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Which deck material would you recommend for us?

Posted by treasuretheday (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 11, 12 at 14:55

I didn't get any responses to my post from a couple of months ago...

Let me start by saying that I'm brand new to this forum. (I spend most of my GW time in Bathrooms!) From the reading I've done so far, there are some very knowledgable people here and I am admittedly NOT knowledgable on the subject of decks so please bear with me.

Our 19 year old cedar deck had deteriorated to the point that it was an unsalvagable safety hazard so we recently removed the top decking material. My husband feels that the understructure is in pretty good shape and should be usable although we plan to expand the footprint somewhat.

We were assuming that we would replace the deck with Trex or some other composite material. From what I've read so far, that seems like it could be a very expensive mistake. We don't want to ignore the warning signs if mold is an ongoing issue with these products.

Honestly, we're not great about keeping up with the maintenance of a wood deck, otherwise we might have gotten a few more years out of our cedar deck. So we're looking for the best option(s) for something that would require as little care and maintenance as possible, recognizing that there is no such thing as "maintenance free."

We live in the midwest so we have all four seasons. The deck is on the north side of our house at the edge of fairly dense woods so it's in the sun for just a few hours each day.

Could you point me in the right direction or offer any advice on materials that we should consider?


... so I thought I'd try again because I've started to contact deck builders to gather information and estimates.
So far, the contractors that I've called work with both wood and composite material. I may be wrong but I thought this would help to get impartial input on the best choice for our situation.

From what I've seen online about Ipe, I think I'd really like the look and the characteristics but I know I wouldn't want it to turn silver/grey. Realistically, how much maintenance is involved to avoid this?

What deck material would you suggest for us and why?

I really appreciate any advice you have... thanks!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Which deck material would you recommend for us?

I live in northern Illinois - perhaps similar climate conditions. Many neighbors have cedar decks on the north side of their homes. They have them professionally cleaned/treated/re-sealed every other year. One which is about 12 years old still looks new. Your 19 years without continual maintainance is actually pretty good.

As to composite, some brands of composite decking tend to have a bounce and 12" on-center joists are recommended to control this and for a diagonal install absolutely 12" on-center. Using the existing structure may negate or limit your option - check manufactures requirements.

I can't offer personal knowledge of Ipe or other materials but any outdoor product requires periodic maintenance. And, after 20 years the existing sub-structure may not have sufficient remaining life to last and support new decking. Just my opinion. Unfortunately a former poster here was a deck-builder and offered really sound advise but the site-monitor felt he was soliciting so blocked him. Our loss.


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RE: Which deck material would you recommend for us?

We're going with Azek decking for our new deck. Its PVC - not a composite like Trex. We used Trex on a porch in a rental property, and its def not maintenance free. We ended up with some mildew and other problems. We put Azek on a small front porch in our current home. Its in direct hot sun and we haven't had any issues and it looks great. They have a lot of color options and they have "plugs" to cover the screw holes which I love. Just my 2 cents. :)


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RE: Which deck material would you recommend for us?

Ipe (and other brazilian hardwoods) require periodic re-staining. I've got a 3-year-old garapa deck that I didn't keep up with sufficiently. The stain lasted 1 year well, but 2 years...not so much. So am planning some rework once the weather cools down a bit. My revised formula, based on what I've learned, would be to put 3 coats on to start, then one new recoat each year.

FWIW, we're in the midwest as well, but our deck faces an open west, so gets lots of sun. Sun wears the finish faster than shade. So yours might last a couple years between re-finishes.

If you know you won't keep up with it yourselves, then consider planning to pay someone to do it each year for you.


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RE: Which deck material would you recommend for us?

I think its old post. Any way for more information I would suggest you to get the composite decking material. Recently I have use the composite decking material from Futurewood. It was great for me and looks new as they have been used. Some Composite decking material doesn't get oily but it was great.


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