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Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Posted by Yakuta (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 23, 05 at 11:34

I am looking to build a deck and have been considering wood and composite.

I like composites due to the low maintenance factor but I hear that the attractive low maintenance is not really what it claims to be. I have heard a lot of negative things about Trex - overheating, spotting etc.

I am not sure if there are any other composites that people have had good experiences with. If I go with wood is cedar the only option or are there others.

Also I live in the Chicago vicinity, if anyone can share good experiences with a company they used I would appreciate it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Timber Tech T&G many projects out with happy customers,,I dont want to start it all over again so I wont say any thing about trex. And of course Ipe. John


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

More dubious advice from John. I don't recommend composite at all. I've run into more unhappy customers than happy. Looks okay to start with, no so great in a few years...and you're stuck with it. Not to mention the cracking and splitting.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

OMG, I got another wantabe on my asss,well come on down Kev, lets see what you got.John


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Nothing personal, John. I'd hate to see Yakuta spending big $$$, then regretting it in a few years.

Yakuta, if the composite "look" is what you're going for, and you've seen what it looks like after 3 - 5 years of UV exposure, it's a good choice. If no maintenance is your goal, you'll be disappointed with the appearance and maintenance.


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Yakuta,
if you're open to suggestions and low maint is your goal. Would a patio be a option for you?
BTW, I'm from chicago and when I lived there I had a big ole cedar deck, which I was a slave to. My next door neighbor had a paver patio, and I never seen him do anything to it.
just my 2 cents.

-jasper


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The reason I asked was exactly because of what Kevin stated. I have heard that a few years down the road composites have their own set of problems. I don't have money to burn and I am trying to do this to make my life easier but if I have to face what Kevin mentioned I might as well factor in restaining costs every year and go with wood.

Jasper, I have a walk out lot and I intend to go with a patio at my walkout level. I know patio's are really fashionable but I somehow always preferred a deck. I want a deck outside of my kitchen slider on my main level.

I also have a seperate sun room so I have all three things covered.

Can anyone comment on composite or any other options for deck ballisters. I was planning on doing ballisters in a different material and then stick with the traditional cedar for decking.

I have seen some pretty fancy ballisters around the area where I live but I am clueless as to what material are used to make these impressive looking ballisters. I am not looking for a huge deck but am concerned about the look being appropriate to my house.


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"Not to mention the cracking and splitting"

I'd like to know more about this...I'm assuming you're talking about composites. Any pictures? How was the warranty handled?

Seems like a major claim since most composite companies say that won't happen with their materials.


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Yakuta,
My DH and I just had a built and like you, we were wondering about future problems with materials. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything that is maintenance free.
We found composite to be: a)expensive-more than the cedar we ended up going with, b) DH didn't like the "plastic" look some of it had, and c)too new in our area with regards to weathering and general longetivity.
With regards to balusters, check out the Deckorator website. We have some powder coated aluminum balusters that look great. They also have some tempered glass balusters that I had never seen before. Good luck.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

All,

Seems kevinw may have alterior motives. He sells sealants for wood decks and masonary products. No wonder why he doesn't like composites. They don't need his products.

What kevinw said is absolutely not true as a general statement. I have seen 7 year old composite decks that look almost brand new. I own a 4 year old composite deck that still looks brand new with zero maintenance.

John's advise is solid and he will have lots of support on this forum.

The old Trex composite (which John absolutely condems) does what kevinw claims, and everyone should stay away from it. I don't think they even sell it anymore. You can also find lots of people that are happy with it, as well. Everyone judges differently.

I think Trex's new products are much improved. As far as what does have a good track record:
Weatherbest
Correctdeck
Timber Tech
Premier

Any of these composites do well and stand up over time.

Ipe is still probably the best decking material, but you do have to maintain it or let it go grey.


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O.K. so what is IPE - I read some other discussions on this forum but did not see any sites or references for it. Also how can I find out if a specific deck installer will use it or not. It is wood alright and there is maintenance which I can live with I just want to ensure I will get what I asked for and not something different.

My siding with Kevin and not John is not intended to spark off a fight or argument on this forum. I came here looking for some genuine advice and I appreciate all comments.

I live in an area that is heavily wooded and mold spores are a problem around me so I am still contemplating what to do and what to go with.


