We recently received video of some composite decks in Florida. The decking problems here are numerous. Twisting and warping is just the tip of the iceberg. Mold, rot, decay. You’ll even see how excessive heat can cause significant damage. Check it out for yourself:
You might have heard about the latest type of composite decking. There are multiple decking brands using what’s known in the plastic industry as “capstock.”
What is Capstock decking? Basically, Capstock is a new kind of composite decking material that combines composites (plastic and wood fiber core) with a “durable” exterior layer of vinyl (PVC). Think of it as a composite and PVC deck hybrid.
Like with most new products in the decking market, the companies that sell this kind of synthetic decking are doing their best by spending millions of dollars to convince you that, FINALLY, this is a composite wood product you can trust. These brands are also trying their best to convince you and deck builders across the country that it is “as good as, or better” than natural hardwood decking in terms of durability and looks.
They even offer a 25-year warranty on their product. However, if you’ve done research, you will learn that, for many, composite decking warranties aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Many people complain and have sued these artificial decking companies for not complying with the terms of their warranties.
Ironically, even a reputable publication like Professional Deck Builder says about the latest trend in capstock composite decking, “The lengthy warranties – most up to 25 years – indicate that manufacturers stand behind these products (though perhaps you’ve heard that before).” That’s a direct quote, folks. Even the home-building press is skeptical about these products and for good reason.
Another interesting fact that arose out of our research is the resistance of all composite decking companies to disclose the chemical makeup of their new decking materials. In fact, when FineHomebuilding Magazine was conducting their own research into these products for their article entitled “In Pursuit of the Perfect Plank” the author noted, “None of the manufacturers I spoke with would reveal what was in their proprietary polymer.” Why is that? Continue reading
Although Advantage Lumber refuses to sell, recommend, or have anything to do with composite decking products, we often receive calls from composite deck owners who are having maintenance issues. Surprisingly, they call us for composite deck maintenance advice after they spoke with the manufacturer or the store where they purchased it.
A question that we sometimes get asked is, “I have composite decking that is starting to mold and don’t want to spend the money to replace it. Can’t I just flip over the deck board?
Our answer is always the same. Continue reading
These days, being green and using eco-friendly products is more than a trend. Our whole economy is starting to recognize and value materials and items that have been manufactured and/or promote a healthy, green, and eco-savvy lifestyle. Even the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has shown us that there can be a heavy price to pay when we rely too much on environmentally problematic and damaging resources and materials.
What does this have to do with wood decking?
Well, there is a huge marketing push led by composite decking companies to cast all wood decking as non-eco-friendly. These companies want you to believe that all wood decking comes from illegal logging and that it decimates the world’s forests. Here’s the truth, as an FSC certified lumber supplier, the wood decking that we sell here at Advantage comes from eco-friendly forestry practices.
Here are 5 things you need to know about Green Decking: Continue reading
If you found this blog post searching for “Decking Reviews”, congratulations! You’re right to do your research. You might have even read some negative feedback or heard a lot of marketing hype from both hardwood and composite decking companies. Hopefully, this post clears the confusion about which direction to go in and what material to choose for your specific project.
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You get what you pay for” then you understand that when people cut corners, focus on buying cheap materials, and fall for that marketing hype, disappointment, regret, and frustration set in. We’ve received a ton of phone calls from people who were tricked into buying “Tropical” materials that composite decking companies sell. We’ve even received calls from people who bought their decking from a different supplier only to be disappointed to find that their material was not premium grade, or was handled incorrectly.
Many of the problems you might hear when it comes to hardwood decking could have and should have been prevented.
- Was an end grain sealant used to protect the boards from drying out too quickly and checking?
- Were the boards allowed to properly acclimate to the surrounding climate for the recommended 3-5 days?
- If using dense materials like cumaru or ipe, were the deck boards pre-drilled prior to fastening?
- Seeking the advice of the company who supplied the material is also highly recommended.
- Also it helps to chose to work with a reputable contractor in your area who understands multiple materials and how best to install them.
With regards to composite decking materials, we strongly advise against them for many practical reasons:
- It’s more expensive than real wood decking
- The benefits (or lack thereof) don’t justify the high cost
- There are too many composite recalls and lawsuits and general complaints to count
- Mold, mildew, decomposition, and discoloration are common complaints
- Composite deck boards cannot be recycled by a majority of local recycling plants
Let’s be honest, if composite decking were so great, we’d be selling it. However, with these facts in mind, we can’t in all good faith, offer products we know to be inferior to genuine hardwood.
Ultimately, what you need to consider is not how the material will look 1-2 years after it’s installed, but what the material will look like and be able to handle in 10-15 years…that’s the benchmark.
Discover more about real wood decking from AdvantageLumber.com
Once again, while searching for composite decking reviews, I was once again struck by how many people regret spending their hard earned money on an expensive, yet inferior product. It’s no secret that I am not a fan of composite decking. However, my reasons are not because I think the decking is ugly or that the cost is too high. On the contrary, I hate to see people save, plan, and then build a deck, only to have it crumble or worse, transform before their eyes. What do I mean? Well, just take a look at these pictures:
Composite Decking Pictures:
Need further proof that composite decking is not all that it’s cracked up to be? I’ve posted these before, but it’s worth noting again that the US Government has already warned consumers about plastic decking. All of these issues, problems and composite decking complaints make you wonder…is composite decking the next asbestos?
Using hardwood once again is the best option for all your decking needs.
If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I am not a fan of composite decking. After all, there’s a good reason why this blog is called the “Ipe Decking Blog”! 🙂
However, despite my own personal reasons, if you conduct your own research into composite decking comparisons and composite decking reviews, you will run across countless complaints and maintenance issues.
These complaints are coming from hard-working people like you who have invested their hard-earned time and, above all else, money, building what they thought would be a beautiful addition to their home. If you put yourself in their shoes wouldn’t you want to make sure that no one else goes through what they just went through?
If you want to build a deck, or replace your composite deck with decking that will last, then choose a hardwood such as ipe decking. If you look through the other posts on this blog, you will see that ipe decks are vastly superior to composite decks and can even be cheaper to build too!
Last, but certainly not least, if you’re convinced that using ipe hardwood decking is the right way to go, call us at AdvantageLumber.com. We’d be honored to help you build the deck of your dreams and avoid the nightmare of dealing with fixing your composite deck.