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UNIT

Deck ?

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Planning on replacing the decking material on my current structure and wondered if people had any insight on wood vs. composite decking. I am looking at using Trex brand so any insight on that specifically would be great.

Thanks

UNIT

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I used to build decks as a side venture, and i sold trex as well as other kinds of wood decking and composite decking. Trex is a good material, its NOT maintenance free. No composite decking is. Too keep it looking nice wash it twice a year (spring & fall) with a good quality composite deck cleaner and deck scrub brush. If you dont dirt and other particles get trapped in the grain and if they get wet mildew can grow and stain the decking. This pretty much goes for all types of composite decking. Composite decking gets warm when in the sun, and can be uncomfortable for bare feet at times. make sure you use the proper fasteners so you dont have "mushrooming" when screwing pcs together. Labor prices (if you hire out) might be more, because its not as easy to work with as wood. Fasteners will cost more also.

With that said my opinion is that a cedar deck with metal railing is still the sharpest looking deck out there if maintained properly, costs less than a composite deck, and will look better longer.

A good rule of thumb on the price of decks is that cedar is twice as much as treated, and composite is three times as much as cedar.

Hope that offered some insight, not all composites are created equeal, Trex is one of the better/oldest composite companies out there.

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I've built 3 decks recently and love the composite stuff. It's straight & true, looks good and shouldnt need to be stained.

The composite railings tend to be alot more $$$$ than you expect. If the railing is cost prohibitive, I'd suggest going w/ cedar posts, 2x4s and black spindles to save cash.

I've built one deck w/ Geodeck and two with Menards Ultradeck w/ UV inhibitors. Geodeck is definitely the nicer material/fade-free/etc but cost 3x as much.

Ultradeck has faded but still looks ok. I should add that I'm not sure Ultradeck meets code. & Trex definitely meets code!

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A friend found out the hard way that whatever composite material he used had to be put 12 inch on center. His framing was 16 and so he had a mess. Be sure to check the material you're thinking of cause it can be a major PITA.

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I put in my Trex deck 2 years ago. In my instance, it has been maintenance free. Looks perfectly clean, although I may pressure wash it once this fall just for good measure. Make sure there is adequate air for drying around the deck (not close to ground, proper clearance between decking, etc).

I did 12 inch on center and no sagging. It's solid as a rock. If you're going to spend the money (and it'll be triple a green treat deck $$$) go ahead and use some hidden fasteners. I used an under decking plexiglass fastener that had one screw into the joist and two underneath the decking. There was a little plexi spacer that made installation easy as well. Looks awesome IMO.

For railings I used the solid trex 4x4's and 2x4's for baluster support. Black aluminum balusters are cheaper than the trex 2x2's. Looks sharp and is completely maintenance free except for maybe some stain on the pressure treat structure every 5-7 years.

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I installed a Trex 10 x 28 deck at our lake home last year. So far its been great. No/low maintenance and very limited fading. I put a white PVC railing on it last weekend and it looks very nice as it matches the white trim on the house.

I like the look of multi-material (cedar and metal) railings but the maintenace is a nightmare. There was a thread on here last year about that.

I also recommend a hidden fastener system. My entire deck is fastened (screwed) from below. Yes its more work but there are no screws heads to look at. The extra work was definitely worth it. I also put my joists 12 inches on center. The deck is incredibly sturdy.

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I used composite decking and love the low maintenance. I forget what kind it was but it was a tongue and groove style that you screw angled on the leading side so the fasteners were hidden. I was also able to get lengths long enough to not have joints in the middle of the planks which I really like.

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I just built a deck using LP Weatherbest composite. Found an incredibly good deal ($1.45 / ft) on it from a wholesaler who listed it on a very well-known free classifieds site... I built the deck joists 16" on center, the decking calls for this only if the deck boards run perpendicular to the joists, if you are running them at an angle to the joists it calls for 12" o.c. This may vary with they manufacturer/type of decking you're using however.

What I liked most about the LP material is that included in the composite material is a mold inhibitor. I obsessed for a long time over the type of composite material and its resistance to mold. This stuff has held up very well - NO mold & its been over a year. The only downside to the composite is that it scratches pretty easily - when the kids throw the ball for the dog (a big lab) he takes off from the deck and puts scratches in the decking. The scratches fade with time, so its not a huge deal.

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Just an FYI.

LP Weatherbest had a recall on their decking earlier this year(manufactured 2005-2007). Of course TREX also had it's own problems(mold) a couple of years back that are now supposedly fixed. It seems that all of the composite decks have some issues as they try and find the "perfect" product.

In my opinion composite's are fine for decks that get a fair amount of sun and also are at least a couple of feet off the ground.

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problems with mold were common on alot of composite decks becasue they were promoted as "maintenance free". people didnt wash them, leaving dirt and stuff trapped in the grain, add some moisture along with the wood flour in the product and you have a perfect place to grow mold. If you notice most things are now classified as "low-maintenance".

another note when installing the trex (if thats what you go with) as wherever you buy it from to give you one or two of the trex spacing tools. they should give them to you for free, they are yellow and look like a speed square. Each side will have a different spacer to use depending on what the temp is at time of install. this stuff expands and contracts so DONT BUTT IT TIGHT or you will have problems!

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Hey SideLake, thanks for the FYI. I registered my deck for the recall notice. No issues yet but we'll see what happens...???

I agree that the height off the ground and sun factor in as well with the mold problems. I am in pretty good shape there.

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I have friends who have done composit and love it. If I had the money to go that route I would. Saves money in the long run with not having to re-stain and maintain them. Plus the time you have to put in to do all that stuff.

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