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Stamped concrete is another choice,man that stuff looks really good. I never seen composite split and crack,a lot of them mold up, scrach up,and stain up from almost anything that lands on it, wine,greese, discared parts of birds, things like that. One thing I did on my outside stairs,I used choice 5/4 planks for the treads right over them are a bunch of trouble tree branches that drip some wierd stuff and of course the bird stuff, I got tired of cleaning it off all the time so I used a twp stripper and put two coats of 116 rustic on them. That was like 5 years ago and the rain still just washes everything off,nothing gets in the material anymore. John


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I decided to add to my last post to be fair.

Composites are relatively new and there have been a lot of different products come and go. The industry is going through the "infancy" shake out process. Some products have not done well and probably aren't around anymore. Others did not meet their claims or people's perception and got a bad rep (Trex's original product).

If you buy a composite, you should do some investigation to assure yourself it is a decent product. The "properties" of the composites are pretty well known now, so they should perform as you expect these days. I have a 2 year old deck made from Weatherbest and it has done well by me.

The majority (and the better performing ones) of composites are made from polyethelene plastic, CorrectDeck is polypropelene which is just as good, maybe better. This is what plastic milk jugs are made out of and the composites are recycled milk jugs and wood mixtures. I think we are doing a good thing by keeping milk jugs out of land fills.

Any other plastic has not proven to be durable to weather over time. Even the colorants used for polyethelene have not always done well. For the most part they do fade over time. If color fade is a problem for you, there are a few composites that have been improved in that regard, I don't know which ones, but you should limit yourself to those.

All composites will stain and do need occasional cleaning, a pressure washer works well. They do not need yearly sealing or painting and this is where the big time savings in maintenance is realized. Any of the polyethelene composites absolutely do NOT crack or splinter, so that issue goes away.

The only deck board I would say is truly maintenance free is Carefree Decking by US Plastic Lumber (or another 100% polyethelene board). It is 100% polyethelene plastic, no wood. I own a 4 year old deck made of this and it looks brand new with only 2 cleanings in 4 years. I bought the grey boards which have not faded and I like their look. The other colors, especially wood colors look very fake. The boards are shiny when new, but have worn to a nice "patina" over the years. I can just tell this stuff will last. I looked at about 6 deck samples that were left out in a lumber yard, un-attended, for a couple of years and this product was the only one that looked brand new. The old Trex was there and looked really bad.

As far as railing go, I used Fiberail by Fiberon which is white vinyl over a fiberglass core and it has held up well for me.


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Yakuta,
Sorry to disappoint some of the contributors, but I don't have an ulterior motive. However, I do run into a lot of disgruntled composite deck owners! The previous post is accurate, the materials are fairly new, lots of evolution going on with them. They last a very long time, period.

The complaints I run into fall into 3 categories...1) don't like the way it looks after a few years of UV and 2)cracking, and 3)bad construction.

I would encourage you to take a look at different products after they've been out at least 2 years...that's what it's going to look like.

Regarding the cracks, I've seen it happen in a number of different mfrs. products...even some of those listed as better solutions. I don't know if this is an QC issue, but they're pretty unsightly and seem to continue to chip out once they start.

Per the bad construction, this stuff makes good flooring and decent railing IF the support structure is done properly...I would suggest 18" centers for the floor joists.

Ipe, aka brazilian walnut, is pretty stinking bullet proof. It's beautiful, will never rot...and you can drive nails with it, very dense/heavy. Pricey to build, and pricey to maintain. Recommended maintenance is monthly oiling which is a big pain.

I've seen several contributors on this forum suggest sealing with a number of OTC sealants. The decks we've been called to work on have used these sealants with bad results. Ipe's dark color creates a challenge getting those sealants off, anything that will take off the sealant bleaches the wood...which you don't want...most people buy it for the dark, rich color and durability.

If low maintenance is your goal, ipe is probably not the most likely suspect for medium.

As you can see, lots of personal preferences on these subjects. Do your research, find the one that fits your needs the best, and get that deck going! I'm sure you'll be happy with the end results.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Kevin thank you. Yes monthly staining is not an option given I live in Chicago and the weather year is by no means going to permit that. The winter months are out of the question to do any babysitting of the deck.

