“The trends we’re seeing in composite decking — and ones we’ve developed products for — include the introduction of fire-rated composite decking products; deck board options that are competitive with wood decking; a growing number of color selections and accessories; a solid, reversible profile board; and grooved boards for hidden fastening systems,” said Brent Gwatney, vice president of sales and marketing for MoistureShield.
“These trends are being driven by the growing use of composite decking as an alternative to wood, customer interest and feedback, and the economy,” added Gwatney. “Essentially, we’re working to make it fast and simple for builders to create beautiful, durable decks.”
Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies (A.E.R.T.) now offers MoistureShield FR, a fire-rated decking which is the latest addition to the environmentally friendly MoistureShield line. The product features an embossed wood grain texture on both sides so the boards can be installed either side up. The 1 1/4-inch thick MoistureShield FR is available in three colors — Cape Cod gray, earthtone and seasoned mahogany — and three lengths: 12, 16 and 20 feet.
“The biggest trends right now are versatile wood-alternative materials that are green in a grand sense, i.e., taking into account the cradle to grave carbon footprint,” said Jim Mahler, president of Lifetime Lumber. “Other trends are fire and weather resistance and even good looks. And with the topic on everyone’s mind being the economy, wood alternative lumber can cost an arm and a leg; it needs to be affordable.”
LifeTime Lumber is an alternative lumber product created with thermoset polymers combined with recycled mineral filler. LifeTime is made from a patented mixture of fly ash, a nonhazardous inert material recovered from the electric power generation industry, and polyurethane. The product will not rot, be affected by termites, support mold and mildew, absorb water or significantly expand or contract. Lifetime is low-maintenance, eco-friendly and fire-resistant.
The product is available through building material supplier BlueLinx.
“There is high demand for green products in general and a strong pull for affordable fire-rated materials in our market,” said James Snakard, general manager for BlueLinx’ Northern California region. “Homeowners in the hills, coastal regions, and even urban areas are extremely concerned about the recent wildfires and how to protect against them.”
Some states have modified their building codes to make sure exterior products help limit the possible damage caused by fires. In 2008, California enacted the most comprehensive set of regulations called the Wildland-Urban Interface Fire (WUI) Area Building Standards.
TimberTech offers four composite deck boards that meet the WUI standards: DockSider, EarthWood, TwinFinish and XLM. The company’s DockSider, Earthwood and TwinFinish composite planks meet the Class B designation for flame spread. XLM, TimberTech’s all-PVC plank, passed the stringent ASTM-E84 requirements to achieve a Class A Flame Spread Rating. Additionally, XLM is offered in four colors — mountain cedar, river rock, sandridge and desert bronze — and is available in 12-, 16- and 20-ft. lengths with matching 12-in. fascia and 7 1/4-in. stair riser in 12-ft. lengths. All are backed with an industry-leading 25-year limited residential warranty.
Outside living luxury
Instead of creating more space by adding a room, homeowners are opting for decks that serve as an outdoor living area with all the comforts of home. Whether the choice is real wood or a wood alternative, decks give homeowners the dual benefits of expanding their living area and amazing their guests.
The main goal on customers’ minds is “creating that safe haven or get-away atmosphere,” said Ron Long, president of PureWood. “The bigger the home, the more detailed the decks get,” said Long. “Outdoor living is an ever increasing category for many lumberyards, and with people staying in their current homes longer, remodeling or replacing the deck seems to be on more To Do lists for these homeowners.”
PureWood’s Pro-Grade line of thermally modified wood decking includes linea, Sahara and simplicity styles, which are 1 1/4 in. thick by 5 in. wide. Purewood is natural lumber that undergoes a heat-based, chemical-free process that changes compounds in the wood, followed by application of a sealant specifically designed for thermally modified wood.