Category Archives: Composite Decking

The 7 Deadly Sins of Deck Building: #7 Pride

Listening to advice leads you down the right path when you build your brand new deck.

Listening to good advice leads you down the right path when you build your dream deck.

Dear Future Deck Owner,

You’re looking to build a new deck, and you probably have a lot of questions on what the entire process entails. I used to boast to my neighbors about how my deck was the best on the block, that was until it started falling apart. It turns out that composite decking, doesn’t look pretty after a few years. I had to save a lot of money to redo the damage. Now, after a lot of money and a lot of hard work, I can look back at my new deck and feel the journey was worth it. Hopefully, this letter helps you learn from the mistakes I made. So, here are some tips I’d like to share with you to make the entire process a little less intimidating.

What I thought to be easy, was actually the most challenging part of my experience, finding the right contractor. Since I’m a little handy around the house, I always thought I knew best, and every contractor was beneath me. This was a difficult pill for me to swallow. It’s hard to find a person who is knowledgeable and trustworthy with your money. If you think about it, you’re handing over money to someone you probably aren’t familiar with, and are trusting them to safely build a deck for your family to enjoy. If you do your research, and even a background check, you’ll find the right guy. If you’re lucky, he can be a contractor you can continue to go back to and build a professional relationship with.

The decking market has been introducing new materials, each promising to be better than the next. What can you believe in an over saturated industry? Composites claim to be “green” and “no maintenance,” but I’ll tell you, this is far from the truth. The plastic material used to construct each individual board is made with chemicals that can be toxic. As far as “no maintenance,” nothing worth having is “no maintenance”. Every deck needs to be cleaned and cared for if you want it to last.

Soft materials like pine and cedar look great right after installation, but after a few years the weather can take a toll and cause the material to be nothing more than an eyesore.

I have found in my research, after I was burned with a composite deck, that exotic hardwoods have the best qualities. They are dense, strong, and have a natural resistance to pesky mold and bacteria. Teak used to be the top notch decking material, but what if I told you there is a better material out there than teak? Ipe decking is stunning, and outperforms teak. It’s strength and density contribute to its structural integrity. If you allow your decking to mature to a patina gray and you decide you want to bring the color back, you can! A pressure washer and a little Ipe Oil™ will bring back its rich colors. Try doing that with composite!

What I am trying to share with you is my experience. If you’re anything like me, you have a big head and you know everything about everything. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your sense of good judgement. Learn from my arrogance, and create the best deck in your neighborhood.

Sincerely,

A Happy Deck Owner

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 AdvantageLumber.com Decking Materials

With AdvantageLumber.com 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

oldwooddeck

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.

rottedcompositedecking

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.

[nggallery id=5]

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 AdvantageLumber.com is a safe, and solid choice.