April 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm #594547
I’m in the process of building a new deck and am wondering if anyone has advice on the decking material of choice?
The deck is 20′ x 16′ and due to cost restraints I was planning to use standard knotty cedar as the decking material. However, everyone I speak with tells me I should really consider Trex instead. I’m pretty sure Trex would cost twice (if not triple) the amount cedar would, but would be pretty much maintenance free once installed. I’ve also heard it’s tougher to install as you need to pre-drill all holes.
On the other hand, everyone says cedar must be resealed at least once a year and that it ends up being somewhat spendy to do this yearly. However, I much prefer the look of cedar over Trex.
What do people think? Our house is fairly small/modest and has many other issues we’d like to address. The deck will definitely help open up the place, as we plan to install a sliding door out to it from the kitchen. But we definitely don’t need the deck to be nicer than the house itself. Would going the cheap(er) route, i.e., cedar, be a mistake in the long run? Thanks for any feedback!April 19, 2010 at 6:42 pm #692828
jwwsParticipantApril 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm #692829
I did an IPE deck, same price as Trex and much much nicer. Most lumber yards (Alki, Dunn) have a selection you can look at and compare. One consideration, if the deck is North facing Trex might be your best bet, regardlessApril 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm #692830
my grandparents did Trex and I honestly feel it’s kinda flimsy and flexible (doesn’t feel sturdy)..I definitely liked the real wood feel better.April 19, 2010 at 8:14 pm #692831
I have real wood in one place and trex in another. In my case, the trex is much more sturdy than the wood, and doesn’t require the yearly maintenance, other than a power wash. Power wash is much easier than sanding and re-sealing the deck. In my case the wood deck is in Eastern Washington, and it’s absolutely necessary to re-seal every year, or it starts looking like $#*&. The trex deck looks good all the time. Also, the trex deck doesn’t start decomposing, as some of my wood slats have started to do, meaning I will have to replace those slats. I wish I had trex on all the decks. The maintenance savings pay for themselves. IMOApril 19, 2010 at 8:25 pm #692832
We love our Trex – are you building it yourself? If so, then yeah, the material costs could be an issue. In our case, the builder gave us 2 quotes, one Trex, one wood and was able to get an excellent price on Trex from “his guy”, so it was only slightly more expensive. Ours doesn’t feel flimsy at all, so maybe it’s just a matter of what’s supporting it (or not). We have pretty hefty p-t lumber under there. You probably already know this, but if you go that way, there’s a big difference between new and weathered Trex, so be sure to pick your color based on the weathered sample. :)April 19, 2010 at 8:34 pm #692833
Actually, if you shop around you can get the same pricing on Trex or most other supplies if you go to the right place. Alki will come close, avoid Dunn on price, but a great place to look at selections. In the end, its also about the install, you can go screw-less (clips) for a little more and get a super clean look. I am not a pro and I did it myself.April 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm #692834
The Velvet BulldogParticipant
Another point of consideration (if this of concern to you) is that Trex is not recyclable. While it’s longer lasting than wood, because it’s a composite, it goes into the landfill when it’s done being your deck. There are some renewable hardwoods (though I think these are more expensive and of course use energy in the transportation to the US.) If you’re interested, you might try ecohaus or the Environmental Home Center. (Not trying to be preachy, I’ve just been in school studying this stuff for too long…)April 19, 2010 at 10:10 pm #692835
GenHillOneParticipantApril 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm #692836
Not recyclable, or not recyclable YET? With its prevalence in the market and green-product claims, I would be surprised if someone isn’t working on a recycling process for it.April 19, 2010 at 10:48 pm #692837April 19, 2010 at 11:55 pm #692838
Again, IPE, available at Ecohaus, aka The Environmental Home Store (they changed their name), its also called Iron Wood or Brazilian Walnut. If you look at it, you will never do Trex. Then again, some people like the look and feel of plastic!!April 20, 2010 at 1:20 am #692839
If you do end up using Trex or other composite material for your deck, I have one tip: use more joists. Trex says that they can span joists that are 16″ apart on center – when I did my deck, I dropped that to 14″ and know others who have spaced them 12″ in high traffic areas. If you go 16″ the deck will probably be “springy,” especially during the warmer months. The extra $$ for a few more joists will be well worth it.April 20, 2010 at 3:11 am #692840
Iron Wood or Brazilian Walnut are expensive and don’t hold up as well as claimed in NW winters…April 20, 2010 at 3:44 am #692841
No issues here, I treat them twice a year, takes about 30 mins each time and look great! Price was close to Trex as well, but worth it for sure. Trex was approx $30 a 16ft piece, IPE was closer to $40.April 20, 2010 at 6:58 am #692842
My outdoor Ipe has been holding up VERY well. Ironwood didn’t get its name by coincidence. I know it added a bit of extra trouble for the carpenters when they were working with it. But it is extremely durable and dimensionally stable with temperature swings.April 20, 2010 at 4:42 pm #692843
sw, I think that’s what my grandparents problem is. It is very springy and doesn’t feel sturdy.April 20, 2010 at 8:17 pm #692844April 20, 2010 at 9:16 pm #692845
We did a composite deck (not trex) and I love it. Only need to power wash it every two years, it stays cool to the touch (even when it is 90 out)n no splinters in my feet and it will last a long, long time. My parents are on their sdecond or third wood deck and it looks like crap and is too much maintenance. They will be replacing it this summer with trex.April 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm #692846
you treat it twice a year…
don’t know how much you need. .but last time i was t the building recyling place down on 4th.. they had recycled trex.April 20, 2010 at 10:42 pm #692847
JoB, I used Penofin, its not cheap, about $40 a gallon at Alki, but I can do my deck 3 times with one gallon. Some people let it just go gray and they say it will last 40 years, far longer than you would probably want to keep any deck. Its not for everyone and every application, but its beautiful wood. If my deck had moss issues I would have gone with Trex, no question.April 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm #692848
Thanks everyone for the input!
Carson – I love the look of IPE, but just don’t think I want to spend that much money. Plus, I’ve heard it’s a real pain to install (the wood being so hard). Definitely is beautiful, though.
Overall, it seems Trex is the way to go (expecially the newer Trex since it’s much improved from the Trex you used to get). I still prefer the look of real wood, but over the long haul I think it will probably be much less hassle and hold up better in our weather.
Now, I just have to price it and see if I can actually afford it!April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm #692849
We also have a composite deck (not Trex) and for the most part it’s great. I barely have time to mow the lawn, so the low-maintenance aspect works great for me.
My only complaint is that with some shoes it can be a bit slick when wet.April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm #692850
I installed mine with no screws. All clips so I needed to put a biscut cut in the edge of each one. It was a pain, but to me, it was worth it. I always prefer the feel of wood. I have installed a few Trex decks, its not any easier to work with, its super dense as well and not rigid like wood. I have a few 2 foot scraps of IPE left over if you want one just to see how it looks, thats all it took for me to fall in love with it.April 21, 2010 at 10:46 pm #692851
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