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Old 03-05-2011, 08:06 PM   #1
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Insight on the "maintenance free" claims of composite/vinyl/pvc decking?


Hi All,

My wife and I have been working on plans for adding a deck onto our house, and our initial plans had all been geared towards a composite deck of some type. We really don't want to add another maintenance item to our home, if we can avoid it.

However, I've had some doubts cast on my initial impression of composites being "maintenance free." I've been doing some searching and reading, and I've found a number of wood-decking guys making the assertion that the "maintenance free" claims are only true if you plan to replace your deck every 5 years or so. Our goal was to have a deck that will last us decades, and not require annual sealing/staining (as I believe a wood deck would).

In the experience of folks here, do composites hold up to these claims? When I say "composites" I'm referring to any of the "non-wood" products, like "cellular PVC", vinyl wrapped decking, and so forth. I don't understand all the distinctions between the different names these products have--we just want something that won't mold, crack, or require replacement in a few years.

We plan to be in the house for a long time--several decades. So we want to make the right decision about this deck, and put something in that will last. Are the claims made by composite companies about being "maintenance free" the honest truth? Or are they not being forthright?

For reference, here are some of the articles I've come across.

Pro-wood, anti-composite:
http://www.advantagelumber.com/ipe_d...ecking-reviews
http://www.gardenstructure.com/composite_decking

Pro-composite:
http://www.deckingreview.com/Composite_Decking.html
http://www.ideas-for-deck-designs.co...al-review.html


As far as composites go, we've looked at Azek Deck, CertainTeed EverNew, Evergrain Decking, and Gossen Decking. Pretty much all of them claim they are scratch, fade, splits, and rot resistant--maintenance free--all the stuff we're looking for.

Thanks for any insights you can provide us. We've only gotten more uncertain about the materials for this project the more reading we do!

-Josh

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Old 03-05-2011, 08:21 PM   #2
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Insight on the "maintenance free" claims of composite/vinyl/pvc decking?


Another idea we've come across is "Ipe" decking. That's a kind of wood I've never even heard of before. Some folks claim that it is virtually maintenance free as well:
http://www.ehow.com/way_5347076_ipe-...intenance.html
http://www.advantagelumber.com/ipe_d...intenance-free

Anybody have an Ipe deck, or have experience with Ipe decking? Care to share thoughts on how it's worked out?

We haven't been able to find pricing on Ipe decking anywhere yet... are we going to have massive sticker shock?


Last edited by jbeall; 03-05-2011 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:23 PM   #3
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Insight on the "maintenance free" claims of composite/vinyl/pvc decking?


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Originally Posted by jbeall View Post

As far as composites go, we've looked at Azek Deck, CertainTeed EverNew, Evergrain Decking, and Gossen Decking. Pretty much all of them claim they are scratch, fade, splits, and rot resistant--maintenance free--all the stuff we're looking for.
If something seems too good to be true.....
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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Insight on the "maintenance free" claims of composite/vinyl/pvc decking?


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Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
If something seems too good to be true.....
To me, it's plausible that a product like that a product like this could exist. In other words, it doesn't seem to good to be true. I just don't have enough experience with decking to know what reasonable expectations are. That's why I came here--I'm hoping to get educated by those "in the know" :-)

By the way, by "maintenance free" I am not expecting it to never need cleaning. I understand that any product is going to get dirty and need cleaning.

-Josh
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