Category Archives: Composite Decking

The 7 Deadly Sins of Deck Building: #5 Greed

If you're not careful about the material you choose for your deck, you could end up with this!

If you’re not careful about the material you choose for your deck, you could end up with this!

You have been dreaming about this for years! Your neighbors have built a deck, your friends have built a deck, even your parents have built one! Now it’s your turn, and since you’ve waited so long, there’s no holding back. You want lights, stairs and fancy railings, something that’ll really make an impression.

You dive right into the deck building process. You start looking at materials and accessories. You want an exotic hardwood deck. You start pricing out how much your new dream deck will cost, but it seems to be a tad more than what you were planning to spend.

You start to research other options for decking materials. Composites are comparable with pricing and they promise a no maintenance, fade proof look. That sounds perfect! You get a material that costs less and you will have no maintenance, you decide to go for it.

Next, it’s time to pick a contractor. You make a few phone calls and you hire the guy who gave you the best rate. He arrives at your house for the meeting before the project begins. He’s accepted your material choices and design. You tell him you would like to save some money on installation, and he assures you he will provide you with a reasonable deck at a reasonable cost.

It’s been a year since the deck has been installed, and the material has started to crack and peel. You wanted to save a few bucks so the contractor you hired used nails to hold everything together. This poor installation has caused the boards to cup and pull up off the joist system. Nails aren’t even code with deck installation these days. You’ve tried calling him and he wont answer. The composite company wont honor your warranty because it was installed incorrectly.

Because of your greed of wanting to save a few bucks, you have cost yourself even more money. If you want to avoid a situation like this, do some research! Choose the right contractor. Make sure they’re reputable, can obtain the proper permits, and are licensed and insured.

Choose a material that is heavy duty. Advantage Ipe™ has been used in residential and commercial applications and has been proven to last 75+ years without any treatment. It looks gorgeous and with minimal maintenance it will look better in five years then your composite deck looked after a year.

It’s important to not cut costs because it could cause problems for you and your deck. Always do your research and make sure the project is done right the first time. Enjoy your deck, don’t be a slave to it.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Deck Building: Sin #2 – Wrath

Which on of these materials do you want for your deck?

Which one of these materials do you want for your deck?

You’ve had it! Your deck is an eyesore. Boards are cracking and splitting, there’s some green stuff that has overtaken a board over in the corner, and screws and have rusted their way through the railing. You’re so angry you could go out in your backyard and just start hammering your way through this monstrosity.

Slow down! This is the perfect opportunity to take that rage and turn it into something positive. Show your old deck who’s boss and replace it with a stronger, more durable material.

First things first, contact a local licensed contractor that is familiar with demolition and construction of decks. They are the professionals and know exactly what permits and safety precautions need to be taken to ensure everything is done properly.

The most important decision to make when building a new deck is choosing the material the deck will be constructed with.

Pressure Treated Pine, Cedar, & Redwood

These are common materials used in deck construction. They look great at first, but they require lots of maintenance to keep them looking fresh. They are quick to split, decay, and rot. And if for any reason your grill gets tipped over on your deck, there’s no saving it.

Composite & PVC Decking

Composite and PVC decking materials are trying to take over the decking market. They boast a “no maintenance” promise and swear up and down the product will last 25+ years. Composite materials have traces of wood grain in each board where moisture gets trapped, causing mold and swelling of the boards. The colors fade, and just like I mentioned above, if your grill tips over on your deck and hot charcoal flies everywhere, not only are your deck boards ruined, the burning plastic releases toxic fumes into the air.

Stay Calm with Decking Materials

With you can select from any one of our sustainably harvested, exotic hardwood decking materials. For instance, Ipe is proven to last 75+ years with no treatment, has up to a Class A Fire Rating, and is naturally resistant to mold and decay. Not only does it have the structural integrity you need in a decking material, but it looks gorgeous as well!

Choosing the right material for the job is the first step with designing your new deck. Do you want to replace your deck in the next 15 years, or do you want your deck to outlive you?

Deck Safety Tips: How to Check for Split or Decayed Boards


Checking for split and decaying wood is an important part of owning a deck. It only takes a few hours and can save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Summer is right around the corner which means your deck will see a lot of action! Before you have your next BBQ, it’s crucial to inspect for potential damage that old man winter may have had on your old deck.

With winter comes snow, rain, and more than likely, ice. When all that moisture sits on old plastic or wood decking, it will soak in, and in return, cause splitting or decaying boards.


Moisture has caused this composite deck to swell, retain water, and rapidly decay.

