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Green Home Improvements .info is written by Charles Faust. Charles has been in the home improvement industry since the early 1990's and has owned his own company for a little over 10 years. This blog was created to show Charles' efforts in making his lifestyle more "Green" and how his product selections for his clients are becoming "Greener".

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Green Decks & Green Decking

Written by green1 on Feb 29th, 2008 | Filed under: Decks and Decking

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring and spring means deck season! Over the past few years several of the leading decking companies are promoting their products as being green. In my opinion some are producing a great product and some are producing a product that will require replacement in a few years. Let’s take a look a few different decking products that are on the market.

Pressure Treated Decking

While pressure treated is generally required for the frame of a deck, most people agree that it is not a “green decking material”. If the wood is treated properly then it can last a very long time. The problem with the wood itself it that it tends to bow, warp, split and a list of other issues that are common with wood. When the problems occur people generally replace the decking with new decking and the old decking goes to the landfill. Some people will live with the ugly unsafe decking for over 10 years while others replace it with more pressure treated decking. This cycle will never end unless people are made aware of the other decking materials that are available today.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a mix of wood and plastic and everyone likes to promote their mixture as being the best. I have used a few different brands of composite decking over the past several years without falling in love with one brand. A few of the composites can and will fail over time. I have seen some fail to the point of requiring a total replacement! Some of the common complaints are mold/mildew, stains, uneven fading, excessive fading, splits around the screws and bleeding of the wood fibers. Some of these failures come from the installers not installing the decking properly. Most of the decking companies have put in place a training program for the installers so that they will install the product properly. Some of the companies also require them to pass a written test.

green-1-elk-medium-web-view Green Decks & Green Decking

If you are looking for a composite deck be sure to ask these questions when you select your decking company:

1. How long has the product been around for?

2. How long is the warranty?

3. Can I transfer the warranty if I sell my home?

4. Does the warranty cover the product and the labor?

5. Is the warranty pro-rated?

6. Has your company been trained to install this brand of decking? (prove it)

One of the composite decking companies that are worth taking a look at is Elk, they offer a great warranty and a wide selection of colors.

Vinyl Decking

When I first heard of vinyl decking I thought of plastic, who wants a plastic deck? At the time I did not know the differences between plastic and vinyl. Pure vinyl is actually a great product for the outdoors! Several years ago I began using PVC trim boards for most of my exterior trim. I no longer had issues with wood that rots, bows, twists and all of the other nasty things that wood likes to do. These new vinyl/PVC trim boards would outlast the products that I installed them around! Last spring I looked at a decking product called Pro-Cell and the product line really impressed me. It is a cellular PVC product with a very dense surface. The product promoter handed me a screw an asked me to scratch composite decking samples and then try it on his product. I was shocked that the Pro-Cell product would not scratch like all of the other products. The next test was to put ketchup on all of the samples and to see which one it wiped off of without leaving a stain. Over the next few weeks I spent a ton of time researching the product, it’s history and it’s place in my product line. Late last fall Azek (PVC trim company) bought Pro-Cell and together they are working towards long lasting exterior products.

green-1-azek-medium-web-view Green Decks & Green Decking

Wood Decking

I will have a guest author talk about the feature and benefits of wood decking since I am not a fan of it. On one hand I want to present to you all of your options while on the other hand I will not promote a product that I do not feel good about.

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5 Responses to “Green Decks & Green Decking”

  1. Green Decks & Green Decking | Green Home Improvements…

    It’s beginning to look a lot like spring and spring means deck season! Over the past few years several of the leading decking companies are promoting their products as being green. In my opinion some are producing a great product and some are produci…

  2. Thanks for this great information. We currently have a pressure treated decking, which by the way I’ll be restaining this year. I’ve seen the composite and vinyl decking on the home improvement shows and wondered which was best. I think I have my answer thanks to you. Very nice blog you have.
    Chris

  3. Thanks, if you ever want to trade content let me know. Before you stain your deck check out http://www.diychatforum.com. They have some great tips on cleaning and sealing decks. The site’s owner sells some sealers and stains that will last longer than the store bought stuff. At some point in time he is going to donate a couple of exterior cleaning articles that I can publish on this site.

  4. Do you find that the PVC yellows at all? I am not a big fan of PVC because what it is made out of. If it burns, it offgasses terrible chemicals. This is just a personal issue for me.

    My deck is made out of a FSC “cousin of IPE” (tauri) and was sealed with weatherboss, a natural sealer. It has been around forever. Since this wood is naturally medium brown in color, all I had to use was the sealer. I actually like IPE.

    Wood of course requires maintenance, but I am willing to do that since I did not like the composites.

    I actually used miratec for my trimboards since my builder refused to use PVC trim. For some reason, he dislikes it. It might be due to issues in the past. He claims it yellows. I guess everyone has their preference! It is nice to find someone who is knowledgeable about green building. I would love to bounce ideas off of you for my website.

    There are so many new products out there now after I built using alot of green materials. It is hard to know the marketing over reality. I am glad I found your site!

    Anna http://www.green-talk.com

  5. Anna, I don’t think anyone can promote the production of PVC as being green, it’s downright ugly at best. On the same token I don’t see wood that travels around the world as being overly green in regards to production and transportation. Most people lend a blind eye to how most/some of the wood is harvested. With that said I would not have an issue with an Ipe deck since it will last forever.

    In reference to PVC turning yellow, I have yet to see it happen with pure PVC. Some builders do not like PVC trim since it takes a while to learn the proper installation tricks. If you miss a nail and hit the PVC with a hammer it will dent (expensive mistake). If you use painted trim nails the paint likes to fall off of the nails and the end product can look bad. PVC trim can cost twice as much as wood which increases a projects cost. The real benefit is once PVC trim is installed it will last forever!

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