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Fentoozler
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was an event today at a relatives house - didn't bring camera, so no pix, sorry - they have a deck that is made of [what I assume] is Trex as it was not PT lumber.
You guys will have to pardon my lack of proper terminology...I don't do decks.

The deck is about 5 - 6 years old.
90% of the railings have managed to become tilted away from the deck.
The HO is the meticulous anal-retentive type so I know for a fact a game of tag football was not played on this deck.
The posts have literally separated from the railings in some locations reveling the screws [no longer attached] and in one spot I noticed some sort of a metal brace between railing and post that managed to become twisted.

Some of the decking seems to have become mis-shaped as well....at the outer edges of the deck, just past were the railing posts are attached ...the decking looks like it shrank.
When they [yes, it was DIY'ed] laid the decking, it was laid at a 45° to the home....then one staight board...then another 45° in the opposite direction.
Where these boards ran past the end joists...they snapped a line/used a straight edge to maintain a nice straight edge...now what was once a straight edge, is now "stepped" by maybe 1/4" to an 1/2".
There is NO visible spacing between the deck planking in the field/main deck area.
It appeared as if the decking was shot down with a rather small gauge nail.


The supporting material below is PT lumber...guessing it's 6, 8. or 10 by's ~ I didn't want to pour salt into his wounds here....so I did not ask what was below.
The deck itself "felt" sturdy...some 20+ ppl on it w/no shaking or other disturbances.
The deck is maybe 24" over grade.


I have never seen or heard of a Trex deck [or other composite material] acting this way.



Any ideas on why this deck is failing?
 

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Curmudgeon
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11,706 Posts
Just not enough information.:sad:
 

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Curmudgeon
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11,706 Posts
It's the lack of pictures, isn't it?
:furious:


The deck is probably in worse shape than a maintained PT one.
There is bad material, and there are
an infinite number of ways
to screw up the installation of good ones.
 

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Fentoozler
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5,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There is bad material, and there are
an infinite number of ways
to screw up the installation of good ones.

Very true.

...and since I don't do decks....me trying to describe further would be pointless.

Oh well...next time we visit maybe I'll bring a camera.


Thanks.
 

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Registered
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3,257 Posts
Without knowing the brand, we'll all be shooting in the dark... many manufacturers of composite boards are no longer in business, simply because they made an inferior product that didn't last.
Some composite decking does expand/contract a lot...shot in w/ small gauge nails is not good a good way of taming it either.

Depending on how the posts were originally affixed to the rim joist, the screws might have sheared off when the composite post expanded and contracted. If the posts were bolted to the rim joist, maybe the rim joist itself is separating from the joist ends.

In your area, the pt is syp which can shrink a lot initially. That might've also contributed to the overall problems...

Long story short...I dunno!

Mac
 

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Fentoozler
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5,623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Without knowing the brand, we'll all be shooting in the dark... many manufacturers of composite boards are no longer in business, simply because they made an inferior product that didn't last.
Some composite decking does expand/contract a lot...shot in w/ small gauge nails is not good a good way of taming it either.

Depending on how the posts were originally affixed to the rim joist, the screws might have sheared off when the composite post expanded and contracted. If the posts were bolted to the rim joist, maybe the rim joist itself is separating from the joist ends.

In your area, the pt is syp which can shrink a lot initially. That might've also contributed to the overall problems...

Long story short...I dunno!

Mac
Thanks Mac.

I thought there was only Trex ...
WTF do I know?
Apparently nothing :laughing:


My initial thought was the PT below...maybe some water and a freeze/thaw cycle...but who knows?
I certainly don't.

I do not even know how the posts were attached...they still "seemed" sturdy - I leaned on one and it didn't move ..even while 10° - 20° out of whack.



Whatever the cause...it's in some sad shape.
 

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Palisade Point Const.
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2,276 Posts
Trex was one of the first, and is probably the most popular. As a result, in some cases it has become used as a term to describe all composite decking, kinda like how we call self stick bandages band-aids, and reciprocating saws sawzalls.


Actually, trex has one of the worst reputations of any of the composite decking makers.
 

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Fentoozler
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Actually, trex has one of the worst reputations of any of the composite decking makers.
Amazing.

You ask one question and get all sorts of information :thumbsup:


Another thing I had no idea about - thank you Tempest - I thought Trex was THE name in deck materials.


Is Trex sold at Big Box?
I am 99% certain they bought from Big Box....1% uncertain if they bought from a lumberyard.
 

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Project Manager
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2,642 Posts
I think certain types of Trex are still available at HD or Lowe's.

My first thought when you said it was installed on a 45 degree, is that the deck joists are 16" o.c. and should possibly be 12" o.c. (as some manufacturers recommend when installing composite on an angle).

Perhaps the decking "sagged" inbetween joist bays because of a lack of support. Even a 1/32" over a few joist bays would account for 1/4" to 1/2" gaps.
 

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Palisade Point Const.
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IIRC, most composite companies list 16" centers as absolute max, and 12" as better. When running at 45*, 12"oc would be required, because the diagonal length is just over 16". If you used 16"oc and ran the boards at 45*, that would be the same as running the boards square but with joists at 22.5"oc.

Wide spacing and nails are probably the main problems, although poor composite materials could play a big roll as well.

Trex is still the most common available around me. That's all that one of the building suppilers carries, the other also carries Evergrain and can get Timbertech fairly easily. I'm not sure if HD or lowes in my area carries any composite decking.
 

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Don't like Trex or most composites, they stain too easily from leaves and dirt. I did a wood deck on the side when I was 19 (I'm 40 now) and the homeowners maintained it, putting sealer on every two years and it still looks like new, other than being a grey color. I like the feel of wood much more when your sitting outside as well.
 

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Celtic

I am a representative of Trex and would welcome a picture of the deck. We would be happy to review and provide feedback. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me directly.

Pat M
Trex Company
 

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Premium Member
Retired deck builder
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6,357 Posts
Celtic

I am a representative of Trex and would welcome a picture of the deck. We would be happy to review and provide feedback. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me directly.

Pat M
Trex Company
Leave your contact info.
 
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