Hot Topics: Composite Decking Hot Topics: Composite Decking

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Tired of the upkeep that comes with maintaining a 1,000 square foot wood deck, this DIYer turns to the forum for suggestions on a different approach. Initially looking for a better wood staining product, they instead follow the forum's advice to replace the structure's wood for composite decking.

Original Post: Deck Stain Problems

rufusmcd Member

I have a 1,100 sq ft deck that has about three double coats of semi-transparent Behrs on it. It has been peeling for a while now and I'm trying to figure out what's the best solution for the problem. For one thing, I'm sick and tired of staining. With a deck that big, it's a never-ending job. Although, it has been about 3 years since I did the deck boards. The main thing I hate about staining is that the way Behrs is, you have to do two coats and you can't let the first coat get too dry before applying the second. If you can accomplish this without it raining and without applying too much, it actually will last quite a while. My deck is 12 years old. I have looked at composite and it will cost around five grand for either composite deck boards or tile. I'm not willing to do that even over time because I'm going to be moving in the distant future. Right now, I'm thinking about taking up the boards and sanding them about five feet at a time and staining then while they're off the deck, then putting them back down. I want to do this for two reasons: I want to gain full access to the joist so I can easily inspect them for bee damage and I also want to increase the space between the deck boards. I'm also thinking about wrapping something like aluminum screen around the joist so maybe the bees can't get to them. I would like to find a stain that is either easier to put down or lasts a long time. Or both. Behrs performance is OK as long as it doesn't rain after, which it always does with me no matter what the forecast. Any thoughts?

marksr Member

3 years is about normal for a decent deck stain. IMO, taking the boards off to sand them down is more trouble than it's worth. I'd either chemically strip the deck where it sets or clean it and switch to a solid deck stain.

rufusmcd Member

Can you recommend a good solid stain?

marksr Member

Make sure it's a deck stain! Siding stain will not hold up on a deck. You'll always find better coatings at your local paint store versus a paint department. You can still expect to have to clean and recoat the deck every few years. It's just the nature of decks.

rufusmcd Member

I wouldn't mind putting the money in composite if I thought I could get even half of it back. When you sell a house, who knows? I've also thought about composite tile. It would cost more, but be a lot easier to install. Plus, if I really wanted to, I could pack it up and take it with me when I move.

marksr Member

I don't know anything about the composite tile, but if you lay something over the deck it will be prone to trapping water and shortening the life of the wood.

When you figure your payback with composite decking, don't forget to factor in the time and cost of recoating the existing deck every so many years. I don't know how much composite will raise the value of the home, but I'm sure it would be a selling point.

rufusmcd Member

The tile is raised up on plastic grid that's made to go over solid surfaces such as a deck, and it's very easy to install. Besides having to make some cuts to go around the posts and against the house, you basically snap it together and you can mix the pattern, making it very attractive. The tile would be around $5,400. That's after I've negotiated 5% off. There's nothing else you have to buy with the tile. The downside to the tile is the plastic grid up under them that would catch leaves and acorns and be hard to clean out. The boards are around $5,100 before any discount, if I could get one. And I would have to either buy screws or clips. The tiles I can order any amount and get free shipping.The boards are $79 per shipment no matter how many you order. And if I get the boards, I would have to do something with the deck boards I take up.

Marq1 Member

The chance of successfully removing the wood plus the effort to sand and reinstall 1,100 square feet of decking and have that look reasonable is minimal. Composite is an initial cost hit, but you have already stated you're there for the long run. If you are capable of doing the rework, then it seems like you would be able to install the composite so the $5k seems high. As a long time multi-home composite deck owner I know it's a pleasure to own and my experience is it's a great selling feature. It's a win, win, win situation.

rufusmcd Member

So, I guess the question now is tiles or boards? Here is a link to the tiles: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Naturesor...OTM4/204147540

This brand only had one bad review, but the guy said his curled up and came apart due to being in direct sunlight, which some of my deck is. To me, the pros for the tiles are they are easy to install, you can remove them and take them with you, they are attractive, and I can buy them in any amount with free shipping. The cons are that no one who has had them a long time has really given a review, so there's a question of durability. And, I think they will be hard to keep clean.

The pros for boards are that when I install them, I can get to my joist and wrap some screen around them to keep the bees out and see how much damage has been done without having to crawl under the deck. And I can space them how I want. The cons are that I will have to install them, but due to the length of my deck I shouldn't have to cut, and I will either have to buy screws or clips. I will also have all that leftover decking and I will have to pay $79 every time I need some, so I will have to buy as much as possible at one time. Any more thoughts?

Marq1 Member

I don't know—replacing everything with composite boards is a known entity. Something like this will cost $5,300 for 1,100 sq ft and if that goes bad, then what?!

rufusmcd Member

That's true. There's always the fear of the unknown.The tiles have a 20-year warranty, but that doesn't mean it won't be a headache to get them replaced or get my money back. I've looked for reviews from people who've had them a long time and can't find anything.

rufusmcd Member

I went by Lowes today and got the 16-foot boards for $30 each, plus $25 delivery. Not bad. So, I figure I'll have around $4,400 in it. I can live with that. I got 50 today and will get 40 and then 41 and that should do it. Thanks for all the advice! I will post before and after pics when I finish a section. Thanks, again!

marksr Member

Not trying to throw a kink in your plans, but double-check to make sure your framing is in good shape. Some composite decking requires 12" centers instead of 16."

To read the rest of the thread, look here: //www.doityourself.com/forum/decks-patios-porches-walkways-driveways-stairs-steps-docks/582732-deck-stain-problems-any-suggestions-ideas.html

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