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concensus on composite decking or... ?

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  1. #1
    PiL
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    Default concensus on composite decking or... ?

    with so many options on the market, is there a concensus on what the "go to" product is in terms of performance and cost for composite decking?
    or is the concensus to stick to hardwood ?

    personally i love timber, so i'm a bit torn and hoping someone can set me straight.

  2. #2
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Consensus is overrated. What is the value of a majority opinion, when that group of people will neither pay for, nor use your deck?

    Plastic deck when first arrived on the market was the pits. The product has improved a bit ... apparently. Does it matter? It is still plastic.
    Some do like it, just like some love cask wine and Starbuck coffee.
    No need for oiling is attractive.
    I remember being abused and "reported" for suggesting to someone struggling with deck maintenance, to paint with solid paint and be done with.

    The consensus is to oil, if possible every 6 month ...

    Like for any consumer product, it pays to research and see what you are buying first hand.
    Science is never settled,
    it advances one funeral at the time.
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    PiL
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    Fair enough, but your response tells me you're in the timber camp. That's valuable feedback to me.
    And if several people tell me the same thing, that will influence my research and choice.
    Some people have installed 100s of decks. Their experience and opinion is much more valuable than mine.

    What sort of deck do you prefer, Marc?
    I have an old blackbutt deck that needs replacing. I personally like the look of spotted gum.

  4. #4
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Ok,there you go ... I was trying to stimulate independent thought, not making proselytism.
    If you really want to know what I think, I just ordered an airless sprayer at great expense, to paint a timber deck I am sick of cleaning and oiling.

    Yes I built a few deck, in TP, Cypress pine, Turpentine, Jarra and ahum don't remember. Yes that too,
    Spotty is nice. Don't use Turpentine or Cypress, it cracks all over after one day in the sun.

    If you want to know about plastic fantastic , ask r3nov8or. He has good report about it, but I believe it is expensive.
    Science is never settled,
    it advances one funeral at the time.
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    good lord. How many drinks you had mate...proselytism? had to look that word up. FWIW composite decking is a lot better than it used to be. Gets very hot in the sun, it fades but is low maintenance.

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    Golden Member havabeer's Avatar
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    I plan on using it and some gal box sections for a small landing out our back door. purely so I don't have any maintenance.
    Remember if you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing

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    I used Modwood around the pool. A few years ago I think. Never touched it since. Fully exposed, all seasons. Marvelous. But ONLY because I didn't skimp on the finer details of installation.

    That said, I love wood, just not on my hands and knees maintaining it. I have Merbau and Pelawan under cover, except the ends. The Merbau under the carport I chose not to coat at all. It's fine, greying gradually. The Pelawan out the back (more exposed) I will (one day) strip and coat with clear Cutek and let it go grey to 'match' the Modwood in the same area.

    BTW the natural colour of long-dead wood is a shade of grey. Trying to keep its newly-dead colour puts you on a hiding to nothing

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    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    I laid a Trex composite deck a while back and would favour it any day over fully weather exposed timber. A newly laid timber deck will always be jaw dropping but when exposed to sun and rain, the look soon loses it's shine even with maintenance. Too much expense and effort required every 6 months.

    I had a turpentine deck for 20 years and decided to give it no maintenance. It was fully exposed, cracked and went grey but did not rot and the money I saved not maintaining it pretty much pays for a replacement. My alternative is a solid painted treated pine deck that requires less maintenance and can still look good. But I would be choosing knotless pine that is painted before it gets a chance to crack.

  9. #9
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sol381 View Post
    good lord. How many drinks you had mate...proselytism? had to look that word up. FWIW composite decking is a lot better than it used to be. Gets very hot in the sun, it fades but is low maintenance.
    What is the correlation between being inebriated and the use of inordinate words?
    Ethanol induced obfuscation would certainly reduce one's vocabulary to a dozen or so words, mostly composed at best by one or two syllables.
    The profuse usage of convoluted circumlocutions, even as a gasconade, is a certain sign of being alert and far from delirium tremens.
    Science is never settled,
    it advances one funeral at the time.
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    We used a composite decking that looks exactly like merbau. It was a discontinued line at the big green shed too so bonus saving of $$$. It looks great and there's absolutely no maintenance. I will say though that if we did something like this again, I think we would use the invisible fixing.
    I am not responsible for anything that Moondog says!

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    PiL
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    Just googled trex and modwood.
    I really want to like them... but i cant. maybe i just need to stick with hardwood for a little while longer.

    I didnt mention in my opening post, but the deck is under cover. The edges that take on rain are very manky and might even need a new joist. I want to replace the lot and keep the decent old pieces for somewhere else - my shed deck which is treated pine.

    Which then leaves me with what hardwood to use. Any opinions on wood then, and method of fastening them.?

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    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Merbau or Kwila is best IMO but beware they bleed, just avoid blackbutt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    Just googled trex and modwood.
    I really want to like them... but i cant. ...
    It's ok

    You do you

  14. #14
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Most hardwood will do well under cover. I would suggest Spotted gum or Merbau depending on colour preference, but really undercover you can venture into cheaper timber without too much risk. Do change any dubious joist, and use 'protectadeck' on the joist section that get wet. Maybe paint them too since you are going to uncover them.
    It pays to pre oil the boards all around before installation. Some suppliers are selling the boards pre oiled. I built a large deck around a pool in Jarra pre oiled and it really made a difference.
    Top screw, SS, small gage, torx drive. Use smartbit the right size.

    Here is a general chat about decks from my prefered screw (Spax). A bit verbose, but good info.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFx7TT8OEpI
    Science is never settled,
    it advances one funeral at the time.
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    Golden Member havabeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    Just googled trex and modwood.
    I really want to like them... but i cant. maybe i just need to stick with hardwood for a little while longer.
    sounds like you'd made up your mind before you even started the thread?


