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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Composite Decks: Questions, Concerns, and Information
07/31/07

In the mountains around Asheville, Mars Hill, NC, and Wolf Laurel Resort, decks are a popular feature. With the climate here, these outdoor havens are usable throughout a good part of the year, and hardly any new home is built without a deck of some sort. Thus, it is useful to examine some recent trends.

Composite decks have gained popularity. The market share for composites has grown by 25% annually, but just some cursory Googling reveals that this variety of construction is not without its questions, comments, criticisms, and concerns. The point here would be to proceed as one wishes, but to do so, armed with information, and to avoid surprises.

The outbound links below will illuminate a number of issues about composite materials in deck construction, which we will endeavor to condense here. Specifically it is mentioned from more than one source that composite decks are apparently not:

maintenance free, necessarily better than wood, cheaper than wood, necessarily meet building codes without additional requirements, free from expansion, qualify as building materials, free from mold and mildew, fade and stain resistant, nor do they last forever, except possibly in landfills.

The Biggest Questions: This is a somewhat lengthy article that gets high search results. The top of the page is a 2007 update from an original 2004 overview, which can be found in the bottom half of the page. It examines a wide range of the largest issues about composite decks that are mentioned above, and one might say, dispels a number of the early claims about the product. The overriding advice is not to eliminate composites from your options, but to understand what composites do, and cannot do.

From This Old House: This is a nice quick outline on deck materials including pressure treated wood, (PT), cedar and redwood, (qualify as their own category as superior but costly materials), and composites. Covers the pros, cons, availability, and installed costs/sq ft. A great resource to use in conjunction with some of the link above here.

There is apparently a "copycat" problem with composites: Think in terms of the discount house clothing that looks just like the designer editions and the essence of this article will be obvious. One gets what one pays for is the lesson put forth here.

From Do It Yourself: This is a Q and A format entitled "Deck Care Mysteries Solved".

From USDA Forest Products Labs: Always nice to include a non commercial, presumably unbiased resource.

From This Old House: A less specific analysis than the one cited above, and deals almost solely with aspects of installation and properties of composites.

From Ask The Builder: A HUGE resource that is simply "Everything About Decks".

Move forward, tread carefully, make your choices with information, and avoid surprises.

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Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
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Filed Under: Homeowner Tips - Buyers' Archive - Wolf Laurel Archive

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