I will continue to do research and maybe wait a year now to ensure I make a fairly good decision. It will never be completely full proof (sounds like no solution is totally maintenance free) but atleast it will be a more educated decision.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Yakuta, I am not an expert like some of the posters above, but we are in our third year with a porch/deck made of Evergrain by Epoch, in a gray finish. We love it, although the color has faded (ever so slightly) differently in the uncovered portion (as we fully expected). As for maintenance, once or twice a year we apply a solution of oxiclean and power wash off (with a relatively gentle household-type power washer). It does have one minor gouge from what I don't remember, but it still looks great overall. I'd recommend the composite.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

These postings were from last June. I'm just beginning to look into building a deck. I'm wondering what decking materials you ended up with and how you feel about the choice now. Btw, I also am located in the Chicago area.


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Great discussion. we're replacing our old deck and are also on the "NO or very LOW" maintenance wagon. We've decided to go with IPE and let it go silver. I figure if the boardwalks in san diego and jersey can let it go silver, so can I! Someday, if we want that hardwood floor deck look, we can always sand/stain/seal it. but for now, it appears the most bullet proof decking out there. (we live in seattle). biggest decision now is handrails - We need a "craftsman" look but want no maintenance. I'm skeptical of the man-made ballisters - I think the white will yellow over time and then we'll be back to painting them. keep the discussion going! diane


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As most of these posts are from last year, I would like to know if anything has changed. Are there any composites that are a good deal with little to no maintenance? Is ipe still the best bet for little maintenance if you let it go silver? My local lumber yard sells Fiberon and Trex. Should I drive on by?
We have two decks to replace and a new one to build. With three decks you can understand why I want little maintenance.
Thanks for all input.


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I've helped friends and family install a dozen or so decks over the last 8 years, almost all of them Trex. I had nothing to do with the decision to go with Trex for any of those projects; I was just used for braun for the install.

Every one of those decks looks about as good as the day they were installed with only a little fading. Maintenance has consisted of a biennial brushing on a cleaner with a push broom and rinsing off with a VERY light power washing.

I am planning to build my own deck in the next few weeks. You'd think that Trex would be a given but I have been somewhat freaked out at some of the stories I've read. I've tried to find actual data on failure rates of Trex, but all I can find are anecdotes.

On the information scale, personal experience trumps third-party anecdotes from people that I don't know personally. If I can't find any actual data, I'll probably end up with Trex and an initial double coat of a sealer, such as SunFrog, since the permeability of Trex appears to be the root cause of most of the anecdotal issues.

- Tony


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Listen, I've seen good Trex installs (I did 'em) and poor ones (don't know who did those). The ones I did look great, take the sun and freezing conditions with no problem at all.

I've hear a lot about mold issues and 'hot' decks and all that...I just don't see it.


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If someone will explain to me how to attach a photo to a post, I will post a photo of a Trex Brasilia deck that is less than one year old with visible black mold spots all over it.


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Any thoughts on Tendura as a composite? We are building a craftsman style house w/wrap around porch and want a period look porch. I do not want it to look like a deck. Our choices are basically stone (very expensive), tendura tongue and groove (we would paint) or tongue and groove wood. We have pretty much decided on the tendura over wood because of the maintenance. Doesn't seem tendura ever gets brought up here, don't know why?


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I brought home a sample of the latest and greatest Trex product - Trex Brasilia - from the lumber yard this spring. At room temp and in the shade the stuff is extremely soft - I can easily put 1/8" deep gouges in it by running my car keys across it at just moderate pressure. You would have to be nuts to buy this stuff. I like Weatherbest decking - much harder than trex because of less cheap ingrediants (less ground up wood content,)


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Re: Tendura
If you are going to paint it, why incur the added expense of a composite? I would think you will have to paint plastic more often than you would regular wood.


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Actually I found this site looking for info on Tendura,a quick read of the instalation instuctions is the first red flag, it requires a lot of fall in the frame,the weather regulates how it is put down and if you cant prove you did it right the warrenty is void.It has to be painted, last time I checked it comes with a prime coat. The t&g material is installed running away from the house and counts on the heavy pitch for drainage. John


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We were at lumber yard yesterday, getting some preliminary costs. Our guy said alot of people were buying Oasis Decking by Alcoa. It is composed of yellow pine wood flour and hd polyethylene. Has a wood fiber content of + 50%. They claim it is very dense and installs just like wood; saying you can rout or miter all you want. It also says any mold and mildew will only be on the surface. Any thoughts from anyone?


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I'm replacing the decking and railing on an existing wooden deck because of paint flaking, rot and termites. There are some structural considerations that I'm just not sure about. The existing 2x12 joists are spaced 23-1/2" on center. If I replace the existing 2x6 planks with 5/4x6 I will have to add additional 2x8 joists in between the 2x12s. TimberTech Floorizons is the only product that I can use without adding additional joists. (Anyone have any experience with this product?)

