We want what is best for each of our clients
We understand that there is so many beautifull composite decking and railing choices out there and all with different pricing and methods of installation compared to wooden decking and railings, which may be a little confusing and overwhelming for some people including a lot of contractors so don't feel left out. We have created these pages and other pages like it that will answer most questions that you may have about composite decking in general and to tell you a little about our superb composite deck building and composite decking installation services.
Can i put composite decking on my existing deck structure?
You certainly can. The question is should you. The existing deck stucture framing may not be suitable to start with for a few reasons. Has it reached its 'service life' allready? Was it even built properly in the first place. Can it handle the added weight of composite decking and all the lovely things that you want to put on your new decking including family and friends. Or is the deck even shaped or sized the way it should be for your needs, common sense or for the best resale value. In any event it will be impossible to tell what the true condition of your joists are like untill the existing decking is removed. If you notice rot on the existing deck boards there is a very good chance the joists underneath may be rotten in various areas. To put composite decking on an existing deck structure requires that all scenarios have been explored before you put good money and long life composite decking down on an old structure.
'Drip through decking' is where water drips through the planks to the ground wether it is wood or composite. On its way the water will saturate the deck framing joists, beams, posts and support blocking. Where there is 'standing water' or areas of darkness under your decking where 'airflow' may not easily evaporate the moisture which will increase the speed of wood rotting, especially around 'picture frame' support blocking, multiple joists laminated together (sistered) and areas that have been closed off without adequate 'through flow ventilation' like on some multilevel deck designs.
The joists will usually rot on the ends and on the top center surface first where water gets trapped between the deck planks and the joist so a visual inspection and probe inspection doesn't usually tell much. Minimaly sloped or level decks and decks that have been painted on the underside are more prone to this symptom. It is imperative that the tops of the joists are solid and undecayed when installing the composite decking hidden fastener screws which are of a small diameter and lenght, otherwise decking boards will come loose and cause sqeaking and weaken the lateral integrity of the structure.
Most conventional deck joists, beams and posts are made from Pressure Treated Lumber (PT) which consists of a mixture of Spruce, Pine and Fir conifer tree's (SPF) which are then treated with preservative by pushing it into the wood with high pressures. This coats the boards entire outer layer by about an 1/8" It just so happens that all trees use capillary action to transfer ground water all the way from their roots to their leaves kind of like a sponge. As soon as you cut into the wood you are exposing areas of the boards that have Not been protected.
It also so happens that Spruce, Hemlock and Pine out of all the construction lumber readily available to us will rot the fastest except for cedar which is not used for deck framing. The bottom line is All PT wood will eventually rot, some much sooner that others depending on what and how many preventative methods and building strategies have been applied. At a minumum wood cut sealer/perservative should be used on all cut wood that can not be stained or treated after the deck is assembled.
Can i change my vinyl deck to a composite deck?
Most existing waterproof vinyl decks are not built with Treated lumber and there fore should not have the vinyl membrane and plywood sheathing removed to install 'drip through decking' onto untreated lumber regardless if it is composite or wood decking. Besides building an entirely new deck or attempting to waterproof & treat the framing, an alternative may be to replace the vinyl membrane with Tufdeks Tuff-Shield TX60 waterproof vinyl roofing membrane and have us build a floating or sleeper deck system with composite decking on top like we did on this featured project.
Then you could have us install some beautifull wood soffiting and lighting underneath to create a dry outdoor living space below for any existing suites or basement living needs. Note: This process involves raising the existing deck height by 2-3" and may conflict with any exsiting door heights. Also any existing staircases and railings would need to be replaced. Staircases are usually the first thing to fail on a deck and would Need to be changed anyways if you wanted them in a composite material.
Everything Composite Staircases
Stairs can be the weakest link on a sundeck of any kind. More often than not they aren't built properly and stairs with closed risers tend to trap a lot of moisture causing accelerated rot where cross cuts have been made into the SPF wood stair stringers to make the steps. At a minimum it is essential these locations have preservative or end sealer applied so they don't soak up water and cause early deterioration which can be compounded with closed stair riser staircases that reduce the airflow and its drying effects.
The preservative end sealer is arguably a carcinogen and it is very runny and unpleasant to apply and that is one reason the process is often skipped by a lot of carpenters. It is also important to apply the preservative thoroughly but without spilling any of it on the ground where pets or children are in close proximity. Once covered these treated areas won't have physical access.
A staircase made of composite decking might be more expensive than you think as the building practices are very different than wood and you will need to cover 35% more surface area if you want closed stair treads. The horizontal tread material and installation as well as the vertical riser material and installation will be required. But they sure look great and have a long service life when they are built properly. All that's left is your personal touch of lighting fixture selection which is always very practical to have not just for appearance but for safety and security purposes too.
How much do composite deck railings cost?
Sundeck Railings built from composite materials look fantastic and require a fair amount of time to put an accurate price together because of the various components that are involved in fabricating and assembling each style of PVC capped composite deck railing systems or PVC deck railing systems. The key with any sundeck railing system besides the final fit and finish is to make sure the supporting posts that hold the railing system together are well secured to the deck structure and that all municipal and provincial buiding code regulations have been adhered to for your safety.
It does take some time to hand build these composite railing system and like the decking, the cost per LF for materials is on the higher side when compared to other deck railing alternatives. However it won't be long before the railings actually pay for themselves if you factor in maintenance costs. They are easier to keep clean and look good all year long. If budget allows there really is nothing comparable in appearance that you may find looks better to compliment your new deck. For the brands we recommend, PVC capped composite and PVC sundeck railings range in price from $120-$175 per ft installed and are best suited for new deck builds or resurfacing installation projects.
Where can i see and buy composite decking?
Professional building supply centers such as Dicks Lumber, Standard building supplies or Home Depot will have full size manufacturer sample boards on display at their locations. Why you are there you could select a couple of take home samples that catch your eye to get the ball rolling and at the same time you could ask one of the employees what the cost per foot is if they aren't to busy with contractors when you are there. Alternatively or additionally we have every product sample available to us and a system of quoting that allows convenient and transparent product changes after you have decided to hire us.
Since we are a specialized composite decking installation contractor that is recognized & recommended by major composite decking manufacturer's you will be pleased to know that we purchase tens of thousands of board feet of composite decking a year and know how to find the best prices for our clients. We understand that everyone's budget and needs are different and before we start your project you can be rest assured our consultation process will find you the right product and the right color choices that will provide you with the remarkable results that you were looking for.
Can i buy the decking and get you to install it?
You certainly can If you are a home owner. With Trex, Azek or TimberTech composite or PVC decking you won't find anybody to do a better installation job. Of course the decking will only look as good as the deck framing itself especially when it comes to inlays, picture framing and stair building and we guarantee the quality work that we do.