Category Archives: Composite Decking

Best Decking for 2021

Tigerwood Decking
Tigerwood Decking

In 2021 as homeowners are still reluctant to travel many are in search of the best decking to build their own backyard oasis.

Most homeowners are familiar with the usual decking materials such as pressure treated pine decking, cedar and composite products.

The demand for some of these products has increased greatly due to many homeowners still stuck at home wanting to expand their outdoor living space.

Some of these decking options like pressure treated pine, cedar or redwood decking are softwoods.

Softwoods can look beautiful and last many years but they do typically require annual maintenance to prevent premature rot and decay.

Many homeowners don’t like the thought of maintenance and believe that composite products are “No Maintenance”.

The reality is some of these composite manufacturers years ago advertised their products as “No Maintenance”, homeowners painfully realized this was far from true.

Many homeowners quickly experienced their “No Maintenance” decks would grow mold so fast that many had to power wash their decks almost weekly.

We’ve yet to find a composite product that homeowners haven’t experienced issues with so as of now we don’t recommend or sell any.

If this is an option you want to pursue we strongly suggest doing some google searches for the “brand + complaints and problems” to see what homeowners have experienced.

Top Decking Options for 2021

Our top decking that we usually recommend is Ipe wood but that is the most expensive due to its proven durability, beauty, longevity and demand.

Ipe wood is a South American hardwood known to last up to 75 years on commercial applications like the Coney Island boardwalk with no chemical treatments.

Our overall top pick for decking in 2021 when durability and price are a concern is Tigerwood decking.

Imported from South America Tigerwood is another exceptionally beautiful hardwood deck option that is known to last 30+ years.

Is There Such Thing as a Maintenance-Free Deck?

This is probably the question asked most often by both our potential and current customers, along with the entire internet. Everyone wants a maintenance-free deck that once it’s installed, you do absolutely nothing and it’ll stay looking just like the first time you stepped on it.

This popular belief was pioneered by some of the manufacturers of synthetic decking products, promising a maintenance-free, trouble-free surface that would last for years without lifting a finger. These fantastic claims resonated well because people were tired of the same Southern Yellow Pine, Cedar or Douglas Fir that would need yearly stripping, sealing and painting just to try to keep it together for a few years.

However, the properties that make these woods popular for construction don’t apply to exterior use.  They need to be painted or sealed constantly to protect the wood, otherwise it will deteriorate, splinter, crack, and rot beyond repair. Though cheap initially, the cost of maintenance and the enduring hard work has proven these species unsuitable.

We recommend Pressure Treated wood only for deck framing.
We recommend Pressure Treated wood only for deck framing.

The wonderful thing about our decking is that it maintains its structural integrity as the decades pass. This means there’s none of the deterioration that is typical with species like Southern Yellow Pine. Our decking weathers beautifully to grey, but it stays solid. With our hardwood choices of Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa, and Massaranduba, you can expect to have one of the densest and strongest woods available on the market. All of these woods are at least 2x stronger and much denser than any of the common wood used for decks.

DSC_9891

Having a desire for a low-maintenance material is when our Brazilian hardwood decking becomes most enticing. Using any of our species of hardwoods won’t promise you a deck that, without any help, will be pristine for many decades. We are realistic and we know that our decking needs some maintenance, no matter how minimal it is. The maintenance you can expect with our hardwoods is to have to rinse off the deck with warm water.  

If you leave the deck without cleaning for months, you may need to use a cleaner and brightener solution. Don’t worry, this is a powder that dissolves in warm water and gets applied with a mop; if you can mop a floor you can use these solutions. Finally, to keep the color of any of our woods, you will need to re-apply Ipe Oil once every year to two years depending on how much sun your deck sees.

This oil acts as a sunscreen, and brings out the rich tones of the wood’s grain. Unlike most other products on the market, this oil doesn’t need a million things before it’s applied. If your deck is clean, just apply it again!

What we offer is a no compromise decking material that lasts well over 30 years, is 100% natural, low-maintenance, and can always be repaired should there be any scratches or gouges. Even more importantly, compared to any other material, if our hardwood is left to fade, it can always be returned to its original color.

Refinishing All Decks, Even Composites

Refinishing is a tradition that all deck owners know well. Whether its pressure treated, cedar, redwood, pine, or any other type of softwood, usually every year in the spring time a proper cleaning and refinishing is necessary to restore its former beauty.

Decks built out of wood look beautiful year in and year out because of the wood’s natural properties. Wood deck surfaces can be power washed or sanded to remove any surface debris without adverse effects to the core of each board.

