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Old 05-31-2011, 01:11 PM   #1
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Default Composite decking choices?

What are others experiences with composite decking- brand, pricing, durability, etc? I am looking to pull off our stained white cedar decking and replace with a composite/pvc product with a dark, wood grain finish. I need about 1000 square feet (2000 of LF) of it so it won't be a small job so I need to be careful on the per linear foot pricing. I am seeing everything from $2.25-$4.25 per LF so I am curious what others have used.

We have Timber Tech on our dock which has been ok, but the installer did a poor job. They butted everything up and we have gotten ridges and lifted edges from swelling.

I'd be curious to hear from some of the contractors that post on here as well for the labor side, feel free to PM me regarding looking at it for quotes.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:39 PM   #2
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Default Latitudes Intrepid

Codeman;

I am currently installing all new composite decking at my camp as we speak and after a lot research I decided to go with a decking called "Latitudes Intrepid". I Installed some of this two years ago at my camp and was impressed with it's durability. I actually used some small pieces of it as shims submerged under my jet ski lifts with no ill effects whatsoever after being underwater all year, not a bit of swelling! Their hidden fastener anchoring is really nice and gives a nice clean appearance when complete, no exposed screws. It's not cheap at $55.80 for a 20' length but when it comes to composite you get what you pay for. The other nice thing about the Latitudes is eventually I will be replacing all my dock boards and they make a heavy duty marine product that matches my standard 5/4" deck board. Here is a link for the Latitudes which can be purchased at Harvey Building Products. http://www.ufpi.com/product/latitude...g/intrepid.htm

Azek makes a nice deck product as well.

If you want to see the finished product, take a swing by my camp as the deck is 90% done now. Just waiting on glass rails.

Good Luck!

Dan
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:09 PM   #3
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Codeman;

I am currently installing all new composite decking at my camp as we speak and after a lot research I decided to go with a decking called "Latitudes Intrepid". I Installed some of this two years ago at my camp and was impressed with it's durability. I actually used some small pieces of it as shims submerged under my jet ski lifts with no ill effects whatsoever after being underwater all year, not a bit of swelling! Their hidden fastener anchoring is really nice and gives a nice clean appearance when complete, no exposed screws. It's not cheap at $55.80 for a 20' length but when it comes to composite you get what you pay for. The other nice thing about the Latitudes is eventually I will be replacing all my dock boards and they make a heavy duty marine product that matches my standard 5/4" deck board. Here is a link for the Latitudes which can be purchased at Harvey Building Products. http://www.ufpi.com/product/latitude...g/intrepid.htm

Azek makes a nice deck product as well.

If you want to see the finished product, take a swing by my camp as the deck is 90% done now. Just waiting on glass rails.

Good Luck!

Dan
Big swing in pricing, I actually stopped at Brock's this morning and was quoted $3.45/LF for the walnut. Is Steve doing it for you?

Are you doing your own rails or did you pick a different brand? I did not see an offering for glass railings on their site. I wish I had done glass on ours. Then again, I wish I had gone composite in the first place as I would not be doing this years later.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:20 PM   #4
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Big swing in pricing, I actually stopped at Brock's this morning and was quoted $3.45/LF for the walnut. Is Steve doing it for you?

Are you doing your own rails or did you pick a different brand? I did not see an offering for glass railings on their site. I wish I had done glass on ours. Then again, I wish I had gone composite in the first place as I would not be doing this years later.
I picked a different brand of rails because we wanted white composite. Latitudes does make a glass rail option just not in white. Here it is... http://www.ufpi.com/product/latitude...rnglassbal.htm

We are using this rail which is brand new on the market and we are actually the first customers in the country to use it! Wish me luck!! This is what we decided to use in white with the glass baluster option. http://www.ufpi.com/product/deckorat...xt-railing.htm

My brother in law does most all of my work. He does a great job and stays at the camp while he is working and puts 12 hour days in to get the job done. Steve does all the hauling to and from for us.

Did you get quoted that price on the Latitudes decking at Brock?? If so email me as I can definitely help you out with price through my company.

Dan
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:09 PM   #5
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I would stay away from Timber Tech. I did a huge deck on my house using the interlocking hidden fastener system. I had a lot of problems with it buckling and staining. There is no give in this system so temp extremes cause the boards to buckle along the width, eventually cracking and spliting along the length of the board. Also they stained, I don't know what it was maybe tree sap or bird dropping but it looked like grease stains. Nothing took them off, they felt like they were coming from the boards.

