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Hello,

I am looking to redo my deck and would like to use composite deck boards.

Over the weekend I went into a few home home improvement stores to see what is available and get prices. I noticed there seems to be two different styles amoungst many bands. I was hoping someone could provide me with some insight as two the main difference between the styles other than the price point (that is about as detailed as the students working could get....).

I visited Home Depot first and saw the popular TREX brand. They seem to have the hightest cost of roughly $40-60 for a 12' ft board.

I then went into a Rona store where it seems as though it was the store brand for $20 for a 12' board, regular $24.

Right away I noticed that the TREX boards are solid all the way through, the second style is not. It is hallow with a few braces running through it.

Could someone who has experience with composite tell me, aside from pricing, what is the major difference? I'm under the assumption that the TREX being solid is more durable providing a longer life span? Is this indeed true?


Any information is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Sara
 

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I haven't seen longevity problems with composite, mainly what I've seen are fading (which is why it's generally recommended to buy lighter colors) and being slippery when wet (which can be helped a little if there's decent grain in the board).
 

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I have had TimberTech 'terrain' line for 2 years and so far so good. This is one of their capped-composite lines, which means the composite core is capped with thin veneer of some type of synthetic material. It is not hollow but has reduced profile on the bottom, presumably to reduce weight (they are heavy). The boards have a bit of a texture and we haven't noticed then to be particularly slippery. The material is 'scratch resistant' but you have to be realistic, although having said that we have two dogs that like to burst out of the door and I haven't really noticed anything.

Some people note that all composites are prone to mould. Your post mentioned Rona so I assume you are in Canada and aren't likely to have that problem. I wash out deck once a year with a dish soap solution.

My research at the time lead me to conclude that, regardless of who you go with, capped composite is the way to go. I have no experience with Trex but it seems to get reasonable reviews. Personally, I would avoid any of the hollow core brands. Darker colours can get very hot from the sun.

If you are halfways experienced with decking you could try to do it yourself but if not I would call a contractor. The material is expensive and it would be an costly lesson. Because they are not solid wood, they require a different building technique.
 

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I have built 7 or 8 decks with composites. Trex was the majority of them and I find that brand to be slightly superior. Reasons: 1) Solid not hollow core. Hollow core with "soften" in high heat, especially if a dark color, even to the point of seeing seams on the surface. 2) The fading problem that Trex had was about 3 formulaic generations ago and it is a stable color fast product. 3) Installation is simple and can have tracks underneath, only if you want. Other systems require the fastener-less systems for install. 4) All of the composite decking does "grow" black mildew over the perios of years, but Trex seems the least susceptible. There are good products at the box stores, Lowes and HD, that curtail the Mildew growth and any algea.
 
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