Composite Decking?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Wags, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. Wags

    Wags Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Looks like we will finally have the money to put up a deck (about 500sq ft total) this summer and are planning to put in a composite deck. Just have to decide on which composite to use. Checked consumer reports - their last report was in 2004 and they reommended Veranda (sold at Home Depot) and ChoiceDeck plus (sold at Lowes).

    Does anyone here had any experience with either of those brands? Any recommendations or horror stories?
     
  2. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    Pre-drill with a bit that has a counter sink. you'll be happier. Don't store it in the sun for any great length of time with anything covering only part of it. It will get tan lines.

    I don't care for it all that much, but it will last.
     

  3. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    OFF topic, but what ever happend to the stone or concrete patio?

    why does every one want a deck? I understand if it is a upper floor, but I have seen so many that are jsut a foot or 2 off the ground,
     
  4. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    I have built hundreds of decks of these materials. Over time I've used most brands and products. The two you mention are more than satisfactory and hold up well over time. ALL require joists 16 oc or 12 oc for commercial use. I ALWAYS used PT lumber under the deck surface because this helps meet the lifespan requirements for the decking. Don't forget to use copper naphthanate on all cut ends, even blocking. In spite of CatsPaw's warning, I have never found predrilling necessary for these products. The sole exception is the fire rated product (see below) I have used stainless screws, but do not like them because they are so soft. I normally use Senco's Weatherex brand galvanized screws. They work well and last forever.

    Other products:

    Trex- It is OK, but the heaviest decking material out there among the composites. I've picked up a 2 X 6 X 20 in the middle and had both ends drag on the ground. So heavy it will wear you out, but when completed makes a good deck.

    Choice- makes several different products, some better than others. What is in the Home Debauch is the best of the lot.

    Boardwalk- this is an excellent product and one I've used a lot.

    All these composites are NOT fire rated. In essence they are plastic and sawdust and they will burn vigorously. There is one product that IS fire-rated, but I hate the product so thoroughly I cannot even conjure up its name in my mind. Why? Because it is brittle and the most unforgiving product ever devised by the minds of men. Anybody offers you a fire rated decking product, don't walk, run away!!!!!

    Any specific questions, just ask away.

    bearkiller
     
  5. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    We have built with trex on our last house - hubby built a trex deck 18 x 18.
    I STRONGLY advise 12"OC even for a family home. I STRONGLY reccommend countersink STAINLESS screws - that way, they don't show and WILL NOT get a black stain on decking like galvanized will.

    Our trex held up even with using salt on the stairs on it in the winter.

    For our new house we used choicedek. We did the entire thing - railings and all in it and it looks so awesome. The builders thought it to be the finest deck they had ever built. Again, it is 12" OC - don't go wider. Use the stainless countersink screws and definitely use good size posts underneath - i'll have to ask hubby what they used on this one. The cost is up there, but, then again, it's done with nothing to do with it for ages. And, you don't get splinters - a big plus for us as a family. I know the people at Lowes can tally up how much of each piece and/or pretty exact cost of the decking and railings, etc.

    Lowes had a cheaper brand than choicedek and i didn't think it was near as nice.

    For us, we spend loads of time out doors so this was one of our extras that
    were so well worth it, especially now that we use them so much. We have a farmers porch in front of the house that goes into a deck along the side of the house.

    If someone tells me how to post a picture, i'll post one of our deck and porch.
     
  6. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

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    The first year they came out with trex in our area we put in a large porch.Then last year decided to put a wrap around porch around the house.
    Some of the trex had to be removed to make way for the new design.It had to be pried up with crowbars because the deck screw heads had rusted too much to back them out! We only slightly damaged one board and had to snap all the screws.Sounds like stainless is the way to go.
    We would never go back to wood.And if we get the cash together after we finish with the vinal siding we will use composit railing also.
    Chas
     
  7. Wags

    Wags Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the info. The lack of splinters is one of the biggest draws for us having two little ones. Which is why we have been saving up for over a year for this deck.
     
  8. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Over the years we have built quite a few decks on contract and have used several of the composite materials (which seem to be comparable to each other). The “high end” of what we built with that material was a 14 x 36 deck that cost $11,500. It had “cabinet fit” and had no screws showing. Ten thousand specialty screws (accurate number, no misprint) anchored the decking from below with stainless brackets on each joist (with joist on 12” centers).

    Normally for any decking (plus picnic tables and much general construction) we use only DeckMate screws and their custom driver, available from Home Depot (exclusively perhaps). They do not spin out (strip heads) or break (even with high-torque cordless drivers) and are coated to prevent rust. They cost much more than competitive brands ($70 range for a 25# box vs. $30 range the last time we noticed), but they are worth it to us – no more cussing because of broken shanks or spun-out heads. We have never observed or been informed of a problem with those screws.

    BTW, Phillips head deck screws are a total waste in our opinion. We do not pre-drill regardless of material.