If I add additional joists and use 5/4x6, I'm concerned about whether the existing structure will support the additional weight. How do I calculate whether or not my existing structure will support composites?


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Connie,all mold and mildew is on the surface,unless its trex that had it coming from the inside as well, and over time that mold will get into the material deep down.

No way of telling if your frame is worth saving Tom,not enough info to tell anything far as structure goes. TT T&G material will span a 24'' on center joist system just fine and its probley lighter then your wood decking but again most of the time if the decking is total rot and termites its time for Demo and start again. John


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John, the existing joists and beam look sound. The deck is 13'7" deep and 14'11" wide. The ledger, rim joist and support joists are 2x12, 23-1/2" OC. All of this sits on a 4x14 solid beam on two 4x4s about 9' from the wall with about a 4' overhang. The 4x4 posts are on a concrete patio with a U-bracket with two bolts through. I'm going to add 2x8 joists in between the 2x12 joists to support the planks. Since I posted earlier, my FIL estimated the weight of the deck using Trex 5/4x6 at about 2500 lbs. and he seems pretty sure that the 4x14 beam can support that safely. I'd be interested if there are any thoughts to the contrary.


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4x14'' beam,that should do it,the rest of the frame sounds good as well.This all being true and the frame is sound using preasure treated lumber I am not understanding why go to the trouble adding joists when tt t&g would go right over what you have, anyway installed corectly the new joist should hold the 5/4 planks and give the support most all 5/4 composite needs, less than 16'' on center. J


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John, thanks for your reply. I've been spending most of the last 10 days attempting to remove the old planking, ran into lots of problems not being able to remove the old, painted over screws, etc. Long story short, 3 of 9 joists were completely rotten, combination of dry rot, termites and water damage. Two more were iffy. I decided that if I were going to use composite, I might as well replace all of the joists with PTL, old joists weren't PT. The 2x12s were delivered today. I needed 13 joists to change from 23-1/2" OC to 16" OC. This added another $500 to the project and took it to a whole new level.


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Trex Brasilia - SPOTS!

I too have REALLY bad spots on 1-year old Trex Brasilia.

Here are pics:

Those were taken 45 days ago. The spots are worse now.

I have contacted Trex about the spots. Response was that they will power wash in the spring (6 months from now!!!). Plus "it needs to be washed twice a year" which would be fine, but last time I washed it the spots came back full force in 2 weeks! Hardly a "low maintenance" product.

I think we should get a list of people with similar issues so we can collectively go to Trex for resolution.

Please email me if you are interested: moosefruit@gmail.com

Regards,
Joe in Michigan


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Hang in there Joe,its a bad deal.trex t=junk will just not stop until the last thin dime is drained from the Customer. John


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I have been following the composites discussions for a year. Our pier holes are now dug, so we've got to decide soon. As we live 5 miles from the ocean (SF, Cal. bay area), mildew is a consideration. A lot of people build with redwood here but Powder Post Beatles eat that stuff for breakfast, so last year I got samples of Evergrain and Correctdeck. I put katchup, mustard, and peanut butter on them and let them sit overnight, then washed them with water. The mustard left a barely visible yellow stain, and the oil from the p.butter darkened the surface. I left them sitting in a sunny spot and the stains soon faded to invisible. I recently performed the same test on a piece of Correctdeck CX, which abosrbed none of the substances, not surprisingly since it has the glossy appearance of a painted surface. Both the CD and the EG have mildew on the bottom surface...they were sitting on a redwood table...but not on the top. The EG scratches much more easily then the CD but both will scratch with some effort. The scratches also faded out with time.
We probably will go with the Correctdeck and will let you know our experince. Wish we liked the colors better. We are going to do the top ourselves to save money (totally inexperinced!) We'll let you know how it goes.


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  • Posted by
    rays-ford
    (gw:rays-ford) on
    Mon, Nov 13, 06 at 0:22

Hello bananaslug;
What I have been reading and hearing is that almost any product that has wood products in it, will possibly mold or mildew. All you need to do is check the warranty listing on a product and it will tell you what can happen. The manufacturers already know what can happen. Mold and mildew feed off of plant and other material. Under the right conditions mold will grow on just about anything. Even if a product says it is maintenance free, it isn't. Everything needs to be cleaned once in a while. Wheather it is with a power washer or with an acid wash or something else. Not all decks are built in areas with the same weather patterns. What works in one part of the country might not work in another part.I do not know what Powder Post Beatles are, but there are termites in my area, and they love wood products also. Call some contractors to find out what they use. Also 100% plastic is another way. There are lots of manufacturers out there, with different types of material. It is usually more expensive than wood.
Good luck, Ray


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I am in the process of revising an article that ranks #5 in Google for composite decking.

