The wood used in the framework of all Barrett Outdoors decks is referred to as “pressure treated wood”. The framework is the skeleton of the deck (what holds everything up), and local building codes require the use of treated lumber in all frameworks.
In today’s market, manufactured decking is, without a doubt, the most popular choice for consumers. There have been many technological advances made with these types of decking and railing materials over the past 15 years. The best news is that manufactured decking materials just keep getting better and better! The main thing to remember is that while these products are very durable and are usually less maintenance than a traditional wood deck, they are NOT bullet proof and still require diligent cleaning and some limited care.
This information will deal with the decking or materials that make up the surface of the deck. There are currently two main types of manufactured decking available: composite and PVC. There is also a third type of decking, a hybrid product, which combines a composite core with a PVC (or similar) outer coating or shell.
Under most residential applications, either composite, PVC or hybrid decking products will perform quite well and meet the consumer’s expectations. Of course, the real advantage of all manufactured decking products is that they never need staining or any application of a protective coating. These products will not rot or decay and most are expected to last 30 or more years.
We feel that knowing this information about “what to expect” from your manufactured decking product is important. We also feel that manufactured decking is a great value and will provide a long-lasting, beautiful deck surface for many years to come.
Should you have any questions about material choices or brands we’d recommend, please give us a call and we’d be glad to discuss all the options available to you as a prospective deck owner.
Please continue to read below as we breakdown the differences between composite, PVC, and capped/shelled composite decking.
Composite decking has been around the longest and is usually more economical. There are many different manufacturers of composite decking products, many of whom offer multiple grades or versions in their product line. The differences between these versions are usually cosmetics and/or price point. Most of the major brands will perform somewhat the same over time as far as color loss, durability, and susceptibility to staining, scratching, etc.
A few things to remember about composite decking are:
- Since these products are all man made, there can be some differences in color batching between boards. This is especially true with any product line that uses recycled or reclaimed raw materials. Don’t be surprised if you see some slight color difference between some of the decking boards when the product is brand new. We have found that the sun will cause all composite products to fade to a lighter shade and most, if not all of the color difference, may blend together.
- If it is necessary to replace a board or boards on your deck for any reason, it is unlikely the new board or boards will color match the existing boards exactly. They may fade in to be a closer match over time, but they may never match completely.
- Scratching and scarring of the decking product may also be a concern. With some composite decking, it is possible to scratch the boards simply by sliding one over the other off the stack or by moving tools and personnel around the deck. We try to use extra care when constructing composite decks and any scratches or marring of the decking made during construction should fade with exposure to sunlight. This will also be true of scratching caused by furniture, pets, children’s toys, etc. Sunlight is a great healer of composite decking.
- It is possible to stain composite decking with foodstuffs, wines, grease, etc. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for removing stains. Some stains may not be able to be removed.
- It is possible for composite decking to absorb some moisture and swell up slightly. For this and other reasons, we always gap our decking side to side at min. 1⁄4″ spacing. Some manufacturers are ok with a smaller gap, but we have found the decks easier to clean at 1⁄4″ gap.
- Composite decking usually will not crack or split. However, it is possible to have small cracks appear near the ends of a board where there is a decking screw or a tight cut around a rail post. These cracks can occur even with pre-drilling of the boards for the screws.
- Composite decking (or for that matter, all decking) must be kept clean. It may be necessary to clean your deck at least once, perhaps two or three times a year, depending on how nice you want it to look. Moss and algae will grow on composite decking just like anything else here in the Northeast. You may contact our office or the manufacturer of your product for cleaning tips. We can also recommend a company that will clean your decking for a very reasonable fee.
Cellular PVC & Cap/Shelled Decking
PVC and hybrid decking products have a few advantages over composite decking products. Most of these types of decking offer color loss (fading) and/or stain warranties. These types of decking are also more resistant to scratching and marring. Up to late 2009, PVC decking was only available in plain, light colors and limited textures. However, it is now possible to get these ultra-low maintenance products in multi-chromatic colors that have true wood tones and deeper, richer palettes. We have also found these decking products to be very durable and stand up to cleaning and normal use better than composite products. Also, these products do not experience the same splitting problem on the board ends that composites sometimes have. The only down side is that most of these decking products may be slightly more expensive than composite decking products.
Barrett highly reccomends these styles of decking options. PVC & Cap/Shelled decking boards require the least amount of maintence.
An interlocking pavestone system will instantly improve your home’s appearance and increase its appraised value. With dozens of shapes and colors to choose from, design possibilities for driveways, walkways, patios & pools, sunrooms and other areas are endless.
Paver stones stand up to whatever Mother Nature deals out – snow, ice & floods. Paver stones don’t fade under summer’s harsh sun. Unlike asphalt, they are maintenance-free without the need for messy sealers. Save time & money season after season.
Concrete paver stones are twice as strong as, and less absorbent than, poured concrete. Surface stains on patios and driveways are minimized. Damage from de-icing salts and snowplows is eliminated. The mortarless, flexible, interlocking system won’t crack or heave as a result of ground movement.
Barrett offers multiple rail systems made of any of the following material choices: Wood, Composite, Vinyl, Aluminum/ Metal.