Timber Tech provided new boards, I went with the more traditional style held down like real wood with screws through the face. I paid for the labor. These have not split and seem better. They do sag a tiny bit between joist 16" on center. And they still have the staining issue. But at least the deck isn't falling apart.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:31 PM   #6
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Default Uncle Hildes

Did you check out Uncle Hildes, they have several locations, closest being in Tilton.

http://www.unclehildes.com/

What are you doing with the old decking, is it in good shape?
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:40 PM   #7
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Did you check out Uncle Hildes, they have several locations, closest being in Tilton.

http://www.unclehildes.com/

What are you doing with the old decking, is it in good shape?
Dan, You may find someone to pull it for free!
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:25 AM   #8
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Be very careful with what you choose. It seems we have had most everything on our decks and docks and finally are very happy with the Azek.

Some of them have wood inside I guess and those can mildew. We had that problem. Some of them are hotter on the feet too.

I suggest you do your homework before choosing. Find someone who knows what they are taking about. Give Winnipesaukee Lumber a call and one of the salemen will give you info. 569-1381
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:54 AM   #9
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We had the Azek at our last house. I see someone mentioned the heat issue. If it gets direct sunlight it does get hot on the feet.

I found that mold would build up on the deck as the water gets trapped between the boards and the joists. Drove me nuts keeping it clean.

If I were to do decking again I would go with standard PT wood and just use composite for the handrails (no splinters, etc). Since the structural pieces will be pressure treated (posts and joists) I found no big improvement of composite over regular PT. Both still required maintenance.

Go 12 or 14 inchs on center to avoid the sagging boards as well.
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Old 06-01-2011, 08:32 AM   #10
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The only wood I would recommend for island property such as Codeman's is "IPE". Even this "iron wood" will require some maintenance.

The best composite deck I ever owned was a product called "Duration deck". In the 12 years I had it at my home I never did a thing to it except wash it off occasionally with a hose. Unfortunately they are out of business.

The Latitudes decking I have now is very similar just heavier. The only maintenance I plan on doing to it is rinsing it off and that is for aesthetic purposes only. I bought composite for one reason, ultra low maintenance. I have no intention of spending my time at the lake staining and sanding.

Color selection is a huge factor in how hot your deck will get. Obviously a dark color will absorb more of the suns rays and be hotter.

Dan
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:14 AM   #11
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I bought composite for one reason, ultra low maintenance. I have no intention of spending my time at the lake staining and sanding.
I hear you! Our current house has no decks. Granite steps front and rear and a cobblestone patio.

My wife has hinted about wanting me to build a gazebo
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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I can’t speak to the quality of the decking, but I know that Big Jim’s in Allenstown (and they just opened an outlet at the old Steenbecks in Concord) has composite decking for a very reasonable price.
www.bigjimsbargainoutlet.com
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:44 AM   #13
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I was surprised to see the pricing from Big Jim's and Uncle Hilde's. I am going to take a ride sometime soon to see what the color choices are.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:18 PM   #14
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We had the Azek at our last house. I see someone mentioned the heat issue. If it gets direct sunlight it does get hot on the feet.

I found that mold would build up on the deck as the water gets trapped between the boards and the joists. Drove me nuts keeping it clean.

If I were to do decking again I would go with standard PT wood and just use composite for the handrails (no splinters, etc). Since the structural pieces will be pressure treated (posts and joists) I found no big improvement of composite over regular PT. Both still required maintenance.

Go 12 or 14 inchs on center to avoid the sagging boards as well.



The Azek does not get as hot on the feet as some of the others. It also does not get the mold because it does not have wood in it as some of the others do. I also went nuts trying to keep the mold off it. I would never use PT again. The worst thing about that to me is after a few years it gets very splintery and who wants to get splinters in their feet??

That is why I am saying be very careful and do your research.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:10 PM   #15
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Be careful with the joist spacing using composite decking. It may be the sheer amount of my gravitational pull or the difficulty bringing a piece home without it dragging on the ground behind the truck, but the stuff is very "bendy".

I don't know if this is an issue on a retrofit for you.

I have used it with 12 inch spacing at home and it worked fine.
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:25 PM   #16
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I'm glad you guys mentioned the issue with composite sagging on 16 inch oc framing. I'm about to tear off my cedar decking and replace with Azek and my joists are at 16. Are these actually 5/4 boards like regular decking or are they thinner or is the product itself not have the rigid support of wood?

I just realized I said rigid and wood.
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:39 PM   #17
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I'm glad you guys mentioned the issue with composite sagging on 16 inch oc framing. I'm about to tear off my cedar decking and replace with Azek and my joists are at 16. Are these actually 5/4 boards like regular decking or are they thinner or is the product itself not have the rigid support of wood?

I just realized I said rigid and wood.
Here ya go Siksukr... great installation videos from Azek's web site... http://www.azek.com/installation/deck/

Dan
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:17 PM   #18
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We own a 1790's house and I recently rebuilt the 16x16 screened in porch. The gap between the joists was greater than I wanted so I took 2x4 PT and laid them down flat and nailed them on top of the existing joists. This decreased the gap without replacing all the joists and made for a much more stable surface to install the decking on.
I used cedar staining it with Penofin on all sides before installing. The deck has been down for a year and looks as new as the day I installed it, but it has a roof over it. I love the look of cedar but you couldn't pay me to use wood on a deck unless it had a roof over it.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:46 PM   #19
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I'm glad you guys mentioned the issue with composite sagging on 16 inch oc framing. I'm about to tear off my cedar decking and replace with Azek and my joists are at 16. Are these actually 5/4 boards like regular decking or are they thinner or is the product itself not have the rigid support of wood?

I just realized I said rigid and wood.
Same Thickness. Less Rigid.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:37 PM   #20
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Same Thickness. Less Rigid.
Be careful, all these decking materials do not have the structural integrity of good old wood. That's why they are a poor choice for docks. 2x6 / 2x8 wood decking for docks add substantial strength to a dock.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:59 PM   #21
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Be careful, all these decking materials do not have the structural integrity of good old wood. That's why they are a poor choice for docks. 2x6 / 2x8 wood decking for docks add substantial strength to a dock.
If you pick a composite that uses "Strandex Technology" you will be fine. Strandex was developed for the Navy about twenty years ago for their docks. The Navy wanted a material that would standup to the abuse over the long term. The Navy still uses Strandex.

Here is a list of composite companies that utilize Strandex... http://www.strandex.com/pages/corpor...x-Products.php

More info.... http://www.ufpi.com/about/newsroom/1...inerelease.htm

Dan

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Old 06-06-2011, 07:46 PM   #22
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ishoot308,
Learn something new everyday on this site.
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From one of their license holders.
What makes Latitudes composite decking and railing special is the Strandex technology it employs. Like individual strands of a rope make the rope stronger, Strandex technology makes Latitudes decking and railing stronger. Strandex technology offers superior protection against UV degradation and water absorption, because every “strand” of wood fiber is encased in high-density polyethylene. Latitudes uses Strandex inside, so you can be assured that you’re getting the highest, most consistent quality and strongest composite product available in the industry.
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:12 PM   #23
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The gap between the joists was greater than I wanted so I took 2x4 PT and laid them down flat and nailed them on top of the existing joists. This decreased the gap without replacing all the joists and made for a much more stable surface to install the decking on.
That won't work in my application. My deck surrounds my pool and I built it flush with the top of the pool and want to keep it that way.
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:29 PM   #24
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If you pick a composite that uses "Strandex Technology" you will be fine. Strandex was developed for the Navy about twenty years ago for their docks. The Navy wanted a material that would standup to the abuse over the long term. The Navy still uses Strandex.

Here is a list of composite companies that utilize Strandex... http://www.strandex.com/pages/corpor...x-Products.php

More info.... http://www.ufpi.com/about/newsroom/1...inerelease.htm

Dan
Still not convinced. I am sure that Navy "docks" are concrete and decked with Strandex. By their nature plastic composites are flexible and would not offer the same racking rigidity as "two by" wood decking. If you whacked a dock hard decked with Strandex it will give more than it would with wood decking. That effect over time destroys the integrity of the entire dock.

I agree that Strandex seems like a great product for decking, especially when compared to the older version composites (Trex). The difference between Strandex and the others is the size of the wood particles in the composite solution. The Strandex has a finer particle which allows it to be more easily surrounded by the plastic and resist moisture conduction better. That probably allows it to last longer.