I have received hundreds of emails over the last year or two regarding the existing article (link below).

Trex settled a Class Action law suit recently and are keen not to have another so they seem to be negotiating well of late--if they settle with you they will demand your silence.

Watch the warrantees for tricky wording and remember their testing for color fast properties and durability will normally represent 3-6 months real world.

Using lumber that will rot in 2-3 years (spruce pine fir) in a ground form (pulp), and encasing it with plastic can have no other result but mold and rot. It's just a bad idea.

In the early days composites were marketed as "Maintenance Free", however after the first couple of law suits it became "low Maintenance".

Be careful.

L

Here is a link that might be useful: composite decking vs wood decks


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Well, I said Id report on our Correctdeck deck and here is is: Our deck is about 825 sq. feet and is costing plenty. We had received bids around 38K for just the under structure. We decided to be our own generals and use a friend who is in the last stages of getting his contractors license and started out working for a decking contractor. We have been paying him hourly and are already at the 38K and the under structure isnt finished. The deck is two levels with a lot of stairs. And this is the SF bay area. The deck is on a slope. We have 17 piers, three of which had to be eight feet deep, and the rest 4x4x4. All with rebar and lots of cement. Not to mention a stem wall at the top.

Anyway, we are close to ordering the Correctdeck. We are going to use the connectors with the screws already inserted. The labor time is more costly than the extra expense for that convenience.

We decided to go with the gray CX. Yes, it looks painted, but we already have a well built redwood deck off of our back bedroom that is full of mold. (By the way, powderpost beetles are little critters that love to eat redwood.) The maintenance of that small redwood deck is already a pain; theres no way I want any more upkeep than necessary on an 825 foot deck.

Because of money considerations, were going to put on the decking planks ourselves. Well see......


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I'm new to this board and I'm NOT an expert but:

We had a Trex deck built last year. My son, who was the contractor, told me that it would fade out a little bit, but I could expect it to last 50 years. Our old deck was cedar - beautiful, but my DH hated the maintenance.

We also had a stamped concrete patio poured and we hate it! The depressions collect water and dirt - it always needs to be sprayed and/or swept. I wish we had gone with exposed aggregate like we had done in front - looks great and is zero maintenance (well nearly - we do plan to keep it sealed)
Just mho


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on installing CorrectDeck CX - if you call 877-DECK-877 you can get an installation video, if you don't have it already.


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Bananaslug, we are getting ready to do a deck and I've just about decided on the Correctdeck CX. Now that you have about a year under your belt with it, I'm interested what you think of it. We live in Missouri and we get the total extremes of weather, hot to cold, wet to dry.
Thanks!


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To all,
There are complaints being taken right now in San Francisco against Trex for black mold, staining, etc. Please go to this Law Firms web site that is taking all of your Trex complaints:
http://www.lieffcabraser.com/defects/trex-deck.htm?gclid=CMa-g87N-5MCFReenAod7n5KWQ

My wife and I are suing Trex as we speak because our 1100 sq. ft. deck is junk.We used Trex Origins "Natural" color. From discussions with the Trex Gold contractors, it doesn't matter if your deck was built correctly or not, it will still develop black mold and stain, and eventually warp and rot! There is absolutely no way around it. We know that our Trex lumber was manufactured in February of 2003, by the codes stamped on the sides of the boards. This falls exactly within the time period of the Trex defects out of the Nevada plant, as well as the class action that was settled in 2004. We were too late to join that class action though because our deck was started in October of 2004.

Consumers need to save their leftover composite wood that has the codes stamped on them. They are a telltale. The ICCES code at the time was NER508. This will help you if you are going after Trex for your material costs. Be prepared for a fight though!
FYI: In the 4th quarter of 2007, Trex upped the defect monies from $45 million to $64 million (2nd qtr., to 4th qtr. earnings), althought they "claim" they only paid out just over $7 million.

