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Boatboy24

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Well, our deck is 20 years old (by my best estimate - think it was put on when the house was built, or very new) and the decking is starting to show its age. Several boards are split, splintered and/or cracked and nail pops are plentiful. And to make matters worse, while having some estimates done for some drainage/erosion, we realized we have rot on 3 posts. When it rains, it pours. The deck is huge, so even refinishing ain't cheap. And a DIY job would take me the rest of the summer unless I take some time off just to do that. A refinish, along with replacing some boards will probably only buy another 3-4 years. Long story short, we're considering re-decking. Didn't want to have to do that for a few more years, but I think we're wasting $$ and delaying the inevitable by trying to save and simply refinish.

So that brings us to the choice of materials. The cheapest option is pressure treated wood. But with that comes the cost/time of maintenance. Knowing that we plan to be in this house at least another 15 years, I think it makes sense to swallow hard and go composite. Trex obviously comes to mind, as they are the biggest out there. Timbertech is another. We are probably looking at one of those two. At this point, I don't know if there's a price difference, but if there is, I'm not expecting much. Any recommendations on which way to go? Any advice from those who've 'rehabbed' their deck with composite? Thanks.
 

Arne

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I installed the composite decking on our deck 13 or14 years ago. Still looks like new (needs a little scrubbing with soap and water), but basically no maintenance. Had a big chunk of tree fall on one of the railings during an ice storm. Had to replace the railing, but the decking underneath was fine. I know the stuff costs about twice what the wood does but in my opinion it was well worth it.Arne.
 

Rocky

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Jim, is you deck elevated and, if so, how high off the ground is it? We have been in our home for going on 18 years and I opted for a stone paver patio rather than the deck that many neighbors chose. I had to put two granite steps down from both the patio doors in the kitchen and family room, which was a little more expensive but well worth it. I have neighbors who have both the PT and Trex designs and both have had maintenance problems. My patio is care free except for my "weed abatement" program, which I took from the Romans. I mix up a strong solution of salt and water each spring, pour it on the patio and hose it in and I am weed free for the entire year.
 

Johnd

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Well, our deck is 20 years old (by my best estimate - think it was put on when the house was built, or very new) and the decking is starting to show its age. Several boards are split, splintered and/or cracked and nail pops are plentiful. And to make matters worse, while having some estimates done for some drainage/erosion, we realized we have rot on 3 posts. When it rains, it pours. The deck is huge, so even refinishing ain't cheap. And a DIY job would take me the rest of the summer unless I take some time off just to do that. A refinish, along with replacing some boards will probably only buy another 3-4 years. Long story short, we're considering re-decking. Didn't want to have to do that for a few more years, but I think we're wasting $$ and delaying the inevitable by trying to save and simply refinish.

So that brings us to the choice of materials. The cheapest option is pressure treated wood. But with that comes the cost/time of maintenance. Knowing that we plan to be in this house at least another 15 years, I think it makes sense to swallow hard and go composite. Trex obviously comes to mind, as they are the biggest out there. Timbertech is another. We are probably looking at one of those two. At this point, I don't know if there's a price difference, but if there is, I'm not expecting much. Any recommendations on which way to go? Any advice from those who've 'rehabbed' their deck with composite? Thanks.
Jim, down here in the south, where weather really takes a toll on exterior wood products, the composite deck boards are certainly the product of choice. If you're settled on staying there, that's a no brainer in terms of spending the extra $$ versus maintaining and replacing. Add to that, composites don't twist, warp, check, split, cup, etc., then it's just icing on the cake.

Commercially, in my business, we see the Trex product specified and installed more than any other, but that's not necessarily an indicator of anything more than marketing, availability, or familiarity. Try checking the and comparing the material compositions, warranties, and consumer reviews on the options you are given, you may find that will help you decide. Whichever you choose, make sure that the "wood behind the scenes" will last as long as the decking, and that the proper fasteners and fastener spacing is used. Hope it turns out great!!
 

bkisel

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If a deck it is going to be then it seems to me that the win-win solution would be to build it yourself using a composite material. Building the deck yourself will help keep you in shape for the summer. You'd save a bunch of money and the pride you'd have in building it yourself will be priceless.
 

