Do you know how to avoid staining a deck? Build
it from something other than wood. There are a hundred different low-maintenance
decking products on the market, but the two most popular are composite and
cellular PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Both will save you from your summer staining
rituals, but there are differences between the two. And even within these two
categories, there are many different manufacturers and a wide variety of
products, but here are some general characteristics:
Composite decking has been around since the
early '90s. Many popular brands are made from 50 percent wood fibers and 50
percent recycled plastic. Composite decking is a solid color all the way
through, so the ends of boards are not as noticeable. It's stiffer than PVC and
can span greater distances. Its stiffness also makes it easier for one person
to handle and helps hide minor imperfections in the framing. Composite is also
less slippery than PVC when it's wet. You should be able to get at least 20
years of use, depending on the conditions. Expect to pay about $6 per sq. ft.
just for the decking.
PVC decking is the relative new kid on the block
but is quickly gaining popularity. Most PVC decking is made from 100 percent
plastic—and no wood means no mold or mildew. It holds its color, it's easy to
clean and it won't stain if you spill a little suntan oil or hamburger grease
on it. PVC is much harder and more scratch resistant than composite decking,
which is good news if you have a large dog or heavy patio furniture. All these
benefits don't come cheap, however: PVC decking will cost you about $10 per sq.
ft. Some companies offer a limited lifetime warranty.
— Mark Petersen, Contributing Editor
For more information on decking products, ideas
and techniques, search for "decks" at the top of this page.
composite looks more durable, however I still like the old wood deck feeling, less rigid
One of my reservations about either of these is the heat factor. Would I be able to walk (barefoot) on either one after the sun had been hitting it during the afternoon? How do they compare to wood in this situation?
I have 180 feet of decking I have to replace. Above the deck floor (which is PT wood) is all cedar. The horizontal members have to be replaced most of this is top rail and there are 3 sitting areas (built in seats) as well. In my last home, I replaced all the top rail with 1" X 6" solid Trex square edge decking (15 yrs ago). It was wonderful stuff. The deck was out in the open and therefore didn't suffer from any of the problems Trex had with mildew. We live in upstate NY.
What is your advice on a composite or manufactured material I can use for the top rail? Currently it is all 1" X 6" dimensionally. My biggest concern is that most composite decking today has a nasty end profile- so that it would look rather silly on the ends of all the top rails to have a decking profile. The Trex I used before was solid and looked terrific and was easy to install, requiring no end coping or reverse back cutting and fitting of end pieces.
I'd like to use a medium brown color to match the existing deck boards and cedar. I'm having trouble finding stuff in my area that fits this need.
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