I have to say, I have never seen a composite deck that hadn't faded or chalked after 5 or so years. But I have never seen Strandex after that long. How does it age? Does it look as bright as it did when new? If not what do you do to bring it back to original? My PT dock gets stained every 2 years and does look as good as original. Ipe treated each year with special oil also looks as good as new.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:29 PM   #25
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Still not convinced. I am sure that Navy "docks" are concrete and decked with Strandex. By their nature plastic composites are flexible and would not offer the same racking rigidity as "two by" wood decking. If you whacked a dock hard decked with Strandex it will give more than it would with wood decking. That effect over time destroys the integrity of the entire dock.

I agree that Strandex seems like a great product for decking, especially when compared to the older version composites (Trex). The difference between Strandex and the others is the size of the wood particles in the composite solution. The Strandex has a finer particle which allows it to be more easily surrounded by the plastic and resist moisture conduction better. That probably allows it to last longer.

I have to say, I have never seen a composite deck that hadn't faded or chalked after 5 or so years. But I have never seen Strandex after that long. How does it age? Does it look as bright as it did when new? If not what do you do to bring it back to original? My PT dock gets stained every 2 years and does look as good as original. Ipe treated each year with special oil also looks as good as new.
Hi Grady223;

Unfortunately all composites fade even ones made with Strandex. This is quite normal and nothing needs to be done and the fading does stop after a year or so. When we do our color selection we always plan on the fade factor. The darker the color the more fade factor you must consider. This is pretty typical with every composite out there. None of my composite decks have ever chalked though. I have seen some of the inferior ones do that.

My entire reasoning for using composite was because I did not want to stain or sand. I wanted ultra low maintenance and strength and the composite I selected gave me that. It also looks really nice!!

Take care!

Dan

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Old 01-11-2014, 06:19 AM   #26
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Question 'Don't Know What It Is, But Compared to "Two-By"...

I was given a dock section made of this artificial decking, and was surprised how heavy it was—yet relatively fragile.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:59 AM   #27
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Aps: That looks like particle board.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:21 PM   #28
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there is more to this than just pulling off the old decking and 'laying down" new decking. last year we did 4 decks with a product called fibron decking
http://www.fiberondecking.com/?gclid...FecRMwodpVEAqw

It’s not cheap any two ways about it and ill be the first to tell you that. Couple of things MOST PEOPLE don’t no about. Composite decking is nearly 3 times heavier than wood especially cedar decking. so the first thing that must be done is inspect the "bones" or the framing of the deck and footings chances are a row or two of blocking may be needed and also if the old joist are in poor or quest able condition we sometimes sister up new 2x4's and use those for fastening. The next thing that should be done is level your deck with a laser for accuracy. Some people may think these things are over kill however the average material for a deck is over 10,000 not including labor etc so it may be a good idea to do some careful research. Good luck I can send you some pics of the decks we did last year. GO PATRIOTS.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:56 AM   #29
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Question Trex?

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Aps: That looks like particle board.
Yes, it does. Maybe someone knows its age or manufacturer. A neighbor skilled in carpentry enjoys working with the newest in "fake lumber".

Here's a photo of the top surface:
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:06 AM   #30
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Yes, it does. Maybe someone knows its age or manufacturer. A neighbor skilled in carpentry enjoys working with the newest in "fake lumber".

Here's a photo of the top surface:
From your pics, that looks like a very low-end "no brand" composite board. The current trend is solid PVC, or pvc-wrapped composites. The better non-PVC boards also seem to have a "denser" composition to them.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:25 PM   #31
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Smile Not just strength, but durability...

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Be careful, all these decking materials do not have the structural integrity of good old wood. That's why they are a poor choice for docks. 2x6 / 2x8 wood decking for docks add substantial strength to a dock.


In over 30 years, my "ordinary" 2x8-decked dock has only needed a few boards replaced and even then, turning them over was the only repair needed.



A neighbor's dock (below) shows how little was holding the artificial decking on—and the two, maybe three—affected planks can't be readily re-used.

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Old 01-25-2014, 11:22 PM   #32
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A neighbor's dock (below) shows how little was holding the artificial decking on—and the two, maybe three—affected planks can't be readily re-used.

If the person who put the composite decking on had put an end board on and attached as the below illustration shows, then that board might not have lifted up.

This is how Trex instructs you to put an end piece on.

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