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Old 04-30-2013, 04:28 PM   #1
Long Pine
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Default Composite/PVC Decking and Under-Deck Drainage Systems

There was a thread on here a couple years ago on composite decking but I wanted to get an updated view from anyone willing to comment on their experiences with either composite decking or with under-deck drainage systems (to allow for a dry patio area beneath a deck).

Specifically, some on this forum have said good things about their Azek decks. Azek is a PVC product. Timbertech has one called XLM and Fiberon has one called Outdoor Flooring. I have heard of negatives about PVC decks like heat build-up in the sun, warping, staining from bug spray/sun-screen, slippery when wet, and static electricity build-up. Azek installation instructions say installation near Low-E glass can cause excess heat build-up and warping (I imagine a lot of lake houses have some low-E glass on the lake side). Fiberon says that you can't install an under-deck drainage system with their product unless there is at least six inches of clear space below the joists for air circulation (otherwise too much heat build-up presumably).

There are other capped composite products out too like Timbertech Earthwood Evolutions and Fiberon Horizon - not sure if they share the best/worst qualities of a PVC deck as well or whether they perform differently.

I love natural wood but really want a low maintenance splinter-free deck that ideally doesn't look like plastic, get too hot, warp, etc. A lot of conflicting opinions and varying experiences out there on these products. I may just be inviting more confusion but interested in additional feedback.
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:34 PM   #2
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We love our composite decks at both houses due to the ease of cleaning and the NO painting part.

The decking can get very hot on the feet during the day but we have not seen any warping. Cleaning is a breeze with a car wash brush and a hose.

Good luck..
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:07 PM   #3
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The first composite deck we had I didn't like because it was so hot on the feet and it got a little mildewy. The newer Azek is all pvc with no wood fiber in it and doesn't have these problems. My feet never get hot on our Azek and that was one of the things I did not like at all about the original (I think it might have been trex). Your best bet is go to your local lumberyard and ask for information about them.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:19 AM   #4
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From what I understand after doing a lot of research on this, the newer all PVC brands like Azek have solved a lot of the problems from the older composite material boards. We're currently having a new Azek deck installed replacing our older wood deck. Much more scratch and stain resistant than the composite and also resistant to mold since the spores are unable to penetrate the surface unlike the composite decks which use recycled wood and plastic particles. Time will tell.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:39 AM   #5
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Default Some issues

Some of the older decks had issues due to contractor mistakes. I've seen some decks with warping & sagging issues due to not properly spacing the stringers.
Also leave enough room between for not only drainage but so they will not get filled up and clogged with dirt and grim.
Many want the spacing nice and tight and are later left with standing water on their deck because the groves all fill in.
Being a painter I would not put recommend anything but composite or manufactured if you can afford it. Many homeowners find out after the fact that PROPER long term upkeep of a wood deck far exceeds the cost of none wood which only requires a good cleaning once a year.
Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Belmont Resident View Post
Some of the older decks had issues due to contractor mistakes. I've seen some decks with warping & sagging issues due to not properly spacing the stringers.
Also leave enough room between for not only drainage but so they will not get filled up and clogged with dirt and grim.
Many want the spacing nice and tight and are later left with standing water on their deck because the groves all fill in.
Being a painter I would not put recommend anything but composite or manufactured if you can afford it. Many homeowners find out after the fact that PROPER long term upkeep of a wood deck far exceeds the cost of none wood which only requires a good cleaning once a year.
Good luck.
I agree with everything that you said except that I don't think that "stringers" is the correct terminology to use for the deck floor construction. Floor "joist" are what the floor boards are attached to.
"Stingers" are used to build stairs of the deck.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:47 PM   #7
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ok have a great summer
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:15 PM   #8
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Default Fwiw

When I resided my house 3 years ago I used Azek for all my facia and window/door trim.Within a year,depending on the exposure,some of it became quite spotted with what I believed to be mold.
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Floor "joist" are what the floor boards are attached to. Stingers" are used to build stairs of the deck.
Rusty you are correct and you should look at the tag that is stapled onto the end of each board and find out if the should be 12" on center or 16" on center. A lot of the PVC really needs to be put on 12" because it will warp on you.And if you are going to run it 12" on center than you might consider running the wood on a diagonal.Looks very nice that way.
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:44 PM   #10
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Hi Long Pine;

Everything I have to say about composite is in this thread here... http://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums/...posite+decking

There is some good info.

Enjoy and good luck!

Dan
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Long Pine View Post
"...I love natural wood but really want a low maintenance splinter-free deck that ideally doesn't look like plastic, get too hot, warp, etc. A lot of conflicting opinions and varying experiences out there on these products. I may just be inviting more confusion but interested in additional feedback..."
This year, I became a recipient of an 8-foot artificial-wood deck section—free!



Its history is unknown, other than it arrived at a neighbor's shoreline by water and wind.

This close-up shows that artificial decking—while substantial but otherwise easy to work with—isn't indestructible.

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Old 05-23-2013, 06:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIKSUKR View Post
When I resided my house 3 years ago I used Azek for all my facia and window/door trim.Within a year,depending on the exposure,some of it became quite spotted with what I believed to be mold.
What a lot of people do not know is that even plastic wood used on trim is meant to be painted. Now many manufacturers state that not priming and painting cuts voids warranty.
The real downfall of plastic is the amount of expansion and contraction that takes place.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:52 AM   #13
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Have not noticed any issue with the expansion and contraction.All the miter and butt joints have stayed tight.My Azek is white and it seems to have less movement than the previous wood trim.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIKSUKR View Post
Have not noticed any issue with the expansion and contraction.All the miter and butt joints have stayed tight.My Azek is white and it seems to have less movement than the previous wood trim.
Interestingly the Weirs Times has an article this week about this. Someone said they have mildew growing on the vinyl siding and Tim the Builder answers. You might want to read it on line, if you can't pick up the paper. It starts on page 35. Basically he tells the person to use OXYGEN bleach, not chlorine bleach.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIKSUKR View Post
Have not noticed any issue with the expansion and contraction.All the miter and butt joints have stayed tight.My Azek is white and it seems to have less movement than the previous wood trim.
Expansion of composite / PVC and most other materials is completely based on thermal variation. The color white will move a whole lot less than the color black. The color black, depending on base material, can have a thermal variation as much as 150 degrees in New England in a 24 hour period! White Azek trim will barely move particularly in the lengths required for home building which usually under 8'. A piece of black Azek trim 20' long will probably (total guess without doing the math) will probably move at least 1/4" due to thermal expansion. The darker the color the more thermal expansion.

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Old 05-27-2013, 12:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tis View Post
Interestingly the Weirs Times has an article this week about this. Someone said they have mildew growing on the vinyl siding and Tim the Builder answers. You might want to read it on line, if you can't pick up the paper. It starts on page 35. Basically he tells the person to use OXYGEN bleach, not chlorine bleach.
We read this article and just cleaned our siding and deck with the oxygen bleach and it worked great.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:06 PM   #17
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Great! Glad to know it worked!!! WE used chlorine bleach in the past to clean our Fypon (foam)railings but we will use the oxygen bleach next time.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:58 PM   #18
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Would something like Oxyclean work?
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