Another note: In a 1997 study by the Integrated Waste Managemant Board (IWMB),they said the following about composite lumber:
Can absorb moisture, may have poor impact strength under low temperatures, may not be completely insect resistant, may become discolored in outdoor applications, may contain metal contaminants, much lower stiffness and strength than wood, can degrade, poor flexibility.
From: (IWMB)
Recycled Plastic Lumber:
Research and Development Document #43197010
Web Site: site:www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Publications/BuyRecycled/43197010.doc

The conclusion from this is that these defects in genral have been known for years. This is definitive proof that there are problems with composite lumber manufactured in this fashion.
I hope this helps people out on deciding what you should do before buying composite material, especially Trex. It's a joke!
Good luck!

Steve Charles
Email:zz6pxl@aol.com


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I could not have said it any better my very own Self, but I have tried for the past 10 years or so. T=junk is a very bad product,the Co that makes it is rotten to the core but has a very good legal staff, and they will not stop until the last dime is drained out of the very last Wallet Vampire stile.

On the flip side the ol tried and true man made stuff like Moisture Shield,TimberTech keep pluging along making some not bad stuff. Keep in mind I am not a big fan of composite but I have seen first hand how these Folks take care of problems when they pop up in a straight up,timley,business like nature. J.


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John Hyatt,
Please contact me on my email. I would like to find out exactly what you are talking about when you say you've been trying for 10 years!
Thanks,

Steve Charles
zz6pxl@aol.com


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Its not that I have ever been a trex customer,way back then I would go out on service calls and see the black mold,delaming, bowed decking that kind of thing. Then trex got nailed for securaty viloations at this point I knew they dident have any of my business coming.

On and On it went,the class action,many Folks on this site complaing just like you so I kept posting warnings and have been for a while. As a wonderment some people actually defended the product saying they had a t deck and everything was fine...either they were false posts or t has a major batch problem and always has. J.


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John,
The way I see it, I am just trying to do my part and make people aware just like you are.
Now Trex is going to an even lower quality plastic to use in their manufacturing process ( Ref.: 2008 1st Quarter Trex conference call). I didn't think it could get any lower! Well it has been a $30 thousand dollar learning curve thats for sure!


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Thirty grand,,man thats a bad deal ghesssss

They are some outlaws for sure, really the trex guys got into moisture shields plant years ago on a guided tour,took pictures of the operation, used that info to start up only they went cheep using short wood fibers and cooling the stuff down with water. That is just asking for trouble. In contrast MS uses longer wood fibers and cools down naturally for 7 hr or so.

Hang in there Bud. J.


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Thanks John. Nice web site by the way -Steve-


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Trex will use any plastic they can get I guess. They have collection boxes at a lot of the local grocery stores here for plastic bags.

Al


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

After researching composites I decided to go a different direction and chose a plastic/PVC/vinyl product for my deck. I really like Azek/procell but it was too expensive. I chose Quadra/Aurora decking instead. I took some pictures and wrote some commentary on my deck building project. decksummer08.shutterfly.com


