Monday, January 18, 2010

Selecting a Composite Decking Material

Composite decking products, such as Trex, are a different type of composite then we usually discuss here. Unlike traditional FRP composites consisting of a continuous fiber reinforcement such as fiberglass or carbon fiber and a polymer resin matrix, composite decking products, for the most part, are an extruded composite consisting of wood fiber (saw dust) and polyethylene (grocery bags). Composite decking is a replacement for traditional wood and has many advantages, including lower maintenance, no splinters, no termites, etc.

However, many of the composite decking products have downsides as well. From my experience, some composite decking products are susceptible to stains and mold. For example, if part of your deck is in the shade, this area could slowly grow mildew and require occasional power washing, not exactly zero maintenance. Also, BBQ stains and other spills can grab hold to a composite deck and be near impossible to remove.

The best thing to do before deciding on a type of composite deck material, is talk to professionals working with the various composite materials, also ask if you can talk to customers they have worked with.

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