    When building our own decks three years ago (while temporarily un-mobile) we went with treated 2 x 6s for decking. It cost about one-third as much as the artificial decking (if I remember correctly) and could be expected to last for many years. We do not use Redwood because we have lived in Redwood country and see the devastation of those forests – 200 or 2000 year old trees cut to make products that will last 20 years. New growth Redwood (widely spaced rings) is not nearly as durable as its reputation would indicate.
     
  9. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    What about wood -- maybe too much work?

    [​IMG]
    We got 10' long 2 x 6 T&G Cedar at Jack's used building materials in Vancouver for $360 -- enough for our 22 x 10 front deck. We didn't even have to cut them, just belt sand and varnish.

    [​IMG]
    Makes a great deck -- need to varnish it every two or three years -- it looks great though.

    [​IMG]
    The 12" to 20" diameter posts are Poplar, that I cut out of the south wall to make a big new window.

    The Cedar deck is good.

    On the back lower deck we have covered 2 x 4s and that works great too. On the upper two decks we used a roll on coating which we are putting up with. We need it for water proofing, but we have to re-coat each year. We are thinking about going to the glue down fabric deck material.

    [​IMG]
    It's a great deck, is there a better material to roll on that looks good? OR, do we have to go to the expense and effort to us the fabric, or just keep rolling on each year (maybe that's best?)

    [​IMG]
    Morning view to the south toward garden, last week.

    [​IMG]
    These are cull 2 x 4s, treated with a sealer which will allow greying -- that we wanted at the time. I think we will change to the same pine colored sealer-stain we used for the rest of the house (sometime.)

    Isn't that composite expensive, sure it is, but it's good though?

    Good luck,

    Alex
     
  10. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    Alex, Check back issues of Fine Homebuilding. There was a great article on Fiberglas installations that look similar to your fabric but will last for decades. they are frequently used as flat roofs/ decks for beach houses.
     
  11. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    can anyone tell me how to post a picture?
     
  12. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dear SIL & DD have promised to build us a small deck...about 10 x 6...when they come visit next time. Thinking of using composite and I have to figure out ahead of time what we'll need (Home Depost has to order it) and how much so I can order it.

    So...

    Could someone tell me what OC and PT lumber are?

    Mon
     
  13. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    perennial,

    Here's how to do it. Maybe others will explain more where I am not clear.

    • Put your picture on your website like I do, or put it on a picture hosting website like . . . someone will recomend
    • select the yellow box with the mountain on it
    • write the address of the website and the name of the picture EXACTLY as required
    • for instance: http://yourwebsite.com/yourdirectery/yourpicturename.jpg

    Click PREVIEW to make sure it works and YOU wrote EVERYTHING EXACTLY as it should be.

    It must be EXACTLY as required, with each ":", "/", "name", ".jpg", etc everything correct.

    Good Luck,

    Alex


    tiogacounty,

    Thanks, will check it out. What we have not only has fiberglass at the seams and joints of the the t&g plywood (which was, but is NOT now installed too tight -- I re-cut all the joints with a Skill saw once I found out the joints should not be so tight.)

    Thanks,

    Alex
     
  14. toomb68

    toomb68 Well-Known Member

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    ipe................
     
  15. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    thanks alex, i'll try.
     
  16. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    PT - pressure treated
    Dunno about OC

    Perennial, here's another set of "how to post a pic" instructions (though Alex's were fine). Just in case you want the same info in different words - sometimes that helps.
    http://homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=126808
     
  17. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that link turtlehead! I now know how to post pics.

    Here is our deck on our house we just built.

    Hubby probably would have done a couple of small things differently, but we are happy - our last deck with trex he built you could've parked a car on!

    Here they are:

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
  18. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    But, what does OC mean :shrug: , as in....
    require joists 16 oc or 12 oc...
    or in....STRONGLY advise 12"OC even....

    Mon
     
  19. tulsamal

    tulsamal Well-Known Member

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    My Dad came down from Ohio this spring and helped me to build a three level deck at our house in Vinita. We've got over $2000 in it right now and many expansive plans for more (including a roof). I would like to end up with the whole south side of the house being deck. Anyway, we used the Lowe's product. We bought the stainless screws they sell that they recommend for that decking. We tried pre-drilling but side by side we couldn't tell the difference with the special composite deck screws.

    I think it was quite a bit easier to build than with wood. Every board is the same. They aren't warped. Consistent and easy to cut. It looks nice. I can drag my feet on it and not get splinters. I didn't have to put sealer on it. I didn't have to paint it. I won't ever have to do either one of those. So the "per board cost" is easily double what straight wood would cost but you have to compare that to how much the sealer and paint is going to cost you over twenty years. Plus all the labor applying it.

    I personally would recommend it. Just wish it wasn't $22 a board! Every time we went to Lowe's for some more we spent over $600. It was painful.

    Gregg
     
  20. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    "OC" = on center = from center of one joist to center of adjacent joist.