Boatboy24

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Jim, is you deck elevated and, if so, how high off the ground is it?
We have a walkout basement - most of the deck is 10+ feet off the ground. Otherwise, I'd likely be doing hardscape.
 

cgallamo

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Hey Boatboy! I went with a "Trex like" product (I'm trying to find out what it was) for one deck when I build the house nine years ago, but PT pine when I expanded four years ago (here in GA). Trex looks great even though we pressure washed a little too aggressively this year (lost some of the grain look). The wood probably will only last another 3 or 4 years, and I have to stain it every two. A couple other things to consider:

1. Which look do you like better? I like real wood better.
2. Installation cost/difficulty. It is a little more difficult to install the composite IMO. You may want to get quotes for both materials.

So overall - I agree with John on checking out other product reviews in addition to Trex - I have heard from friends they don't like theirs. I also agree with Arne - if you bite the bullet and purchase the composite you will be glad you did. I wish I had.
 

opus345

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Subscribed as i am in the same boat (pun intended).

Wood, Age 18 years, walkout, ~10 ft raised. As an added incentive, it was determined last fall that flashing was not used when it was installed by our builder. Yup, the walkout windows leak when we get a driving rain from the west.

As you start looking, one good tip i found was to think about texture vs smooth. I think we will go with something textured to provide a little added safety when the deck is wet.

Think about:

Scratching
Color and heat retention vs reflection
Get samples
Warranty (Limited, Fade & Stain, proration, etc.)

Some links from my (just started) research:

https://www.doorwaysmagazine.com/timbertech-vs-trex/

http://www.diychatroom.com/f14/decking-trex-transcend-vs-timbertech-legacy-471353/

http://www.greenbuildermedia.com/deck-durability

http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/outdoors/plastic-vs-composite-decking

Add any good tips or links you find to the thread.

Opus
 
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Boatboy24

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Subscribed as i am in the same boat (pun intended).

Wood, Age 18 years, walkout, ~10 ft raised. As an added incentive, it was determined last fall that flashing was not used when it was installed by our builder. Yup, the walkout windows leak when we get a driving rain from the west.

As you start looking, one good tip i found was to think about texture vs smooth. I think we will go with something textured to provide a little added safety when the deck is wet.

Think about:

Scratching
Color and heat retention vs reflection
Get samples
Warranty (Limited, Fade & Stain, proration, etc.)

Some links from my (just started) research:

https://www.doorwaysmagazine.com/timbertech-vs-trex/

http://www.diychatroom.com/f14/decking-trex-transcend-vs-timbertech-legacy-471353/

http://www.greenbuildermedia.com/deck-durability

http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/outdoors/plastic-vs-composite-decking

Add any good tips or links you find to the thread.

Opus
Thanks Opus. Funny: in my research this morning, I read every article you linked to with the exception the HGTV one. Great minds...
 

bakervinyard

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@BoatBoy, I replaced my deck boards with composite boards a couple of years ago. I had fir decking that was dry rotted. I wanted to replace with wood but my better halve convinced me to use the composite. Best thing I ever did. I bought spacers to speed installation up. Also I got an adjustable bit so I could drive all the screws to the same depth. I predrilled all the holes. Bought 8 ft. pieces because it was less expensive than getting the 16ft. piece. Bakervinyard
 

Mismost

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added a 12x40 deck onto the side of the house year with a pool on the other side. I used composite because of the pool water....which was my driving reason.

I will never build another wood deck! This stuff is expensive, but well worth it IMO. I used the concealed fastener system, only the end boards have screws showing and man! That makes a pretty deck. The color is solid all the wa through and so far shows no sign of discoloration. We have the heavy texture version (or can be installed smooth side up)...it is a cool deck with bare feet even in the hot afternoon sun.

No split, check, warp, nail pop outs, no rot, easy to work with and looks really good. I view at as a good investment and a great improvement to that side of the house! Bite the bullet, spend the money....in fifteen years, you really ain't gonna feel like building another deck.
 

mainshipfred

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I agree composite is way more expensive but a far superior product. The only caution I would like to add is to watch your joist spacing. Composite doesn't span as well as wood. The absolute maximum spacing for composite is 16" o.c. but I would recommend less then that. Diagonal placement requires shorter centers since it increases the bearing distance.
 

