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Old 06-18-2008, 04:06 PM   #1
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


I guess the title kind of says it all. What are the Pros/Cons on wood vs synthetic? Everyone says synthetic is higher in price but never, how much, 10%/50%/100% greater in price?
I have heard that the synthetic decking has a terrible problem with "mildew" but I haven't bee able to verify that!

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Old 06-18-2008, 04:42 PM   #2
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


Both have positives and negatives.

Personally, I can't stand composite deck materials. I don't think they look as good, and they're staggeringly expensive. I think that they look like plastic that is made to look like wood, but they don't fool anyone. Kind of like the faux wood on the side of 80's station wagons. So, given the fact that the prices are on the same plane, I'd go with Ipe wood instead. That's the only wood I'd compare to composite, based on durability and longevity. It is beautiful too.

What are you comparing? What kind of wood are you thinking of using? Wood species' costs vary drastically, so it is hard to give even a basic cost comparison between wood and composite. There are also a multitude of composites and various price levels for them also.

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Old 06-19-2008, 04:14 PM   #3
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I completely agree with the kctermite. I built my deck out of Ipe and couldn't be happier. It didn't take much online research about the "plastic" stuff to convince me I didn't want to use it. Don't quote me, but if I remember correctly the composite stuff was about twice as much as PT and Ipe was about 10-15% more than that. If you're in the composite price range, the extra $$$ for Ipe is very well spent IMO.
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:55 PM   #4
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


what is ipe decking??
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:51 PM   #5
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 4just1don View Post
what is ipe decking??

Read up: http://www.ipe-wood.com/faq.html
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Changeling View Post
I guess the title kind of says it all. What are the Pros/Cons on wood vs synthetic? Everyone says synthetic is higher in price but never, how much, 10%/50%/100% greater in price?
I have heard that the synthetic decking has a terrible problem with "mildew" but I haven't bee able to verify that!
Composite Decking is roughly 3 times the cost of Pressure Treated Decking. Composite Railings, are considerably more.

In the past, Trex has had many complaints, and even lawsuits about mold. There may be other manufacturers that have as well. Incidentally, Trex re-formulated their entire line, along with making it thicker, so as not to require 12" O.C. framing for installation.

A popular deck board that we install alot is Procell. It looks very "plasticky"...but is the easiest product to work with. It is more of a "close-celled" composite deck board. Unlike many other composites, the closed cell characteristic of the material doesn't trap moisture and mold in the material. It is very popular with the Pool Decks we build.

The main difference between hardwood decking and composite is going to be:
a.) Appearance
b.) Maintenance

Real hardwood decking requires annual maintenance (sealing). Obviously, composite decking only requires cleaning, whenever you want it cleaner.

The look of real hardwood, is a preferance. I personally like Mahogany.

I've had some clients that like the "no-maintenance" concept of composites. If that is you, then you should consider composites.

If you like the look of real wood, then try Ipe, Mahogany, Cedar, Redwood, other....just be prepared for regular upkeep and maintenance.

If you are on a budget: PT will work, and can be stained to create a completey different look. Example: I posted a picture of a PT deck that was stained here: http://www.diychatroom.com/showthrea...854#post131854

Lastly:
Tho composite decking has been around for a "little while", as a whole, they are still in their infancy. There is much for manufacturers to learn about their strengths and weaknesses, and how each reacts to different climates, how they weather, wear, and most importantly....how they age.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:08 PM   #7
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


That was a very good response thank you.

Everyone around wants to use a nail gun but I have seen some real disasters from people using them. The nails rust like crazy and start backing out in a few years.

What is your opinion on this?
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:57 PM   #8
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


They won't rust if you use hot-dipped galvanized nails (required for use in any treated lumber), but I still think nailing is a lousy way to secure decking to a deck's structure. Screws are better 100% of the time.
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:26 PM   #9
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Decking, Pros/Cons on wood or synthetic?


FWIW: We use only stainless steel screws for installing the deck boards.

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