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home>>family>>home & decor 3>>decks and balances

Decks and Balances


(ARA) - Spring isn't the only thing that's sprung. That's because more and more composite decks are popping up in backyards across the country.

By now, there's a good chance you've seen spectacular photos of these decks in magazines along with large displays in home improvement stores. Sure, they look beautiful brand new, but how will they look five years from now?

That's a question you need to ask yourself if you're in the market for a composite deck.

The biggest complaint among composite deck owners is that their decks' color fades over time. It's a common problem.

Composites are typically made from a blend of recycled plastics and recaptured sawdust or wood by-products. Wood flour and wood chips contain high amounts of Lignins -- a major contributor to fading of composite material. Therefore, over time, composite decks gradually lose their original color.

Luckily, not all composite brands are made to fade.

GeoDeck is blended with Biodac, a proprietary product made by the recovery of purified cellulose fibers and other minerals. Biodac, unlike wood flour or wood chips used in most composite products, does not contain high amounts of Lignins. The result is a composite deck that is virtually fade resistant.

"Fading is not something that a homeowner expects to see in their composite deck," says Ed Mangold, owner of HomeCheck Construction in Ellington, Conn. "GeoDeck makes my customers happy with its fade-resistant colors that are richer than other composite decking products."

Fade resistance is just one item to put on your checklist when shopping for a composite deck. Here are five other questions to ask:

Can composites be used for other applications?

Yes! A product this creative was meant to live outside the deck. You can use composites to build porches, patios, pool and hot surrounds, walkways, docks and boat slips -- with an understructure composed of structural wood. Whatever application you can imagine, there's a good chance it can be built with a reputable composite brand.

How long do composite decks last?

The estimated life expectancy for composite decks is over 50 years and warranties typically range from 10 years to life. Composites rarely split, warp, crack, rot or decay. Most are even resistant to termites.

How much maintenance is required?

Most brands -- such as Trex, WeatherBest, and GeoDeck -- don't require any painting or sealing. They're usually easy to keep clean, too. On some composite decking brands, most dirt and stains can be removed with water, a brush or with a household cleaner.

Do I need to hire a contractor to install my composite?

No, you can install it yourself. Most composites are easy to drill, cut, saw and nail with standard woodworking tools. If you decide to install your own composite deck, it's wise to follow the installation instructions carefully as the plastic content of composites needs to be taken into consideration for expansion/contraction purposes.

Are composites safe and environmentally responsible?

Yes, composites are eco-friendly. They're also safe for children as most composites rarely splinter and are kind to bare feet. Plus, composite decking doesn't contain toxic materials or hazardous chemicals.

For more information, visit www.geodeck.com.

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