Smok1

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Ive built both treated and composite decks and id use wood hands down. It was trex brand decking. Maybe it was the color we chose or maybe its because we get extreme tempatures in both summer and winter but the composite decking we installed faded after 6-7 years, we really didnt notice it too much until we moved a shelving unit we had on the deck and seen how drastic the fading actually was, now there seems to be a clear coat or film on the decking that seems to be seperating, thinking it was something on top of the decking i used my power washer to clean it off and it made it worse by lifting it. Worst part is because of how much its faded i cant even replace a few boards without it looking terrible. At least wood can be painted or sanded down. The price was much more than treated wood. My treated wood deck is 5 years old now and still looks great. Ill never do composite again. Just my personal experience.

Oh one more thing, if it gets hot where you live dont plan on walking on your composite deck in bare feet because they get scorching hot, wood no problem to walk in the heat, composite your burn your toes off, it radiates a ton of heat. In fact its suppose to be around 35celcius today, i have an infared thermometer, when i get home from work ill take a temp of the wood deck vs the composite deck and post the pictures on here. The difference is crazy. I might be a little bias towards composite decking but for the price i paid i think its a huge dissapointment.

Oh and one more story, my buddy has an inground pool and has concerete around it, he wanted to go to composite incase any the kids fell wouldnt scrape themselves too bad or crack a skull, they got a special composite that was suppose to be designed for pool decking, non slip type i think, the composite was so hot they couldnt even walk on it without hosing it off first, they had to have it removed
 
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Smok1

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https://patch.com/connecticut/newtown/bp--some-issues-with-composite-decking

Read this before buying composite decking. Im not making these issues up. They are legit issues just about every person i know whos i stalled composite decking swears they will never use it again.

Top complaints:
Gets too hot
Scratches cant be repared
Fades

Ive personally experienced all these issues, for the price this product is terrible, i wouldnt even use it if it was cheaper than treated wood.

This is just my opinions and personal experience, i didnt want this forum to be completely one sides towards using composite decking, if your in a cooler climate im sure it will be fine, and it looks great when installed and it installes easily with little composite clips you screw in. But there are definitly drawbacks to using composite as well.
 
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ceeaton

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This is a very timely thread. I just got a letter from our association and have to replace my porch supports and railings (it does look awful), but then it turns 25 next month. We are only planning on staying in our house until our youngest graduates from High School (she's 10 now), so I'm going with the PT lumber and some white paint...just can't afford the fancy stuff (only have $500 set aside for materials, will find out how far that gets me this afternoon when I go-a-pricing lumber). One great thing is I have a construction business owner who lives right next door and he's been coaching me and answering all my questions. He also is going to let me borrow his compressor and nail gun, which should really speed up the process.
 

opus345

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First quote for 452 sq. ft = $35K($25K TimberTech Legacy) + $4k flashing fix + $6K 2ft extension).

Holy puckered a$$holes batman!

Opus
 

Redbird1

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We used composite for the deck I built a couple years ago and would recommend it to anyone over wood, even though it gets pretty hot in the summer sun. We have big umbrellas that cover the seating areas, so that issue is mitigated fairly well.

Our old house had a wooden deck and we wouldn't let the kids go barefoot on it after 4 years since it had gotten so rough, and that was with water sealing it after 2. I had to power wash it, sand it down and stain it. With composite, all we do is wash it down with soap and water. We read that you aren't supposed to power wash it.

I can't speak to any of the longer term issues others have had, but I had read that the quality of composite has gone way up since they first came out. Ours is the mid grade Trex, which is wrapped on 3 sides and looks as good as new. No fading when compared to where the umbrella bases sit. No warping or splintering boards. No need for sealer every couple years or restaining.
 

Redbird1

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First quote for 452 sq. ft = $35K($25K TimberTech Legacy) + $4k flashing fix + $6K 2ft extension).

Holy puckered a$$holes batman!

Opus
Ours is almost exactly the same square footage. Doing it ourselves clocked in at around $11K, which included all the framing and railings as well. I think the decking itself was around $7K.

I'd check around on the price of those boards or consider a mid grade product if TimberTech offers something in a color you like.

It took a couple hours to dig the footings and pour the concrete and one long weekend with 3 helpers to do the framing and main deck. After that it was a couple weekends by myself finishing up the steps and doing the railings. Not an easy job, but saved around $25K. We wouldn't have been able to afford that for several more years.
 

olusteebus

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Well guys, No plastic deck for me. I was considering it. Thanks to all.
 
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