    I do notice that plastic wood is becoming more prevalent. I saw a few ad's for places doing composite sleepers but can't seem to find much on them anymore.

    i know this mob is doing a mix of plastic and aggregate but are only shipping with in victoria:
    https://www.replas.com.au/sleepers/

    but like this one shows, for under a colourbond fence it would be perfect.

    composite-wood-sleepers-under-fence.jpg
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  16. #16
    PiL
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    Quote Originally Posted by havabeer View Post
    sounds like you'd made up your mind before you even started the thread?
    Nah, still looking and have an open mind. So many people seem to love composite and i was hoping there was some great product i mightve missed.
    I really want to go plastic but the visual just doesn't seem to make my blood pulse yet.
    They dont seem to have come as far as internal composite flooring which im sold on.

    Believe me, i hate ASKHOLES. Forums and hobby groups are often ruined by them...
    "An askhole is basically a person who asks for your opinion or advice, yet never uses your advice and does the opposite of what you said to do."

  17. #17
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    So many people seem to love composite and i was hoping there was some great product i mightve missed.
    I
    Not so much loving the product but appreciating the set and forget aspect of the product. In all weather conditions maintenance wise, timber is a bit of a nightmare.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    with so many options on the market, is there a concensus on what the "go to" product is in terms of performance and cost for composite decking?
    or is the concensus to stick to hardwood ?

    personally i love timber, so i'm a bit torn and hoping someone can set me straight.
    It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks to set you straight, because you are the one who will be maintaining it.
    I love hardwood decks, but I am prepared to maintain any I build because I like them to look good.

    So many decks I visit haven't been maintained and they look terrible, people fall in love with the timber look and swear they will maintain them, after one season they usually give up.
    After two or three seasons they all look like crap.

    Merbau seems to put up with no maintenance for a long time, and is able to be revived relatively easy.
    Blackbutt is terrible if left to go grey, it will split and start looking terrible after 12 months of no maintenance, I would never use Blackbutt as a decking material.

    The advantage of composites is if you can put up with the sort of fake look, there is minimal maintenance involved in keeping them looking as new for many years, this is a big drawcard for many.
    Probably the best composite I have used is AZEK, it's expensive but has a long warranty, installs easily, the hidden fixings are easy to install (installed from top of board not on the side)

    Below is an AZEK one we did, it looks nice, installed really quick and was quite nice to look at, overall if I was older and didn't want the hassles of moving furniture off the deck every 6-12 months, cleaning , sanding then re-oiling I would go for a composite.

    There are plenty of other things I would rather do than maintain a deck.

    If I was to go the timber / oil path, I would always choose mineral oil based product, I despise water based stuff, oil based product is so easy to maintain and strip off after 4-5 years to start again, water based products are a PITA.

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    There is also HardieDeck to consider
    https://hardiedeck.com.au/

  21. #21
    PiL
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    A good read r3nov8or. Thank you.

    So blackbutt sucks huh. Typical.
    Im not in a rush to replace the deck, but it is high on the list. Some may know im bringing an old 50s house back from the dead. The deck was a later addition around 20 years ago and never maintained.

    Looking at the "best" composite decks referred to on this thread, i can say that so far im not convinced. I can see it has it's place, and i may use it on my raised timber boardwalks, but for the deck, which is where i spend a lot of time drinking and bbqing, I just love the look and feel of wood too much.

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    Also consider any bushfire risk if you have to.
    I'm unsure how our plastic and sawdust composite deck would fare in a fire and I don't really want to experiment.
    I don't mind the look of the composite but personally I'd go for compressed cement sheeting and outdoor tiles if I was building from scratch.
    "A big boy did it and ran away"

    Legal disclaimer denying responsibility to be inserted here.

  23. #23
    PiL
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    Now there's an idea.
    I do love those wood look tiles. I wonder if that's something i could do... the deck is held up by 9 brick stumps and attached to brick wall on 2 sides. The more i think about it, the more i like it. ��
    Will have to delve into this a bit more.

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    I instructed a deck around the pool last summer. IMO it was a no brainer for a composite board due to no maintenance and being in proximity to pool splashing. In the process of redoing the upstairs do now. Went with composite again, mainly because this deck is shaded but not undercover except for afternoons in summer. Had it been on the north side of the house I may have gone with timber and tried to make the effort to maintain.

    Timber is nicer to to look at, but composite doesn’t require near as much maintenance.
    Measure twice, cut once, trim some off the end, trim some more. Too short. Rinse, Repeat.

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    Default concensus on composite decking or... ?

    Question for those that have used composite decking.

    Do the boards expand when hot?

    If yes I assume it is manageable what do you need to do to negate the expansion?

    Are they hotter to walk on than timber when in summer?


    ro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestmount View Post
    Question for those that have used composite decking.

    Do the boards expand when hot?

    If yes I assume it is manageable what do you need to do to negate the expansion?

    Are they hotter to walk on than timber when in summer?


    ro
    Yes, they (most?) expand in both directions, so you also need to leave an end gap if butt joining, 45 degree perpendicular designs. The instructions with advise what's required for any given brand. Modwood provide the spacers with the product. Advisable to install on an average temp day for your area.

    I have a Pelawan (hardwood, similar to Merbau) deck and a Modwood deck adjacent to each other and with one foot on each on a hot day they are the same temp. But the Modwood gets colder a lot faster, eg when cloud comes over, and later in the day it doesn't retain the heat for as long

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    Default concensus on composite decking or... ?

    Thanks good to know.


    ro

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