Composite decking materials truly have improved over the last decade. Most old problems like mold and mildew have improved. Nevertheless it is important to find a product that has a good warranty in case of a problem. You can find the details and lengths of the warranties on all of the products web pages or from the lumberyard or home center where you purchase the materials.
The appearance of the material is a very important and personal decision. There is a wide range of colors, textures and installation systems available. Find out if the colors will fade or if the surface will easily stain or scratch. Getting your hands on some samples might be helpful. Another consideration is installation. If you are building the deck yourself you will want to know how easy the material is to work with. You should review the instructions before making your decision.
1. Composite decking materials are required to have a valid Evaluation Service (ES) Report to be considered approved for use by many local building departments. It is a good idea to read the ES Report before buying the product. Check with your town, city, or county building department to find out which brand has an ES Report and which ones don’t. If the brand does not have a Report, it means one of two things. Either it has not been approved for use or it was never submitted for evaluation.
2. Not all products are approved for use on stairs. Additional engineering may be required.
3. Check the various manufacturers’ websites and research their product.
4 Yes, cost is a factor. This is one case where the cheapest product may not be your best choice. After all, who wants to replace in 5 years or less, what they just spent their hard earned money on now.
5. Through our research, we found a couple of sources that suggested you may want to have your deck joices 12 inches on center rather than 16 inches for added strength. Again, this would be based on the quality of the brand you pick and the building codes in your area.
To sum things up, it is very important you choose the best brand that has an ES Report, and fits within your budget. Do your research and learn as much as you can before you even develop your budget. Know what brand you want and do not settle for anything less. If you are not going to do it yourself, shop for a licensed contractor that knows what he or she is doing. Ask if they have experience building decks and using composite material. Ask for references and talk with those references.