When you or a contractor inspect the decking it’s important to check all areas. This includes: ledger board, support posts, joists, deck boards, railings, and even stairs. The ledger board is a common reason why decks fail, so it’s extremely vital to inspect the board thoroughly. The flashing should be in good condition. Check for mold and loose fasteners. If the ledger seems to be in good condition, ensure the fasteners are tightened. Puncturing the wood with a screwdriver, or ice pick, is a good way to see if you are dealing with deck board rot.

Check for posts that are rotting. When posts rot, they can’t support as much weight. If there are any signs of rot or mold, replace the post immediately. Ensure all the post connections to the foundation are secure and no soft wood is present.

Checking underneath your decking is extremely important. It’s easy to overlook, and may be a bit tricky, but with a few extra steps you can feel assured you inspected every piece of your deck. If your decking is on the ground, remove a few boards so you can see underneath. Take a screwdriver and poke the joists and the underside of the deck boards. If the screwdriver penetrates the wood easily, replace the boards. If the joist needs to be replaced, now would be a great time to think about waterproofing the joist system.

Walk around your deck and inspect each and every deck board, including the stairs. Do the same thing you did to the joists, penetrate the decking with a screwdriver. If the screwdriver goes through, replace those boards. If any fasteners are loose, tighten those up. Loose fasteners give moisture the opportunity to enter the deck board and cause rot.

Inspect all railings for water damage. If any rot or decay is present, replace the damaged balusters.

If you happen to see any split decking, replace those boards. Small cracks can be sanded down and resealed, but if there happens to be a large split on a deck board, be safe, replace the board.

In just a short time, you’ll know if any repairs are necessary. When you think about how an accident could happen if you neglect your deck, taking a couple of hours to ensure your deck is a safe is well worth your time. Don’t rush through the process, and contact a local licensed contractor if you are unsure of what you are doing, the safety of your family and friends are of the utmost importance.

Advantage Ipe™ Can Withstand HOW Much Weight?!

On this episode of DeckBusters™, Mike and Emily test Advantage Ipe™ against today’s modern decking options (capstock composite and PVC).

You might be surprised to see the results. Then again, if you know anything about the rugged, natural durability of exotic hardwoods, you probably won’t be too shocked. But, how do the latest plastic options hold up under the weight of a two-ton mid-sized SUV?  Check out this bending strength test to find out!

Watch the Premiere Episode of DeckBusters™ – Decking Vs. Axe

DeckBusters™ is finally here! Click to watch various decking materials get put to extremely high impact testing. We’ve said that Advantage Ipe™ is tough…but how tough? Click below to watch the surprising results! (Every board we tested was one-inch thick (5/4×6).

Should You Repair Your Dock with Composite Decking?

Florida composite dock

Swelling. Peeling. Mold. Those are three of the problems dock owners struggle with on a daily basis.

Do you have to repair your dock and are considering composite decking? Doing your research into what makes the best material for docks is no easy task. Sure, you can find written decking reviews all over the place. You’ll also be flooded with claims that synthetic decking is low-maintenance. But, as with most things, the proof comes from how these materials actually perform over the long term.

Check out these photos to see what you can expect from a dock made of composite decking.

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There’s one common denominator in all of three of the docks you see in that gallery: water. The every day exposure to moisture is a major contributing factor to the swelling, peeling, and overall failure of composite deck boards used for docks. What about the new types of capstock decking options in the market today? One thing is for sure, the science cannot be ignored. If any part of these boards are exposed (such as the ends of the boards or any screwed down surfaces), problems like mold are bound to happen.

At the end of the day, choosing a proven hardwood like Advantage Ipe™ is your best bet. There’s a reason why cities and architects across the world choose Ipe for marine applications, boardwalks, and other projects. Call us today to see why repairing your dock with hardwood decking from is a safe, and solid choice.

USS Constellation in Baltimore Uses Ipe Decking


During our visit to Baltimore for the 2012 DeckExpo, some of our employees visited the historic USS Constellation. While they were learning about the history of this vessel and its role in United States history, they also noticed that the interior walkways of the ship were made of Ipe. Inside this historic ship which had such a vital military role in the shaping our nation, Ipe decking was chosen to be the material that supports people during their visit. Take a look at the slideshow below to see how pristine the wood looks despite being used in such a high traffic area.

In this same slideshow you’ll also see an example of how Cumaru wood is used for a marine siding application. This beautiful Brazilian hardwood was used to wrap around the Inner Harbor Cruises ticket booth. Take note of how evenly and smoothly the wood is weathering despite the fact that it’s surrounded by salty water and air.

Last but not least, we have another example of how composite decking reacts when used for commercial projects. It you inspect closely, you’ll discover how this plastic decking is failing under the sun and everyday use. Imagine what it will look like in just a few years!

If you’d like to learn more about how Advantage Ipe™ and Advantage Cumaru™ will work for your commercial or marine project, give us a call 1-877-232-3915 and take advantage of our Fall Decking Sale.

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