Take care when power washing to use a wide fan tip nozzle and make sure you hold the wand back far enough away from the deck boards. Once the boards are clean and dry, a stain or protective coat can be applied to keep wood looking wonderful another twelve months before the process starts again.

In the case of our Brazilian hardwoods, it’s a little easier than that. If needed use a cleaner and brightener specific for hardwoods to clean excessive dirt and balance the pH of the wood. Once this step is completed, apply a coat of Ipe Oil to provide protection from the sun’s UV rays.

This process is only necessary once per year depending on how much direct sunlight the deck gets, some home owners can get away with applying the oil to their deck every other year.

Advances in technology created synthetic man-made materials that claim to be the latest and greatest materials to build decks with. Composites claim that their product has all the qualities of a durable, reliable material without any of maintenance that wood requires. As the years pass and composites begin to feel the test of time, a lot of products fail to uphold their promises.

A faded and moldy composite decking will require a complete refinishing
A faded and moldy composite decking will require a complete refinishing

More and more homeowners turn to the internet to search for something that was supposed to be an oxymoron: composite deck refinishing. As their composite decking begins to fade or worse, suffer from delamination resulting in cracked and flaked surfaces, homeowners quickly find their composite decking needs refinishing with chemical products, resulting in a bigger hassle than refinishing regular pressure treated decking.

The classic “all that glitters is not gold” proves once again that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

How to Zombie Proof Your Home!

It seems like it’s inevitable, the zombie apocalypse is coming. So what are we to do when this doomsday approaches? We’ll zombie-proof our homes, of course!

Now you may be wondering why you’re on a decking blog reading about zombies, but if The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it’s that we can live amongst the undead.

Here’s where we get down to business, order ipe decking. When you hear about the first victim of this catastrophe, order as much ipe decking as you can OR if you have an ipe deck prepare to dismantle it. After all, I doubt you’ll want to spend any time in an outdoor area as the world starts turning into the undead. Next, I want you to go outside and start boarding up your windows and doors!

Don’t forget to end seal those boards though if you’re going to cut them. If you don’t end seal the deck boards, they will lead to warping and cracking and could leave a weak point for the zombies to enter. After you have end sealed the boards and they’re dry, it’s time to attach the boards to the windows.

Don’t forget to predrill! If you skip the predrilling, the boards will crack and you will break screws. Time is a matter of life and death and this point don’t make any more work for yourself. As for the fasteners? Go with stainless steel screws. Coated screws will fail you. You don’t want to turn into a zombie because of a fastener, do you?

Ipe will last you over 75 years, so even if the apocalypse last for several decades, your boarded up house will too. This hardwood resists mold, decay and insects, and the bony hands of zombies.

Now we can’t guarantee that your neighbors won’t give you weird looks for boarding up your windows with ipe decking, but we can guarantee that they’re going to regret going with soft woods like pine or worse…COMPOSITES. Everyone knows that it’s a fact that zombies will break soft woods right? it’s in every movie and novel ever made!

Stay safe and stay alive during the Zombie Apocalypse!

Can Composite Decking be Recycled?

For years the decking industry has gone back and forth as to what is a “green” decking option and what isn’t. In an industry where everyone boasts their product is the best, how are we supposed to make an educated decision when buying a new deck?

Some composite decking does use recycled materials, but does that mean the boards themselves can be recycled? The majority of the time the answer will be no. Our findings suggest that the composite deck boards that can’t be recycled are made from wood and plastic fibers which are combined using bonding agents that deter any machine from separating them.

img_0776

Continue reading

Deck Maintenance – How to Prevent Mold

Keeping your deck clean will keep it from looking like this.

I looked all over for moldy hardwood decks, but all I could find were composite decks like this one.

Unfortunately mold is something that we have to deal with. Mold is everywhere, all the time, but only under the right conditions can it cause a threat. While mold itself is not always bad (think of it as nature’s way of recycling), it can be detrimental to older decks made of soft wood and composites.

Mold only needs a few things to grow: food, such as dirt and pollen, water, and favorable weather conditions. When these three elements are all met, the mold begins to have a feast on whatever it’s sitting on.

Continue reading

Decking Options – 2013 Comparison Guide to Deck Materials

deckingfor2013

When deciding to build the deck of your dreams, it’s important to make sure you invest in material that will last for years and not be a hassle. The first step in making sure you will live happily ever after with your deck is making sure you know all the material that is available for you to choose from. Once you see all that is out there, you will discover what thousands of other homeowners already know; Advantage Hardwoods are the most ideal choice for your unique project. Continue reading