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Composite Decking vs Wood

07 September 2019

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions answered by calling 651-989-9226.  Here’s must-know information from our in-house deck specialist, Luke Panek, shared on 9.7.19. 

The fall months provide an optimum time for planning new deck construction.  Carefully considering material options and designs ensures that the deck you customize for your home will be enjoyed for years to come.  Here are some facts worth considering.

SYNTHETIC DECKING

Most homeowners opt for maintenance-free decking because of its lifespan and minimal upkeep.  When compared to cedar decking, synthetic decking is harder to work with.  Boards are heavier to carry and more difficult to cut.  Synthetic decking is less rigid than wood, making it important for joists to be placed closer together.  The fastening process is also more labor intensive.  Special care must be taken to install synthetic decking correctly in order to prevent premature product failure.

AZEK Deck

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Decking: This type of decking is absent of sawdust and organic material.  A popular brand of PVC decking is AZEK®.  This decking material is highly reliable and can stand the test of time.  It comes in an array of colors and patterns.  It is manufactured to withstand fading, termite infestation, mold, mildew, scratching, cracking, and cupping.  When PVC decking does need to be cleaned, is can be washed with premixed composite deck cleaners.  At times, agitation with a brush or broom may be needed.

Tour an AZEK® Deck Built by Lindus Construction: 

Capped Composite: Decking that is capped or coated with polythene lack the durability that cellular PVC products can offer.  They are prone to swelling and expansion and contraction.  However, capped composite decking offers resistance against fading, staining, and scratching.  It wins high marks with homeowners because of its aesthetics imitating the look of wood.

WOOD DECKING

Cedar: Cedar decking is porous and routinely expands and contracts.  Coatings applied to it must be able to handle the expansion and contraction, which makes paint a terrible choice.  Soon after paint is applied to cedar decking, it will begin to chip and flake off.  The remaining paint must be sanded off.  Restoring a cedar deck is a laborious process.  Steps include using a conditioner and brightener to remove mold, mildew, and graying.  Without this, the stain may have a hard time adhering to the deck.  If the deck is still blotchy and uneven, sanding may be required before stain can be applied.

before gutters
Gutters to protect the wooden deck were a must for these homeowners.

Pine: Pine decking is readily available at a low price.  The trade-off is that it is more labor intensive to maintain than Cedar and can easily warp.  Fresh from the lumberyard, pine decking can have a moisture content of 60%-70%.  This means that there is a lengthy waiting period before the deck can be stained.  Kiln dried pine can be an attractive option because much of the moisture has been removed before the product is available for sale.

Ipe: These rare South American hardwoods are a member of the exotic wood category.  Ipe is extremely solid and durable.  It has a dark, teak like look.  Ipe is resistant to rot and can last up to 75 years. Popular types include Iron Woods™ and Tigerwood.  Ipe is a difficult product to use because the fasteners must be specially mortised and piloted because the screws resist the wood if the pilot hole size isn’t exact.  In some cases, each screw must be dipped in wax so that the screws may be drilled into the holes correctly.

Listen to the Entire Show Here: 

Browse Our Composite Deck Installation Projects:

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Lee & Deb’s Maple Grove, MN Siding, Window, Decking, Gutter Project

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Tom and Kim’s Roofing, Gutter, Siding, and Decking Project in Brooklyn Park, MN

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