|Review by richgreer||posted 04-27-2012 01:54 PM||29196 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
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.