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Exterior Decking Materials

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I know we have discussed this in the past, but since building materials are ever evolving........if you were choosing an exterior decking material today which would you choose?

For me low maintenance is probably the biggest factor. I would like it to look good for many years without a lot (ok any redface.gif) work.

Also, what railing design/materials would you consider?

Thanks

Alan
post #2 of 22
azek railings, and azek decking, expensive but really nice products. They make the best railing system in the business.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks Gray.

Please can you expand on what do you like so much about the aztec railings?
post #4 of 22
Make sure you frame it right, so you don,t get any bows ? I like that stuff to be one piece on the runs. It expands? No joints. Read directions?
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
How about fasteners? I really don't trust those invisible systems, but I haven't used any in 6-7 years. Is face screwing with the appropriate screws the best??

Alan
post #6 of 22
Have Azek decking that was face screwed, countersunk, then a matching plug glued in. It's nearly invisible.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbey View Post

Thanks Gray.

Please can you expand on what do you like so much about the aztec railings?
number one they feel solid, not like the cheap plastic ones that homies sells. Easy to put together and they look nice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbey View Post

How about fasteners? I really don't trust those invisible systems, but I haven't used any in 6-7 years. Is face screwing with the appropriate screws the best??

Alan
you can use the cortex plug system, they have color coated plugs that press into the decking after it's screwed down, looks great. When I do my deck over I'm using that system.
post #8 of 22
I went to look for the matching color plug kit for Azek. It's made by Cortex, easily ggl'd. You have to buy their fasteners to get the plugs. I didn't install the decking myself but I came across some comments that install was a bit more time cosuming than it should be. The screws should have a #2 square drive instead of a #1. In order to compensate for the poor quality drive you need to pilot drill 5/32, an extra step, soap it, and then slowly drive the fastener so it doesn't round off when it hits bottom. Apparently they upgraded the driver in the kit to something harder so it doesn't round off so easily.

Since I didn't install it myself I still think it's great. The plugs are a great fit and color match, never see them.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimW View Post

I went to look for the matching color plug kit for Azek. It's made by Cortex, easily ggl'd. You have to buy their fasteners to get the plugs. I didn't install the decking myself but I came across some comments that install was a bit more time cosuming than it should be. The screws should have a #2 square drive instead of a #1. In order to compensate for the poor quality drive you need to pilot drill 5/32, an extra step, soap it, and then slowly drive the fastener so it doesn't round off when it hits bottom. Apparently they upgraded the driver in the kit to something harder so it doesn't round off so easily.

Since I didn't install it myself I still think it's great. The plugs are a great fit and color match, never see them.
headscratch.gif I installed this decking, no pre-drilling at all. Get the correct screws and it comes with the driver and bit you need, and the plugs go in very easily.
post #10 of 22
I did a deck for a customer with the blind screw system and it came out great. But the screws are not cheep and you have to get the decking with the slots in it.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gray gables View Post

headscratch.gif I installed this decking, no pre-drilling at all. Get the correct screws and it comes with the driver and bit you need, and the plugs go in very easily.

Yeah, I dunno. Guy who did it had no complaints, loved it actually, and it came out great. Just wanted to give a heads up in case there's something I didn't catch.
post #12 of 22
use IPE, you'll pull your hair out using that stuff.
post #13 of 22
Went with the Azek hidden fasteners with this deck. They added quite a bit of time over traditional face nailing, but it was with it. For the edge boards I pre drilled and used stainless steel exterior trim screws...you really don't notice them at all. For posts I use the Azek sleeves over 4"x4" 's then a cable rail system instead of balusters. Really liked he cable rails. They were easy to install, look great, and don't block your view. Trim is Azek and the lattice is PVC....low maintenance. biggrin.gif

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post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gray gables View Post

use IPE, you'll pull your hair out using that stuff.

If I had any hair left on my head, yes, I would be pulling it out. I did my deck with Ipe seven years ago and would liken it to the hot chicks you see on the front cover of supermarket magazines....when they are all dolled up, man, they are smokin hot. When you see them with their makeup off, hair messed up etc, it's like, What the flip? She looks like garbage! That's Ipe....when it's been freshly oiled, man, it is the best-looking deck out there IMO. When the oil wears off and you have to put on that godawful stripper and then pressure wash it, it looks like cr@p. Add in that installation is an absolute beast. I used two face-drilled screws per joist and PL400, and while the deck will outlast the house, it was a total PITA. You need a special board bender if you run into any bowed boards which are probably ever single one of them. The hidden fasteners for IPE are a joke because once installed you can't get at them. Your joists WILL shrink over time, giving you a squeaky bouncy trampoline of a deck. If I had to do it over, it would have been a composite decking material. Ipe is for people who want to make a career out of taking care of their deck. I am not one of those people.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info gentlemen icon14.gif.

This is probably a Summer project. If it happens i will document the job.

Alan
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