Plastic decking... how is it holding up?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dave Poehlman, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

    Mar 8, 2000
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    I'll be in the market for a new deck next spring and have been looking into that no-maintenance plastic decking. However, I've heard that it can warp over time.

    The reason I ask is I just got back from the park where I saw a bench made of the stuff and it looked like a 400 lb man had sat in the middle of it. Although, in the decking's defense, the bench did have a poor design to it and didn't offer a lot of support.

    Also, we took the boy to a park recently that had a huge cedar play structure topped with plastic decking. I noticed some of the hand rails and steps were getting pretty worn. Again, in the decking's defense, this stuff was receiving more than average foot traffic for a deck. However, this place was only a year or two old.

    So, those of you who own or know someone who owns plastic decking... how's it holding up?
  2. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

    Feb 26, 2001
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    There are many brands of "engineered" decking and they're all quite different. What is said about one clearly will not apply to another.

    We had our deck built from Trex ( about 8 years ago. Simplistically, I believe Trex is made from sawdust, recycled milk cartons, and glue. It's a solid material, not hollow. It will sag if it's not properly supported, but if you build it according specs (i.e. 16 inches, or whatever, between floor joists), it won't be a problem. Trex is not structurally weight bearing so my posts and joists are regular pressure treated wood. The floor and rails are Trex.

    My deck doesn't look like it's made of wood, but I think the Trex outperforms wood. It doesn't splinter. It doesn't get slippery when wet. It doesn't need staining or sealing. They don't try to fake a woodgrain appearance. I would say it has the texture and feel of really smooth wood, but without any grain. You should be aware that the Trex I bought changed color over the years. I'm not sure if the product they now sell still behaves the same way.

    Whatever you're considering, get samples and ask for references so that you can see a real deck and talk to the homeowner about the product.

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