Composite Decking

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Bejoy, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Bejoy

    Bejoy Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi All,

    I am planning to build a deck with composite material. The brands I am looking at are the lower end ones, Veranda( from HD) and ChoiceDek(from Lowes). I really liked the Veranda stuff, but was told their railings are not code compliant. The ChoiceDek stuff was rough(splinters), which surprised me as that was what composites are not supposed to be. Anybody has any experiences with these? Positive? Negative?

    Any other opinions?

    Bejoy
     
  2. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    I looked into getting composites when I built my deck. Then I went to a banquet facility that had it on their decks and in all of the traffic areas, there was what looked like ground in dirt that totally ruined the look of the deck. So instead I went with real wood, Ipe - looks great and wears like iron. I use australian timber oil on it every other year or so but that is just to keep the deep red look that I like.
     
  3. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    That wood is like iron. I have some questions.

    1. Was it hard to find?
    2. How did you attach the boards to the frame?
     
  4. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    I used a system called ebty. See here -

    http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product...70&filter=deck

    You have to cut a biscuit slot and then predrill for each stainless screw at every joist on each side of the deck board. You also use liquid nails as well. It was a royal pain in the ass and took twice as long as traditional materials. But for $4,000 in materials I have a deck that would've cost me $20,000 to have built. (I have all of the tools and I used to swing a hammer) I built regular pressure treated framing and then built the decking, railings and skirtboards out of Ipe. Can't see any PT anywhere.

    The best thing about this system is there are no visible fasteners. People always ask how I did it.

    It wasn't hard to find in my area (CT) Cost was a little more than Mahogany.
     
  5. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    MarkMel thanks for the answers. That decking system is the exact one I'm going to use. I first saw it a few years ago on Hometime and the finished deck looked great.

    Ipe and this system are definately the way I'm going to go with my new deck.
     
  6. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    Excellent, any other questions, let me know. I've build quite a few decks.

    You might also want to pick up one of these;

    http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product...86&filter=deck

    The Ipe I got wasn't warped that much at all but this really helped pulling the boards in and holding them there while I drilled and screwed. Kept the spacing consistant. Also get two drills, one for the drilling and one for the screwing. And multiple square drive bits, you will round a few over.

    I thought of using this system;

    http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product...71&filter=deck

    but, my deck isn't high enough off of the ground to get under it and the thought of drilling and screwing with my arms in that position from underneath wasn't pretty. If I couldv'e been comfortably under my deck I might've used it.
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    is there a particular reason you didn't go with a more popular brand of composite, like trex? just curious...was it a cost thing or something else?

    mark, sounds like you know your decks. what do you think of the composite materials (regardless of brand)?

    i suppose i'm not really against the idea of regular maintenance for wood ... but it just seems that the composite stuff would be maintenance free ... which i suppose is a plus.
     
  8. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    I didn't like the way it held up. It stained in the traffic areas and, on some installs that I saw that were 5+ years old, it started to sag between the joists.

    I liked the idea of low maintenance too but, you couldn't fix these issues on composite like you can with wood.

    Plus, I really don't like plastic anything on my house, cedar clap, no vinyl anywhere except the vinyl clad windows, wood interiors though.

    They may have improved the composites but, how do you fix them if you have an issue like a scratch or a stain? With wood you can just sand it down. I don't think you can do that with a composite. Nope you can't, see here;
    http://www.trex.com/Universal/produc...ndcleaning.asp

    You can't do any of the fixes that you can do with wood.
     
  9. Jim Sentry

    Jim Sentry Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Mark

    Thanks for that link. I am having built a 5x40 deck built next to my pool and was considering using composite decking.

    It seems stupid to do that now.
     
  10. David Jones

    David Jones Agent

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    Bejoy,
    We've got a Trex deck, built six years ago. My neighbor has a wood deck built at the same time. We like the feel of Trex (smooth surface, no splinters), otherwise we don't see much wear difference between our trex and our neighbor's wood deck. Both have held up well. We do notice dirt stains more but I think that's because we put on a god-awful mustard stain (it seemed nice at the time). Good luck on your choice.
     
  11. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    No problem,

    Not putting down composites but if your a person like me who does all of his own work, builds furniture etc, real wood was the choice when I compared the two.
     
  12. Bejoy

    Bejoy Stunt Coordinator

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    The first material I looked at was red wood, which is the most common around here. It was ~$2.75/sq.ft and that was my budget. Then some more looking and found that I can get to composites(Veranda/ChoiceDEk) for ~$3.50/sq.ft. And for less than a dollar more, if I can get a no maintenance deck, then I can afford it :). The next set of composites(Trex etc) are more than $4.5/sq.ft and Ipe I believe cost more than composites. So, my choices are limited by my budget.

    Another thing I was considering is the return of investment as I don't plan to live in this house for more than 5 yrs. Once it is put on the market, does it make a difference if I used expensive material or not?

    Bejoy
     
  13. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    I plan on staying in my house. Which is why I often spare no expense on materials. Couldn't do that if I was paying for labor as well. I have 6 nice acres and prior to starting the first phase of the addition that we are in the middle of we went and looked at other houses in our area to see if we should just get a different house. We looked at 8 houses and we decided that we like our property the best so on go the additions.

    If you're not planning on staying, a nice deck regardless of the material will be a selling point. Make it nice and big, bigger decks invite one to spend more time on them without feeling crowded out.

    Once the second phase of the addition begins, you will see my posts/questions regarding a dedicated but small HT. [​IMG]
     

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