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Re: CorrectDeck CX
RLunt: Sorry I haven't looked at this site for quite some time so didn't see your post.
We finished our 825 sq.ft. deck last summer. I have posted photos to My CLIMATE: We live five miles east of the Pacific Ocean in heavily wooded area. Heat is not a big issue, though it gets into the 80s in summer sometimes. Freezes hard a few times in the winter and is frequently in the low 30s at night. Lots of moisture: in the summer the fog moves in the late afternoon and the deck is very wet in the mornings. So chief concern was mold.
MOLD: It's only been a year and a half, but I can't see the CX having any mold problems. It's been damp most days, even when it's warm, and as shown no signs of mold or mildew. We made sure we had the proper space beneath the deck and between the planks.
CLEANING: As you can see from the photos, we are surrounded by trees (oak, eucalyptus and Arizona cypress) which provide a non-stop rain of debris. The oak in particular is very messy. In the summer it somehow creates dark spots well beyond the tree line. I know it's coming from the tree because the spots don' appear under the eaves nor under the table. The Eucalyptus leaves leave stains as well. Anyway, if we really wanted it clean all the time, it would mean daily sweeping and a lot of washing. (I like to sweep it as an excuse not to do my office work and get outside.) I have washed it using a regular hose and dishwashing liquid and a broom. It cleans quite well, on the whole, about what you would expect of a medium gloss painted wall. Also, whatever stains there are do indeed fade from the sunlight. Exception: black rubber marks (don't ask!) that didn't want to come off. They eventually faded as well, but took a while. So the upshot is: it's not like smooth, pure plastic, but is on the easier side of cleaning. Right now, the deck looks quite good.....summer spotting, etc., all gone. As my son said when I was whining about the oak spots: Mom, it's a deck not your kitchen!
APPEARANCE: I have read comments about the shiny appearance of the CX. What they say about it quickly softening is quite true. Within a couple of months it looked more like a satin paint finish than a glossy finish. It does look like a painted deck, naturally, since it's gray. I don't know that I would choose such a light color again given our very messy environment and since they now have some much nicer color choices (darn!) However, my husband and I both still like the look and others seem to as well. One thing I love: it feels great to walk on in your bare feet!
ENDURANCE: Yes it will scratch, or I should say, gouge. When our daughters Labs come to visit, their nails do not scratch, nor have the plastic chair legs, etc. But if you take a screwdriver to it, it will gouge. There was one such gouge made during construction, but it's not really very noticeable, probably because of the light color. Of course, the color goes all the way through the material.
INSTALLATION: My husband and his Faithful Sidekick (me) put in the decking. We followed the video instructions and it was not difficult. We used the hidden fasteners, which I would recommend. The fasteners provide the required spacing between the planks. We had the bought the spacers with the screws already inserted, and were glad we did. Be sure to follow the instructions about the ends of planks that abut each other; they do expand length wise in the heat.
RAILINGS: Our aim was the most visibility possible at a reasonable cost. As you will notice from the photos, we used the powder coated aluminum balusters. All of the balusters were under $500.00. The top and bottom rails are CorrectDeck lumber connected to the CorrectDeck posts using stainless U-brackets. We used an extra post cut up to place braces under the bottom rail, as is necessary because CorrectDeck is flexible. We had to cut the balusters and carefully measured to do this, then created a pattern to copy. Each run of rail was different, so think carefully about it. We LOVE the railings.
OVERALL: We love the deck and would make the same choice again, except I might pick a darker color, while my husband is happy with it as it is.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Re New CorrectDeck CX:
OOPs. I couldn't figure out how to upload pics to My Page nor to this page, so they're on Home Galleries. Check 12/13/08 or search for CorrectDeckCX. There are four photos.





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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

I have had a 2 Tendura plank (4"T&G) for about 2 years and they are doing well. BUT, I have 5/4 x 6 Tendura boards as stair treds and they are spoted with, I guess, mold. Any experience with this product and spotting? Is it all Tendura 5/4 products or just a bad batch? How has manufacturer responded?


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Man,start a new topic for this an o5 thread is geting a little old.

Tendura is an outdated,long lasting problem material. Get over it. J.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Wow John, you've been around for awhile, cheers!

You should be able to clean your step threads. Contact the manufacture and he'll probably pay for it. I've gotten letters in the mail about law suits against certain composite manufacturers that stated they were paying for one or two cleanings. And worst case scenario, supplying replacement decking or refund. At the very least, ask what they recommend to use to remove the mold.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

I find that the more I research into potential replacement decking materials the more it muddies the mission. There must be a set of straight objective answers somewhere! In the absence of any really good long term performing data (since most new gen decking materials just haven't been around that long) I am almost at the point of replacing a 19 year old cedar deck with IPE. Just putting IPE side by side with cedar, which had a good run on my sun baked deck leads me to think that I can get up to 30 years out of this stuff with reasonable annual maintenance. As for older composites, yeeech! Newer ones...who knows? Aluminum? Hey, I may be a metallurgist but NOT on a deck!

Has anyone seen the online video for Eon decking? The one where the owner doesn't say a word but walks around on his deck and convinces you of the correct decision? I am so glad I watched the video. What a horrendous product!


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

We are replacing our 60 year old rotten deck and want composite decking. There seems to be tons of mfgs and I have been looking at Trex because our local home improvement stores only carry that brand. After reading your site, I'm scared even more. There's so many brands and it seems like there are problems with all of them. What benefit is composite when it molds, stains, warps, gouges and fades? If there is a superior product out there, why is it not common knowledge? Seems like picking the lesser of the evils. We have not received any of the estimates we are getting as we have just started this ball rolling, but, after only one week into it I feel like it's a nightmare unfolding. Now, I have many issues: Composite woes, structural concerns and the greatest fear is the building inspector. One contractor, giving me heads up on what things a building inspector might have a problem with, just totally freaked me out. I'm afraid to let an inspector on my property. My worst fear is the existing deck is red-flagged and between the contractor and insector's requirements, we'll be lucky if we end up with a balcony. Our deck is 368 sq.ft. It is a second story deck and is 13 ft. high. from the ground. One contractor's opinion was that the inspector will most likely make us retrofit the retaining wall at the bottom. Everything on our property is 60 years old (inside and out). Our home is truely a labor of love and it takes us a long time to save and fix all the problems. This is my dreamhouse and I'm trying hard to stay positive, but, I wanna cry. I wish someone could give me some light at the end of the tunnel.

