Composite 'lumber'


  #1  
Old 11-21-02, 04:18 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: MD
Posts: 419
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Composite 'lumber'

Hi,

While I'm not in the market for a year or so, I'd be interested in people's experience or opinion on the composite (I think) lumber subsititute that I recently saw in HD. The claim is that it requires much less maintenance than treated lumber (for a deck or or porch), how about it?

Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 11-21-02, 05:07 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
There are currently about 25 composites on the market. They all use the same basic materials in their makeup -- about 50% recycled sawdust and 50% recycled plastic. After that, the mfgrs. start going their own ways. Some are 5/4" thick, others are 1-1/2" thick. Some are solid, some are hollow. Some extrude theirs in such a way to give it a wood grain look. Others don't. Some, like Trex, give you as many as 5 colors to choose from. Others offer one color. Never have to worry about slivers or splinters with a composite.

As far as maintenance, the composites require little more than cleaning. Never need to stain or seal them, They are 50% plastic. Rotting and termites will never be an issue.

You can work the composites with standard woodworking tools. Just use carbide blades and router bits. Since the composites have no grain, you never have to worry about a split occuring. You can leave little bitty tails in spots where you have cut around a post or other obsticle, and that little tail won't snap off.

You say you have got about a year or so before you will actually be in the market. Use that time to do some research. You will find that Trex was the first on the market with a composite, and outsell the next 5 brands combined. Trex offers a wide range of sizes in each of their 5 colors. Your decking, the posts, the railing, the facias can all be done in Trex; you can mix and match the colors to your hearts content, or do everything in one color.
 
  #3  
Old 11-21-02, 06:09 PM
swaniedog
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Durability is definitely a plus...

But none of the composites really look like wood, so if that is a priority look into a hardwood like Ipe (Ironwood).

Also, color fastness is something that composite decking manufacturers continue to struggle with. Even though Trex offers a variety of colors, they all fade to a silvery grey in a matter of months. As a matter of fact most composite makers attempt to turn that to a positive marketing spin, when in fact they can't control the fading.

Trex is about the only product that makes recoating recommendations (on their website). They recommend Behr and Cabot among others. And they're all film-forming solid color stains. Semi's and toners don't disperse the pigments very evenly because of the plastic component.
 
  #4  
Old 11-21-02, 09:47 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
swaniedog,

you make it sound as though no matter which Trex color you choose, it will be a silver grey in a matter of months. That is simply not true! Yes, the Natural will fade towards a silver grey, and the Winchester Gray will lighten a little. But the Maderia, Woodland Brown and Saddle will not change colors appreciably. A person purchasing Trex is made very aware of this BEFORE they buy, and are shown samples of both new and aged pieces so that they are buying what it will look like in 3 to 6 months, not what it looks like when it's installed.
 
  #5  
Old 11-22-02, 02:07 PM
swaniedog
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
lefty,

In 3-6 months it fades...have you seen it after 18 mos? 2 years? 5 years?

It all looks about the same.

Don't get me wrong, Trex is a fine product.
 
  #6  
Old 11-23-02, 08:42 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
swaniedog,

Your last post got me thinking, so I spent an hour today and went to a customer I installed a Trex deck for about 8 years ago. (His is Natural). I took one of his stair treads (WITH his permission) about 4 blocks to another customer where I installed a Winchester Gray Trex deck about 6 years ago. I compared the color of the two. They sure didn't look the same to me. Not even close.

Not sure what to tell you my friend. MUST be the smog you have in So. CA. Maybe it affects the fading process of Trex differently down there than it does up here.
 
  #7  
Old 11-25-02, 07:16 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 95
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bob-

Depending on what you're looking for, you might want to check into poly-lumber from a place called Milmar Plastics in Hagerstown. I'm in the process of building a deck with it and so far so good. Been pretty easy to work with, no more fake looking than any of the wood composites, and is guaranteed for 25 yrs. against fading, splitting, crakcing, etc. They've been uper nice people to deal with so far. Guess we'll see what it looks like in a few years!

Milmar Plastics
 
  #8  
Old 11-25-02, 05:02 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: MD
Posts: 419
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the information all. Do these materials work well strairs & risers? Craig, when the time comes, I'll check these guys out - I'm in Silver Spring.
 
  #9  
Old 11-25-02, 05:54 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Composites and vinyls are for decking, railing posts, railings and facias only, NOT for structural components like joists, girders, stair stringers, etc. Be aware too that you may have to install more joists for the decking to rest on. For example, Trex 2X6 decking can only span 20" max. (residential) between the joists, though I usually don't go more than 16".
 
  #10  
Old 12-03-02, 11:50 AM
timbertalk
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Talking Composite Lumber

Wood Composite Decking has come along way and it is definately the best choice for any deck. We have new treated (non-arsenic) for the framing and many choices for the deck planks and rails. You may want to visit the web site www.timbertech.com for an alternative to Trex. TimberTech has four colors and an awsome railing that is just out yesterday I believe. It might be worth your time to check it out. Good luck with your project.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: