Timbertech Decking

doc2379November 29, 2008

I just noticed that the interlocking planks in my timbertech deck, at less than one year of age, are "cupping" and creaking. It was solid and smooth until recently. The deck was built in cool weather and seemed fine throughout our hot Summer. The weather has just turned cool in the past few weeks (mid-November). There is 13 feet of open air under the deck and the problem is present in all areas of the deck, sunny as well as shaded. I live on the gulf coast of North Florida. Does anyone out there have any suggestions how I should proceed? I plan to meet with the distributer's representative next week. Any predictions? Thanks for any helpful suggestions.

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Joe my Man,part of buying into man made decking is living with the problems they all have. J.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 11:40PM
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Gosh, John. You must have misread my post. I asked for HELPFUL suggestions. Have a nice day.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 1:43PM
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After all the smoke clears you will remember that as the most helpfull suggestion you ever got. J.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 5:38PM
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Maybe the joists have dried a bit and shrunk. Are the fasteners accessible? You could try tightening them down, unless it is a hidden fastening system.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 12:27PM
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Its T&G material dude. Sounds like normal stuff hapening with the weather changes. J.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 6:08PM
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John, What is T&G? If the problem is due to the weather, will it self-correct when the warm weather comes back? Do you know of other specific instances where this has happened with TimberTech decking? I'm thinking I might be able to get in touch with someone with experience dealing with this problem and dealing with The TimberTech people.
Thanks for the info! Joe

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 7:29PM
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TT interlocking planks = tounge & Grove material = T&G

Composite mateiral moves with the weather its the nature of man made stuff. Unless the Contractor ran the screw right thru the slot thus not conecting with the deaking at all the rest sounds completley normal.

My experience in dealing with TT reps is they are a straight up outfit that fixes a real problem on the spot.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Thanks for the great data in your response, John. I appreciate the education; I'm truely a newbie! Can I ask you, if there is a slot in the TimberTech decking, is the contractor supposed to put the screw in the slot or avoid the slot? Is the purpose of the slot to allow the material to contract and expand without binding, like in the installation of vinyl siding? Could that be why it is "cupping". If that is the cause, is the solution to replace the fasteners in the correct position? Thanks in advance for answering what are probably stupid questions. Joe

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 9:34PM
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Joe... go on out and look at your deck........................................I got time go on.....................

If you dont see any fasteners in that TimberTech decking,if you do see a grouve every 5 ''in the middle and after looking more closely see little weep slots every three ft or so and if you ask your Contractor is this Timber Tech T&G material and he says Yes. Its Tember Tech T&G decking.
This stuff is put down with one screw per joist runing thru the T then the next one slides into that T thus exposing the next T where the next screw goes. The only way the Man can screw this up is pushing the screw compleatly thru the plastic/wood plank.

That most probley did not happen.

The material is already made to allow for weather changes/drainage to the point possible. However its not going to just lay there like a spiked heeled hooker on a sat night. Its going to move as the weather changes the same as any other man made product. If you really want to get at it find the install instrustions for the decking..read them...compare your install to the instrustions then ask your Contractor the same questions your posting over here.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 9:27AM
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I assume we're talking about TimberTech Floorizon decking here? Their installation instructions say over and over:

"Without adequate ventilation, the top surface is typically dry and underneath the deck could be damp from moisture and or humidity. This, in some cases, may cause the Floorizon profile to cup slightly."

Sounds like it may be a moisture problem of some sort.

I just installed a TimberTech deck - but it was their solid XLM stuff and not the hollow Floorizon.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 12:48PM
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The project is 13' high with open air all around.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 2:01PM
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The planks interlock but there are no slots for fasteners. Its built like T&G wood paneling with "weep" holes in the tongue side. The groove side is reinforced along the enlarged lower part of the edge where the screw will penetrate the material then into the joist, but there are no slots for fasteners on this side. Also, there are no indications along that edge as to where fasteners should be placed.
I couldn't see any fasteners by looking up at the underside of the deck -- my sight was blocked by the joists into which they were screwed.
Something else I noticed while inspecting the deck thia AM -- the "cupping", or elevation of the edges of the planks, is not occurring on the 1/4 of the deck that was installed last, which is mostly 12' planks instead of 20'. It also doesn't occur on the landings. Could it be a bad lot # in the first material delivered, even though I got it from two different local lumberyards? Some of the planks in that last 1/4 are 20'-- about 6 or 7 of them, and they are unaffected, so it is probably not related to length of material(?).
Could it be related to the technique of installation on the first 3/4 of the deck? The installation instructions say only to assure good ventilation, which I have.
Anybody else out there that has any ideas on this problem is invited to participate.
John, thanks again for your interest in my problem. You seem like a man who sees a mysterious problem as a challenge. Joe

