Back to Nature Decks is
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The North American Deck and Railing Association

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TimberTech Composite Decking Materials TimberTech Composites
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Deckorators Railings and Balusters
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Custom Decks, Porches and Outdoor Living Spaces
Montgomery County PA, Bucks County PA, Delaware County PA and Philadelphia

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Decking Materials Selection Guide and Info

Composites are usually composed of 50% plastic and 50% fiber. The plastics are almost always post consumer recycled material and the fiber is usually wood. Sometimes the 50/50 percentage varies among the manufacturers. The fiber used is sometimes oak, pecan, cedar, rice hulls, peanut shells, almond shells, kaneff, flax, etc. The important factor here is how well the plastic bonds the material together. If the fiber (or cellulose) has resin or oil in it, the bond may not be thorough. If the fiber has moisture, then the extrusion might also have a problem with mildew.

TimberTech has mastered the look and feel of genuine wood in an easy-to care-for composite decking material. With a wide assortment of decking materials, deck plans and deck designs, your composite deck will not only look real, but will add enormous value to your home-and life-with a minimum of care for years to come. Visit TimberTech.

Trex® decking and railing products are made from a unique combination of reclaimed wood and plastic, giving you the best qualities of both materials. The plastic shields the wood from moisture and insect damage, so there's no rotting or splintering. The wood protects the plastic from UV damage and gives your deck a solid, natural feel. Read More about Trex®

This has been the most popular deck material for many years. Hundreds of thousands of redwood decks have been built. However, redwood use in decking is dropping off for several reasons. First, it is more expensive than ever and the cultivation rates have changed while other materials are taking its place.

Cedar is very similar to redwood in many ways. Again, the beauty of a new cedar deck is quite temporary in a sunny yard. It can be a good choice in a yard with lots of shade. Two advantages that cedar has over redwood are price (in most markets) and its lack of tannic acid.

Treated Pine or Treated Fir
Most decks in the U.S. and Canada are framed with treated lumber. No matter which deck material you choose for the flooring, fascia, rails, benches, etc., treated lumber will probably be your best choice for the undercarriage and posts. Treated lumber holds up better (for the joists, beams, and posts) than anything else readily available. It is also the least expensive and has excellent strength and spanning characteristics. The warping and twisting problem is rare underneath the deck where it is out of the direct sun.

Australian Hardwoods
Jarrah This is dark brown from the South Western part of Australia. It is known as a very strong and resilient material for exterior construction. Like the South American hardwoods, pre-drilling is necessary and sawing is more difficult than the North American softwoods or most composites.

South American Hardwoods
Ipe, Jatoba, Purple Heart, Haiari, Janka, Cambera, Brazilian Cherry, Goiabão, Maçaranduba, Cumaru, Tauari, Marupá (Caxeta)

It has been reported these hardwoods are difficult to work with as well as heavy. Due to density, ALL nailing and screwing has to be preceded with pre-drilling. Another problem that has been observed is that these woods seem to splinter and get severe hairline cracking after a few years in the direct sun. Due to the pricing and the current availability of other materials, tropical hardwoods are likely to be considered a viable alternative to only a few.

Poly Lumber
There are recycled plastics, virgin plastics, solid profile, hollow profile, snap together, and even reinforced plastic deck boards on today’s market. The demand for these new materials is high and the competition is blessed with every aspect of the free-market’s effect on manufacturers to keep coming up with something better. Most plastics install very nicely and are not difficult to work with. These materials usually make excellent boat docks or raised decking platforms around aboveground pools. However, a few of the manufacturers have created some beautiful materials that very convincingly look like wood. One consideration that needs to be addressed when looking at using these materials is the expansion and contraction rates. Expansion and contraction with temperature will have an effect on design, trim details, fascia method (i.e., a fascia board installed in January will probably be pushed out a full ½" in July with the expansion of the floorboards). The temperature while building will be an issue and allowance needs to be made for the inevitable expansion and contraction in the materials.
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