By Caryn Colgan, Networx
There are many alternates to standard pressure-treated decking lumber for decks. They are all practically maintenance-free and some look very similar to real wood and are easy to install. Some use recycled materials, don't kill trees, and can be recycled when replaced.
Hollow vinyl is the most popular no-maintenance alternative decking material and some systems offer a lifetime warranty. Using the hollow material allows all of the fasteners to be hidden. It is also very convenient to run any low-voltage wiring to light the deck. If you choose white or another light color, it also stays relatively cool in the sun.
Decking Depot Made of 100 percent recyclable PVC compounds that eliminate the annual repairs, water-proofing and inevitable replacement costs associated with wood surfaces. Unlike treated wood, Vinyl Deck is made of a non-toxic, environmentally friendly material.
There are almost one hundred composite decking materials. Composite means two or more distinct, structurally complementary substances are combined to create a product with structural or functional properties not present in any individual component. In the case of composite decking the primary components are most often a plastic and wood fiber. Below are two composite decking options:
Trex takes the natural beauty of wood, but leaves behind all the rotting and splintering. Easy to maintain, you'll spend more time relaxing on your deck rather than working on it. Trex is soft and smooth to the touch. Its style options include not only the ability to physically bend and shape, but also a variety of colors and textures to choose from when crafting your perfect deck.
EverGrain® Made from plastic and wood fiber using a unique compression molding process. decking lasts, without the excessive maintenance of real wood. no painting, no staining, no rotting and no termites.
Other Plastic Lumber
There are decking products made with plastics that do not include reinforcement fibers and therefore are not a composite. These products are offered in a wide range of colors and textures. Some are made with recycled material.
Bear Board is decking made from mineral-added recycled high-density polyethelene (HDPE) plastic--former milk jugs. It will never rot, crack or splinter, and is scratch and stain resistant. Bear Board is completely waterproof and has the capacity to resist even the harshest of weather conditions.
Eon is a complete alternative decking system composed of 100 percent plastic with a wood grain finish. The decking system includes deck boards, cladding, a unique wing clip fastening system and Eon's fast and easy to install railing system.
The stone composite tiles are very strong and are a low maintenance alternative to wood decking. Where wildfires are a problem, fireproof decking is a must-have.
Deckstone makes stone composite tiles that are 12-1/8" square. The snap together design makes installation easy and fast, requiring no special tools or adhesives
StoneDeck combines premium-quality natural slates, granites and quartzite with a high strength composite backing. This system features a fastening matrix that connects to the deck frame while interlocking all structural panels in place without mortar or grout. The high-strength panels and interlocking matrix support 4,000 pounds per square foot.