View Full Version : Composite Decking
07-25-2003, 03:41 PM
I'm in the process of designing a new deck and I'm considering using composite decking. Does anyone have input as to a particular brand to look at. At this point, Trex seems to be widely available and even stocked at most yards. However, I'm not thrilled at the look of it - I like the finish of a product called EverGrain. Any thoughts one way or the other?
By the way - I'm also looking at using the Eb-Ty hidden fasteners. Does anyone have any experience using these particular fasteners - pro or cons - specifically with composite decking?
Thanks in advance - TD
07-25-2003, 04:53 PM
I am in the final stages of completing two decks with Weyerhouser Choice Decks in the light tan color. I got it at Lowes after looking at several other brands and colors. It saws and planes extremely well and nails and screws without splitting, just like their ads say. What they don't say is that it grays out just about as quick as real wood, although I was halfway expecting it. I used a hidden fastener system (forgot the name) that uses metal strips screwed to the joists. You then screw up through holes in the metal strips into the bottom side of the decking. It looks really good, but it was a pain in the a$$ to get under the deck to put all the screws in. If I was to do it again, I would use the same decking but different hidden fasteners. I have seen the composite decking put down with regular deck screws and it mushrooms up around the screw head, I don't care what the screw manufacturers say. Not a pretty sight, especially with the price you pay for the material. There are some better systems out now that allow you to work from the top side, but I haven't played with any yet. Good luck.
07-25-2003, 09:52 PM
I used Trex a couple years ago, with stainless deck screws through the top. If I had it to do over again, I'd definitely use ebty fasteners. They look like they guarantee proper spacing, and you really don't need to hold the deck down that much.
If I really had it to do over again(like in 20 years), I would have gone with fiberglass deck material. I don't recall the brand anymore, but it too had invisible fastening, snapping onto rails you'd screw down for the entire length of the support beams before you'd even start attaching the planking. The advantage of this fiberglass stuff was that it was much cooler on the feet than Trex. Trex certainly seems hotter than wood gets on sunny days, and being near a swimming pool I have to walk across it barefoot. Problem I had was that Trex is about 5/4 inch thick, the stuff I was replacing was just under 1 inch, and the fiberglass was 2 inches. I could force and tweak the surroundings to get that extra 1/4 inch, but to make 2 inch material fit would have been a nightmare, due to the covered porch area which also had the decking under it.
Also the fiberglass stuff was like double or triple the Trex, and I was worried it would be slippery when wet.
I got Winchester Gray Trex, but regardless of the color, it all turns gray in about a year anyway. In fact, mine arrived a dark brick color, and by the next month the stuff in full sun was pretty gray.
07-25-2003, 10:20 PM
I just happen to be right in the middle of covering a 10'x40' deck with "Perfection" brand composite planking. I've got no idea where the owner got the stuff. For the installer, it's really pretty decent - although I don't know how it'll hold up - it's guaranteed "to the original purchaser for as long as they stay in the home"... which, I'm told, averages about 5 years in today's world.
It saws extraordinarily well, "like budda', brudda'", but doesn't take a pencil mark worth a flying beanfart. You have to make all your cut marks with a knife. It's got the color texture on only one side, so if you mar up that side you can't just flip it over. It's crazy slick WHEN IT'S DRY, especially if you step on a little chunk of cutoff decking ... stupid me ... but when it gets moist, it gets nearly sticky - almost no way to slip on a wet deck.
I'm using some sort of newfambled screw that the owner sells to hardware stores & lumberyards. These screws are specially "engineered" for composite decking. They've got two different threads on the shank, and a little head with a FLAT bottom. As you start the screw, it mushrooms up the plank - then the flat-bottomed head grabs that mushroom and pulls it back inside the hole as you finish driving the screw home. You end up with a nice tidy neat hole. I don't remember the brand name of the screw, unfortunately. They seem somewhat oversized, and take a fairly hefty drill to drive 'em.
The upshot is - between the decking and the screws, the end result is truly profound. When you walk in the area I've finished, it feels like you're walking on a BOLTED DOCK instead of a deck. It's completely silent and feels solid as concrete. Nice.
I brought home some of the planking cutoffs... I plan to try making some pens outta' the stuff. Not that they'll look like much, but it might be interesting to toy with. :)
-- Tim --
If you require the approval of others,
You probably don't have your own.