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UltraDeck Composite Decking material

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Review by richgreer posted 04-27-2012 01:54 PM 20990 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
UltraDeck Composite Decking material UltraDeck Composite Decking material UltraDeck Composite Decking material Click the pictures to enlarge them

I just completed building a deck that featured the UltraDeck composite decking material. This was my first experience with any composite decking material.

In many regards, I was impressed. This is a solid, straight and true decking material. They claim it is maintenance free and I believe them. The hidden screw system works reasonably well and, once you figure it out, installation goes well.

The second picture shows a close-up of the grooves in the sides of the boards. A T-shaped plastic form fits into the screws and is secured to the joists with a screw in the middle. Those screws require a special driving tip for your impact driver. At first I tried a conventional #1 square drive tip and it did not work well due to the shoulders of the tip. Eventually, I discovered the special driver in the bag of screws (with no shoulders). It worked well.

Eventually, I also realized that the t-shaped plastic forms need to be inserted with a directional orientation. It took me a while to figure that out. Some directions would have been nice.

There was a lack of consistency in the length of these boards of up to 1/2”. I lined up one end perfectly and had to cut up to 1/2” off of some of the boards at the other end.

When completely installed with the hold down screws tight, the boards will still move if bumped from the end. I solved this problem with a single finishing nail located at an inconspicuous location in each board. The finishing nail, used in a nail gun, left an almost unnoticeable mark.

The hardness of this material is more like hardwood that softwood. When using a finishing nail gun, I had to turn the air pressure up to 110 psi. I normally use that gun at about 90 psi.

You will see that I resawed some of the decking material to make treads for the steps. My bandsaw resawed this a little slower than it would have resawed oak of the same width. I also ran the resawed pieces through my thickness planer to even out any inconsistencies in thickness. Two light passes were all that was needed and it worked in the thickness planer just like a hard wood.

We also did the railings with the same material. Assembling the railing sections was a tedious job. The railings (top and bottom), spindles and a hidden metal support piece all come separately and it took more time than I expected to put them together and install them. There is no obvious way to attach the railings and I had to mock something up.

All-in-all, I think this is a good product for someone who wants a maintenance-free deck. However, some clearer instructions (indeed, any instructions) would have been nice and inconsistency in the length of the boards caused by to grant 4 stars instead of 5.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.




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richgreer

4524 posts in 1728 days



5 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3659 posts in 1817 days


#1 posted 04-27-2012 02:13 PM

Thanks for the review, Rich. We have a bunch of decks in La Conner, and the day may come when they need major maintenance. Right now, they are OK. I wouldn’t do the work, but I will the option of what materials to use.

I am finally nearing the end of my forced march with the electronic medical record installation at the clinic, and it went very well. However, I am requiring more man hours for awhile to manage data input, and my wife has stepped up the plate and is filling that role. Hope to be more active on LJ’s in a few weeks, I have been mostly reading.

Have a good one…....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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MontanaBob

419 posts in 1337 days


#2 posted 04-28-2012 08:31 AM

I used composite decking when building the back deck…it has a wall on one end to keep the snow, and rain off, and has a roof over it that extends about 18” over the front of the deck….I got this stuff from HD and it wasn’t cheap….I’ve replaced two pieces, where the end of the decking started to crumble..Now there are several pieces that are starting to crumble….on the end without a wall to protect it…I can just imagine what this composite decking would look like if it was exposed to the weather….This stuff is about 5-6 years old…It also stains easily, and there is no fix unless it is replaced…..Now the front deck was done several years earlier with a composite decking also bought at HD…I’ve never had any problem with it except the staining issue..It was exposed to the weather for years before I put a wall up on the north end to keep the weather out…I do remember that it would bend fairly easy when hot so I ran joists every foot..that worked…because of the bending I also put in an extra runner for the steps…..I think the stuff on the back deck was a little thicker than that on the front….. Hope this newer stuff holds up for you…

-- To realize our true destiny, we must be guided not by a myth from our past, but by a vision of our future

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ShipWreck

536 posts in 2406 days


#3 posted 04-28-2012 11:40 PM

I have installed this composite system on a few decks. No major issues from any of them. I do notice very slight sagging between joists when exposed to direct sunlight here in Virginia.

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MontanaBob

419 posts in 1337 days


#4 posted 04-29-2012 02:46 PM

One more thing I just thought of….Make sure you have a few pieces for later use—-(repair).....I’ve found that they change the pattern so you won’t be able to find the same decking in a few years…

-- To realize our true destiny, we must be guided not by a myth from our past, but by a vision of our future

View Viking's profile

Viking

857 posts in 1848 days


#5 posted 04-29-2012 03:00 PM

Rich;

http://www.midwestmanufacturing.com/MidwestManufacturing/web/docs/pdf/UltraDeck_Installation.pdf

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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