From Composite Decking Vs Wood Decking - Part 1

Today we are posting Part 1 of an article in that compares composte decking and wood decking: 

The Composite Debunk

composite decking vs wood decks



Many millions of dollars are spent to glamorize composite decking products.  I am faced with the task of deprogramming people that are absolutely sure that all composite decking is wonderful. As a tradesman and designer I get a chance to see these products after a few years of service, with all their flaws exposed. It puts me in a position to question the promises and dissect the language in their marketing materials. 

I’ve fielded hundreds of phone calls and emails over the years from people that bought the promises of the composite companies. Many were disappointed when the warranty turned out to be void because the company just wasn’t there, wasn’t honoring the warranty or their issue was excluded from their warranty. The sad part is that most of the people didn’t research the product until long after they bought and they started having problems. Its human nature I suppose; we trust too much. I find myself in the middle of two groups of people equally as passionate and insensed with a product. 

We see the new decking shows where they use nothing but Trex, (they sponsor the show), and everything looks so wonderful through the camera’s eye. They don’t show you the details that don’t work–the shoddy workmanship or any of the flip side of that coin, but I will spare you that rant. That’s another article!

I have heard noises recently about virgin PVC products being the focus of a class action suit. PVC materials may have a tendency to be stained by cooking oils, and tanning butter. If you apply tanning lotion and then lay on the deck, you may have a permanent “Shroud of Turin effect.” I have noticed that the products go a bit chalky and fade out over time, so there just might be merit to the claim. Maybe we can talk about that law suit later in the year. 

Trex Class Action 2013

Trex has a conditional settlement in place for its latest class action suit. The summary of it is, they will pay you 20% of what you paid for the product or what the contractor paid for the decking up front, and about 50 cents a foot towards the labor to install it. We charge about $15.00 per square foot to change decking on a typical deck, so 50 cents a foot is a paltry amount. You won’t get your decking changed that cheap. If you can live with looking at the deck, take the money. 

If you used a cleaner to try to get rid of the mold, and you kept the receipts, they will pay you $18.00 a jug. 

If you want to roll the dice once more and use their “New and Improved decking”, they will give you a 50% discount on decking and fasteners. If you choose to remove the old decking, unfortunately you will have to pay for the removal, transportation and disposal of the old decking. That factor wasn’t adressed in the agreement. 

Maybe Trex has cured the problems with their decking by switching production to their new cased product–and maybe the Ford Pinto, and Chevy Vega will be discovered to be masterpieces of human engineering. There will likely be fading issues, and the casing might be expanding and contracting at a different rate than the core, so we will wait for the jury on these new products and hope for the best. 

It’s not easy being a forerunner in the development of man made products that are competing with something brilliant created by evolution. Red Cedar, Redwood, Cypress and Mahogany have been growing and adapting to a rain forest environments for millennia. When you take them out of their rainy environment, and use them in a dry environment they last for decades. Their intrinsic beauty and earthy look is something we find attractive as humans. This is why the composite decking companies try to make their products look like wood–which may well be, part of the problem.

More from this important article coming up later this week.