Teri


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Teri,
"our local home improvement stores only carry that brand"

how about a local LUMBER store - gotta be one around!!

see my postt: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/porch/msg040957455203.html
fred


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

I am replacing my old pt deck. I have been looking into composite decking materials and finding out allot of bad stoties. I cam across a material called Gorilla Deck. Has any one used this product and if so did you like the results.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

How do you Folks find posts this old????? and Why do You add to them ???? Jo's link dosent even work now ghesssss

Teri, chill out and start another thread. Structure is one thing decking is another. If you and your Contractor agree you need a permit. Get One. And do what the permit store says.

All ManMade decking/railing have up sides and down sides. They all change almost every year.The latest heaven sent is plastic wrap around composite some go three sides some all the way around advantage being the top is more weather resistant the down side is if you scratch it your s#$ewed.

Dont Panic. Get the structure First. Your Contractor seems to be seasoned,working in the local area is a good thing and He will know what works where you are and what dosent.
John Hyatt www.deckmastersllc.com


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Since this post IS so old, I wonder if some who posted early in this string made any decisions, what they went with, and if they are happy with the choices they made.

I have builders trying to get me to use EverGrain, another one wants to build with Latitudes. Neither of them want to use composite railing. They are really trying to sell their composite (I'm guessing they have some discounted contract with their dealers), but somehow no one likes composite railing.

I was leaning on building using composite (possibly TimberTech, but I haven't found anyone in my area willing to go with TimberTech yet), and I was hoping the deck railing could be complimentary to the material on the deck and actually be made of the same composite material. This seems to be next to impossible for me to accomplish.

What am I missing here?


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

I work for a 43 year old company in the St Louis Metro area and we strongly suggest against the composite decking. We have seen numerous problems with Timbertech products. Anywhere from warping. molding, discoloration, streaking, and excessive fade.

We recommend our Veka Deck product and are convinced that it is the only way to go when building a deck. Check out their website at www.vekadeck.com


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

You registered here today to post a response to a thread that is six _years_ old to say that you recommend your plastic product over composites? What makes it so much better than TimberTech XLM?


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

It is not composite. Its fade is not noticeable to the naked eye. It does not get hot, does not warp, mold, streak and discolor like composite and is very hard to get stains that cannot be removed. We have a display where you can drop a bowling ball on a deck board and it bounces back up. All of the composites that we have tested split in half.

As far as commenting on an old post, I was responding because of the June 4th response who was still considering composite. There has been several lawsuits on composite materials....some have even disintegrated. Search for Timbertech problems and complaints and you will find some pictures of what I am talking about. We have installed Timbertech XLM material for homowners that were convinced that was they had to have and have had issues.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

It is not composite. Its fade is not noticeable to the naked eye. It does not get hot, does not warp, mold, streak and discolor like composite and is very hard to get stains that cannot be removed. We have a display where you can drop a bowling ball on a deck board and it bounces back up. All of the composites that we have tested split in half.

As far as commenting on an old post, I was responding because of the June 4th response who was still considering composite. There has been several lawsuits on composite materials....some have even disintegrated. Search for Timbertech problems and complaints and you will find some pictures of what I am talking about. We have installed Timbertech XLM material for homowners that were convinced that was they had to have and have had issues.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

You know, this stuff sounds like it would be very beneficial for deck owners, their happiness and satisfaction. I myself will consider buying Composite for myself when I go to build a deck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cleaning


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

Why are you building your own deck? Try to get the decking material from the Futurewood. About 3 week ago I am about to build my own deck but my friend suggest to get all the material. It's great and looks good as shinny.


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RE: Composite Decking Materials - Please comment

We have both Trex (13 years old) and Azek (maybe 6 years old?) and are completely satisified with both. My husband is a zero home maintenance kind of guy (aka avid fisherman), so it has been a godsend. We live in NJ, so it gets plenty of rain and snow.


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