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 2:10PM
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So its most probley Floorizon Timber Tech decking.

Way are you not saying all this to your Conractor???

Install is pretty much straight forward. Its actually not mysterious at all the little edges might just come up a little no big deal, defentley not a problem. J.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 7:02PM
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John, Thanks for the reply. The "contractor" is a local fellow and a couple of his friends. If they made the mistake, I'll have to eat it.

The reason for my inquiry in this forum is to learn the usual problems and their solution as well as the expected responses from the manufacturer when you have my particular problem.

If the edges being "up" is no big deal, so be it. However, when I see a undesirable change in my new deck after it is perfect for 6 months, I fear a deterioration of condition which will negativly impact my enjoyment of the deck in the future. It just doesn't feel as good underfoot. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I still think the prudent approach to any problem is to learn everything you can about it. That's why I seek data from experts, such as you, in forums such as this.

Thanks again for your input. If you think of anything else that I should consider while dealing with this problem, please let me hear from you.

Joe (doc2379)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 7:51PM
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UPDATE - The planks are not "cupping". The problem is the top of the groove is buckling upward. It is still to be determined if the planks were installed with too much force or the groove was misshapened and allowed the tongue to slide too far into the groove; but one thing's for sure, the tongue is too far into the groove. The builder says no force was used to lay the decking; it was laid down and joined with no force or tools before screwing down the edge. A "shoulder" in the groove is supposed to prevent insertion beyond the proper point without signficant force (according to the mfg rep). The representative from Timbertech took a scrap of material back to the company for analysis. I guess we wait to see what they say after they test and measure the sample. We'll see.

Anyone out there have experiece with this problem as revised? J.H., what do you think?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 8:27PM
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If I remember right TT wants the weep slots to show after install. This makes for a silly look so most dont do it including myself. Now will this make the stuff rise up or curl at the top leval? who knows. The only time one of my jobs did that lacked the cross ventalation reqired or so they said. Anyway it was close to the ground with the whole 35' 18'' high frount area open. J.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 2:09PM
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Right you are, J.H.! The instructions state that the weep slots sould show and mine don't. I guess I'm at TT's mercy. Unless there is a mfg defect and it is admitted by TimberTech, I'll have to learn to live with it or pay out of pocket to fix it.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 7:20AM
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TimberTech is a straight up outfit they deal with Customer Problems fairley. I have seen this first hand. They are at a 180 compaired to trex or t=junk. If this little curl really bothers you the only way to fix it is take all the material up and reinstall however it is possible to remove the trouble area and face fasten the transition.

Deal with TT straight up too they might work with you. J.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 10:09AM
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TimberTech has been terrific in helping me solve the problem of apparent cupping. They went far beyond what they were legally required to do under warranty. What a nice group of people!! A GREAT bunch to do business with. Call me and I'll tell you about it -- Doc at 850-349-2196

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 1:13AM
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Good Show Doc!! TT has a great track record dealing with uuhappy Wallets.

One thing it might be a good idea not to post a phone number on a public site. J.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 3:55PM
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The decking material really sucks. I have seen warping, uneven surface, water collection due to chipping and all the problems that synthetic deck was not supposed to have. Go for less expensive treated lumber and deck paint it with newer material available from Lowes or Home depot. It is not easy to replace defective synthetic decks. Installing them is a royal pain too. Someone from the company was supposed to get back with me 8 weeks ago, just got an e.mail asking me to submit photos again! Whats' goign on eh?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 8:37AM
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