Synthetic Decking

judyca2337765 says:
I have a tan colored composite Trek deck, 2 summers old. Last summer there were spots all over the d...... more
I have a tan colored composite Trek deck, 2 summers old. Last summer there were spots all over the deck (like a leopard). Assume it's from some sort of fall out. Tried cleaning it with Corte-Clean composite cleaner and couldn't remove the stains. Contacted Trek company and they couldn't offer a solution or offer to replace deck. Do you have suggestions on painting/staining or other ideas for cleaning these stains? Thank you. Chuck C.(judyca@windstream.net)
 
Technology has created a host of synthetic materials that bring a number of advantages to do-it-yourself deck building. Wood composites, vinyl, and fiberglass-reinforced decking are becoming more widely used because they avoid or minimize many of wood's drawbacks: splitting, splintering, warping, and deteriorating with age. The synthetics are waterproof and maintenance-free. Their principal drawback is that they are not strong enough to be used as structural members, and most systems call for joists spaced 16 inches on center.
Composites

Molded from a compressed and heated mixture of wood fibers and plastic resins, wood composites are the closest of the synthetics to real wood. The manufacturing process results in a surface that mimics the grain of real wood, and the boards can be cut with a circular saw equipped with a large-toothed blade. Installation of some composites is also wood-like -- with screws predrilled into the decking. Others are girder-shape and employ blind screws and a tongue-and-groove system for fastening.

Most composites are environmentally friendly, and many products are made from recycled materials. Some manufacturers even go as far as to introduce chips of aromatic cedar into the decking so it smells like real wood.

If the sun will beat on the deck, choose a brand that has proved colorfast. Many types fade dramatically over the years. Some but not all can be stained when they fade.

Vinyls

Made from recycled plastics or from the same polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as drainpipes, vinyl decking is lightweight, strong, and weatherproof. For wood lovers, however, its appearance may leave something to be desired. Currently this kind of decking comes in only three colors: white, tan, and gray. The plastic surface is etched to provide some slip resistance.

On the other hand, vinyl decking can be ordered to size in kits that come complete with fastening hardware, making installation easy.

Blind screws covered with sliding covers or T-clips are the recommended fastening technique. PVC's primary drawback is that it is more prone than other synthetics to expansion and contraction in temperature extremes.

Fiberglass-reinforced decking

This is decking that is virtually indestructible and could well last you a lifetime. It's stronger than wood, fade resistant, and unaffected by harsh sunlight or extreme cold. Like other products, you can order your deck to size (in even multiples of the stock lengths and widths of the material), but if necessary, you can also cut it witha circular saw fitted with a masonry blade. Retaining clips hold the decking in place; individual pieces snap on the clips.

General considerations

Synthetic decking comes in a variety of forms and thicknesses. Most common are 5/4 decking and 1-1/2-inch extruded girders. Manufacturers have designed their products to comply with most building codes, but some localities may not allow synthetic materials. Always check with your local building code officials before placing an order for synthetic decking.

 

Comments (1)
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judyca2337765 wrote:

I have a tan colored composite Trek deck, 2 summers old. Last summer there were spots all over the deck (like a leopard). Assume it's from some sort of fall out. Tried cleaning it with Corte-Clean composite cleaner and couldn't remove the stains. Contacted Trek company and they couldn't offer a solution or offer to replace deck. Do you have suggestions on painting/staining or other ideas for cleaning these stains? Thank you. Chuck C.(judyca@windstream.net)

4/23/2011 10:29:17 AM Report Abuse
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