringers. Also, and this is
very important, I supported the "nose" of the treads (the part that sticks out beyond
the riser and which most of your weight comes on when you step) with a 1x2 treated
pine board screwed to the riser underneath; it looks sharp and seems to work well.

Hope this helps ...
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:00 PM   #14
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Jazz we were hoping to keep the deck supports as they are in fine shape. My contractor could easily add joists in between what is already there. Rusty I wondered how Trex was on bare feet, thanks for mentioning that. We don't wear shoes in the house so we don't have shoes on the second floor where the deck is located. I really appreciate all the comments you have all given. This will be an expensive job and I want to make an informed decision. Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:06 PM   #15
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One comment I've heard about the composit decks is that they can be very hot to walk on if they are in the sun. I'm not sure why they would be worse than wood, maybe because the plastics are better insulators so the heat is not dissipated, it just "sits" on the surface? I dunno.

I've used some for some outdoor projects where I wanted to avoid the maintenance issues of wood. It's really nice for that. Saws clean, you can file the edges nice and round. Screws seem to strip out pretty easy though, if you try to screw one piece to another.


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Old 02-16-2009, 06:06 PM   #16
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I built two decks in the last three years; used a product called EVERGRAIN. It looks great after a couple of years. No cupping, warping, cracking, etc. Maintenance -free, just hose it off. Installs with special torx composite screws, I pre-drilled (snapped lines to satisfy my AR tendencies) and used an 18v impact driver, but a drill would probably work OK. My wife loves it because she can walk on it barefoot without fear of splinters. It has a nice woodgrain texture, and doesn't look like it is made out of sawdust and old milk jugs recycled materials like trex. Cost was around $2.50/lin ft for 1x6 material. It was a bit cheaper than Trex and a lot better looking- my biggest peeve with many of the composite deck products is that they are hollow and don't look good unless the ends are capped- this stuff is solid, and the color goes all the way through.

I used the 1" nominal thickness at 16" OC It was a breeze to work with; cuts and planes like butter.
It comes in 16' and 20' lengths, so you can avoid a lot of seams on smaller projects.

On my projects, I also used it for the rail caps, but not the balusters or rails. No cuppping or warping like wood top rail caps. I used 4x4's for the rails, 8x8's for the posts and 3/4" painted rebar for the balusters.

The only drawback is that it is heavy, and very flexible until you get it installed. Carrying a 20' piece is like wrestling a 50-lb wet noodle.

Will send you photos by pm if you are interested.
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:07 PM   #17
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The Timbertech is also solid and colored all the way through, with a nice wood grain finish. As far as the heat, I haven't noticed it being any worse than wood. Same with slipperiness. Just avoid those @$^% Tigerclaws and you'll probably be quite satisfied.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:00 PM   #18
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One comment I've heard about the composit decks is that they can be very hot to walk on if they are in the sun. I'm not sure why they would be worse than wood, maybe because the plastics are better insulators so the heat is not dissipated, it just "sits" on the surface? I dunno.
I'd bet they are both the same temperature, but the composite decking may feel hotter. This is probably a function of the density of wood vs composites (higher density = more heat energy stored per unit of volume) and the heat capacities of the two substances (ability to give up heat). The composite decking is a lot more dense than wood, and probably transfers heat to the bottoms of the feet a lot more efficiently.
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:39 AM   #19
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Hi Shoe,
I'm a decking contractor and have built 100's of decks of all kinds. I suggest Eon decking which is all plastic with no fillers. They have a tongue in groove product that installs with no exposed fastners and it has a 25 year warrentee. They also have a matching rail system.
I also recommend Ipe wood decking. It's beautiful heavy, dense wood that I believe will last forever. It's hard to work with but the end result is amazing. I use ebty hidden fastner system and buy plugs for the boards next to the house.
I've built many composite decks, It's nice to work with and looks great when installed correctly, but I question how they will hold up over time. It's the filler that's the problem. Some products do a better job of encapsulating the filler so it's not exposed. I've seen a lot of fading and even some delaminating. If you decide to go with a composite make sure it has a 20 as opposed to a 10 year warrentee.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:50 PM   #20
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I'm a decking contractor and have built 100's of decks of all kinds. I suggest Eon decking which is all plastic with no fillers.
The Eon product looks very much like the E-Wood product that we used for our deck. Our E-Wood deck was installed about 8 years ago and looks almost like new. Yearly maintenance involves one application of mold & mildew killer in the spring, light scrub and rinse, and we're done for the year. The deck gets a little hot under the midday summer sun but not unreasonably so. No noticeable fading -- I'm thinking that Eon would be similar in that respect.

Downsides are us are that this deck tends to catch tree debris in between the planks. Our deck is right under two gigantic Douglas Fir trees so we get a lot of debris. E-wood is a bit slippery when wet or icy. E-wood isn't made anymore but it looks like Eon is the modern version of that same product.

Upside for us is that it is VERY easy care. And it looks so good that guests are often observed reaching down to touch it to see if it is real wood or not.

That said, my sister is happy with her Trex deck. She knew that Trex color fades over time and she factored that in when she chose a color for her deck.

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