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View Full Version : Decking Material - which is the best option?


aplus2340
07-08-2008, 07:02 PM
I'm looking for opinions on decking material. I've researched them all, composite, pvc, traditional pressure treated, etc. After all is said and done, I'm still very confused. I've heard recent rumblings of severe mold issues with the composite(I've looked at Trex and Choicedeck). I didn't want to have the maintenance that comes with pressure treated, but now I am starting to rethink. The deck is going to be around 680-750sf and about 72 inches off the ground. It will get good sun exposure during the day. I live in central CT, so it's going to see a full range of weather conditions. Any help, opinions, experience is much appreciated!

Smith Farms
07-09-2008, 12:36 PM
I am currently building a 625 sq ft deck out of IPE (Iron Wood). It is a bit more expensive than PT or Composite but the look is far superior. I used PT for the structure with concrete block pillars w/rock facade for the support columns.

I ordered my IPE from Banner Elk Tradding Co. in Atlanta, Ga. They were great people to deal with and pretty much sent me everything I needed in kit form (screws, bow-wrench, screwdriver bits, etc...).

I can get you some pictures if you would like.

SF

aplus2340
07-09-2008, 12:54 PM
A picture would be great. How is it to work with? Heard it can be a bit tricky, but the overall quality seems to be worth it. Thanks for the info!

Smith Farms
07-09-2008, 01:07 PM
It is a very hardwood and tough on blades but works beautifully. I will get some pictures today or tomorrow.

crab
07-09-2008, 08:57 PM
Ipe is the best wood for decks,it is not Iron wood ,pt is a big pain in the ass,why is this in hardscaping by the way?:)

aplus2340
07-09-2008, 10:34 PM
Ipe is the best wood for decks,it is not Iron wood ,pt is a big pain in the ass,why is this in hardscaping by the way?:)

Sorry, new to the site, the thread description seemed to point me in this direction. Where should I be looking to post this instead?

Smith Farms
07-10-2008, 06:19 AM
Ipe is the best wood for decks,it is not Iron wood ,pt is a big pain in the ass,why is this in hardscaping by the way?:)

Crab, This come from one of many sites that sell IPE. I'm no expert just trying to help.
Thanks,
SF

IPE (aka. Ironwood) is one of many commercial names used for the the imposing Lapacho group of trees from the various species of Tabebuia.The trees generally grow from 140 to 150 feet, but some can reach heights of 200 feet. Some other common names for the trees from this group include Bethbara and Lapacho, and a host of names used in the countries where the trees grow. The trees are mostly found in Brazil as well as throughout Central and South America and some of the Lesser Antilles.

Smith Farms
07-10-2008, 06:30 AM
Here are a few pictures of the deck. It is a work in process with a lot left to go... The PT will be covered with white Hardie Trim and the bottom will be covered with a black steel mesh. I plan to do black wrought iron rails.

redmax fan
07-10-2008, 08:02 AM
to me wood and the outdoors dont mix .
too much maintenance and doesnt last long enough .
i always think CONCRETE . patio or raised porch design .

pavers are another bad habit , maintenance and longevity
issues also . give me concrete designs every time .

and concretes easy to work with .

redmax fan
07-10-2008, 08:07 AM
heres a link to a good site on concrete designs =

http://www.cement.org/index.asp ..

jaybird24
07-10-2008, 10:45 PM
I agree with Ipe too. It's sometimes called Brazilian Walnut also. It is similar to Teak, naturally patinas to a silvery sheen. Very hard wood, you must predrill, but it will last a long time with very little maintenance. Nice work on that deck Smith Farms. It holds up in our climate real well, better than concrete.

redmax fan
07-10-2008, 11:11 PM
I agree with Ipe too. It's sometimes called Brazilian Walnut also. It is similar to Teak, naturally patinas to a silvery sheen. Very hard wood, you must predrill, but it will last a long time with very little maintenance. Nice work on that deck Smith Farms. It holds up in our climate real well, better than concrete.

im in no way trying to be a smart a** but ide like
to disagree with the comment about smith farms
deck holding up better than concrete =
NO WAY !!!!!!!

i worked in construction over 15 years out of high
school and from a point somewhere in high school
ive always been focused on building / designing
the most maintenance free / sturdy / long lasting
house as possible and i guarantee if in the place
of smith farms deck i poured a concrete patio
itd be solidly standing in 20 years where
as that deck would be a shambles like a decade
previous .

no disrespect meant towards smith farms beautiful
deck work or you jaybird , this is just a topic i feel
strongly about because i want people building them
selves sturdy / maintenance free (the maintenance -
on that deck compared to the zero maintenance of
concrete is huge) / long lasting homes to make their
lives better / easier .

to me decks are a bad habit and more about looks than
longevity / sturdiness .

Smith Farms
07-11-2008, 06:48 AM
I agree Redmax fan, concrete is extremely durable and all things being equal will outlast "wood" products. However, IPE has a class "A" fire rating and with no preservatives should last 50 years (according to the information found on the net).

I chose IPE because I already have somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 yards of concrete in the drive, walks, porch and patio area and felt that I needed to go in another direction. Drainage was another consideration due to the position of the deck in relation to the slope of the land.

Thanks for the compliments on the deck, I still have a long ways to go...

SF

jaybird24
07-11-2008, 09:39 PM
I agree with you redmax fan that a properly prepped concrete area will last a very long time, and some of the new stampings and designs look great. However most contractors around here don't put down much base, or even compact, so 2-3 years later they call us looking for a better alternative. We deal with pavers and wood decks, I like the natural beauty that wood brings to a landscape, especially Ipe. I know compared to most concrete contractors around here I can build a paver patio that will look great ten years from now when their concrete has cracked. A paver patio is meant to move without the cracking of a slab, and can always be repaired without a full tear out and re-pour. That's not to say that concrete can't be built to last, and I applaud you for taking pride in doing your work this way. If I had my way I would use only natural stone, but most can't afford that. I also like the look of stained concrete interior floors and countertops, so I'm not against concrete, inside or out, just wish more guys would try to do it correctly.