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Building a deck - Wood (IPE) versus composite (TimberTech)


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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 gregstaten

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Posted April 14 2003 - 08:05 AM

Now that spring is FINALLY arriving in New England, it is time to build a couple of decks off the back of the house. I was all ready to build it with a good hardwood such as ipe, but have had a couple of friends recommend that I look at building it with a composite decking material such as TimberTech or Trex.

I have to admit that they composites have a few nice features, including very little maintenance and appear to be easier to work with than ipe. (Ipe also have very little maintenance, but is so hard that you have to predrill them and they're tough to cut.)

Have any of you built (or had built) decks using TimberTech or a similar composite decking? How do you like the deck? What did you use for the railings?

Thanks!

-greg

#2 of 13 Craig Robertson

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Posted April 14 2003 - 12:44 PM

i used Trex for the decking material for my back porch about 5 or 6 years ago. it has held up extremely well, requiring zero maintanence. we painted it with porch paint and it has worn like iron, only problem is cosmetic where my teenager scraped the edge of the deck when he drug the lawnmower over it.Posted Image
i've been very happy with it and would certainly use it again. in fact, having replaced the rotting natural wood back porch with Trex, i'd have a hard time using natural wood again.

since Trex is not load bearing, you have to build the structure of the railing out of natural wood and can then run Trex around the top to match the deck material.

#3 of 13 DonnyD

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Posted April 14 2003 - 01:07 PM

Being in the contracting business, I get lots of opportunities to build decks although few opt for the more expensive composite decking materials. Last year though, a friend had me build him a deck hanging off a cliff, multilevel, using composite and it turned out wonderfully. I clipped the corners to add interesting lines, added custom metal railings and he still loves it.
When advertising composite vrs wood, I always say...." for older persons, you won't get splinters in your feet... but for younger folks, you won't get splinters in your butt"...........
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#4 of 13 Kirk Gunn

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Posted April 14 2003 - 02:25 PM

We've got the grey Timbertech and highly recommend it. Only maintenance is a quick pressure wash 2x a year. Beats staining/sealing any day !

Railings are wood and that is our only maintenance headache.

#5 of 13 Curt_Dennis

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Posted April 14 2003 - 11:59 PM

Well, since I work for the Crane company that makes Timbertech, I'd have to say go for Timbertech! LOL! Seriously though, if you want a low/no maintenance, long lasting deck then I'd use a composite decking...whether it's Timbertech or not. For those with 2 story decks, I'd also recommend checking out Dryspace Deck Drainage. It basically makes underneath the upper deck usable to sit under even if it's raining or for storage. Got any other questions, let me know.

#6 of 13 Jay H

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Posted April 15 2003 - 01:33 AM

My father has a Trex deck in the back. It still uses natural timber for the supports as Craig R states, the Trex isn't load bearing. But it looks nice and is certainly maintenance-free. The edging on the borders are also wood, but for the most part, we like the Trex and it seems worthwhile to us as the house is a vacation home and not full-time residence. Who wants a vacation home when you have to go there and work! Posted Image

Jay
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#7 of 13 gregstaten

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Posted April 15 2003 - 02:35 AM

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

Quote:
For those with 2 story decks, I'd also recommend checking out Dryspace Deck Drainage. It basically makes underneath the upper deck usable to sit under even if it's raining or for storage.


I actually will have a 2-story deck. (A 12 x 12 will hang out over a portion of the larger lower deck.) So how does this work? Does it channel along the whet holes in the tongue and groove planks? I live in New England and will have lots of freezing rain and snow in the winter months. Are there issues with using it in those conditions?

-greg

#8 of 13 Curt_Dennis

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Posted April 15 2003 - 04:23 AM

Greg,
I'm actually not sure about that. You can look at www.dryspace.cc or you can call 888-379-0674 to speak with our customer sales department and they can answer your questions. I've designed the website to list the retailers where you can buy it and look at it in person by state.

#9 of 13 Patrick_S

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Posted April 15 2003 - 04:45 AM

Although I have never used the composite products for decking the decks I have looked out that were certainly did look nice.

Last year I helped build a deck using Ipe and the deck fastening system EBTY. It took a little longer because of the EBTY system but the end results were very nice.

Since Donny is in the business he could probably answer this question, what if any are the pricing differences between composite and real wood? I know composite doesn’t have the maintenance costs but I'm just interested in the actually material costs.

#10 of 13 Jordan_E

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Posted April 15 2003 - 08:29 AM

I've been looking at prices via local ads and there is a price hike compared to regular wood, but what I've read here is really convincing me to serious chose the composite, as I am NOT a fan of upkeep duties!
And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

#11 of 13 Denward

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Posted April 15 2003 - 08:45 AM

I've had a Trex deck for about 5 years and I think it's great stuff. It doesn't really try to look like wood other than the width of the boards. It was originally brown, but weathered to light gray within a year. No splinters, no staining, no rotting, and not slippery when wet. I believe it's about 20% more expensive than wood.
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#12 of 13 gregstaten

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Posted April 15 2003 - 09:47 AM

Thanks for the info, Curt. I'll give 'em a call. I have a TimberTech certified contractor coming out to give me a bid on Thursday.

-greg

#13 of 13 waxmonk

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Posted May 29 2011 - 01:58 PM

I have a Timbertech deck also.  We only pressure wash once a year and have to stain the rails every year.  I even painted the top rail for more durability with Sherwin Williams Duration.  (No I'm not a paid blogger-dude.  But I do paint houses in the summer.)