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Thread: Deck Material Choices

  1. #1
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    Deck Material Choices

    I am planning our in ground vinyl pool, and am looking forward to starting the dig as soon as things dry out here in southern California. My concern is in decking materials. I am going to build a deck about 18 inches above the ground, and only about 180 to 200 sq feet.

    I looked at a few composites, including ChoiceDek from Lowe's, then read about the mold problems including a class action lawsuit. The customer reviews were pretty bad too. I thought about Trex, but they had an even more recent mold issue resulting in another class actin lawsuit. Then I see a Yakama brand from Builder's direct that is cheap, but seemed to get better reviews.

    Ipe wood seems popular if wood is an option, but I am afraid of maintenance of wood. I have the ability to do the building myself (along with a few friends who know what they are doing), but am afraid of using the wrong material and wasting a ton of money. I am willing to spend a little more to get it right, but not to then have to fight for a warranty or have sagging, stains and mold problems.

    I am in Orange county, CA and get lots of sun. PLEASE let me know real world experiences with ChoiceDek and Trex and others, includng Ipe wood. Any feedback, tips and suggestions are helpful.
    11000 gal IG pool, pebbletec surface, Cartridge filter, In Floor cleaner

  2. #2
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    Quote Originally Posted by dpoelstra
    I am going to build a deck about 18 inches above the ground, and only about 180 to 200 sq feet.

    .
    I'm not really understanding what you are wanting to do. For an inground pool, the deck should go flush with the top of the pool, with some kind of coping material attached to the bond beam. Wooden, raised decks are normally used in above ground pool construction.
    How big is your pool going to be? 200 sq feet of pool deck is really, really small for an inground pool. Is the pool a DYI job?
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    My real question is about the composites.

    The rest is not relevant to my real concern and question about composits. (kinda hard to explain everything) and no, the pool is not a diy job, but the deck will be. I just gave a little backgorund.
    11000 gal IG pool, pebbletec surface, Cartridge filter, In Floor cleaner

  4. #4
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    I'd use composite material over wood anytime a deck is involved.
    What material are you using for coping?
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    it's a composite coping. The pool actually sits 18 inches above the ground, and we ave some concrete, and a small yard to work with.

    I was heading down the road of composites till I started reading all the issues with mold, sagging and staining. I don't mind resealing every year if Hardwood is better. My research just confused me. I thought that composites were trouble free, but I guess not.

    I want it to look nice, be kid friendly and as low maintenance as possible, while still keeping the price somewhat under control.
    11000 gal IG pool, pebbletec surface, Cartridge filter, In Floor cleaner

  6. #6
    Senior Member dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    Quote Originally Posted by dpoelstra
    I want it to look nice, be kid friendly and as low maintenance as possible, while still keeping the price somewhat under control.
    To me composite fits that bill. No material is maintenance free. I have trex and does it get mold, yes, but so does wood. The BIG difference is you just spray the trex down with some bleach every 3-4 months and wash it down...no powerwashing sealing etc. Composite is low maint (ie no sealing, staining, etc) but not maint. free

    The folks complaining about composite and mold assume it's a product you can just install and never touch again and magically it will keep looking new...that's just not the case.

    As far as kid friendly, you'll get no splinters, but word of caution if the area in question gets a lot of sun, you will want a lighter color composite as oppossed to darker as it can get hot in the sun and those little feet
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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  7. #7
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    I will get a lot of sun.

    Has the Choicedek sold by Lowes gotten better? It looks like a few years ago they had real issues and lawsuits. Trex is much more expensive. Is Trex worth the extra money?

    Dan
    11000 gal IG pool, pebbletec surface, Cartridge filter, In Floor cleaner

  8. #8
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    I'd use Trex if you are set on that type of deck. I'm not sure how much per sq ft it is however.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    can you tell me why? They had issues too. If I spend almost double the price I want to know it is worth it. Have you worked with either of them?
    11000 gal IG pool, pebbletec surface, Cartridge filter, In Floor cleaner

  10. #10
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    Trex is the industry standard for that type of material, IMO. My FIL has it on his back deck (no pool though) and its been there 10 years and still loks good. They stand behind the product if there is a problem. Like dman said though, it's not maintenance free, nothing is.
    Of course, I wouldn't use any of it, not a fan of a wooden or composite deck around an inground pool. I'd much prefer pavers or stamped concrete. All that water around any kind of material like that will ultimately have issues. Plus, asthetically I dont like the looks around an IG pool, but you didnt ask for my opinion on that, but I had to throw it in
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  11. #11
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    I would agree with you, but this particular pool sits 18 inches above the ground, creating an opportunity for a deck, unless I went with concrete but then have to deal with an 18 inch wall to step over. The family wants a deck at pool height, thus the deck 18 inches above the ground. Won't be all the way around, and we are taking advantage of some existing concrete, and the yard is small.

    The pool I am getting is the Islander model from Secard Pools (secardpools.com) in Southern California. We are going with a 20x14 with a 4 foot constant depth. This is the biggest I can go and be legal with set backs and all.
    11000 gal IG pool, pebbletec surface, Cartridge filter, In Floor cleaner

  12. #12
    Senior Member dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    When I was shopping for composite two years ago, I don't think the price difference was 50%, unless you are talking pressure treated wood vs. Trex. The price difference between trex and choice for me was about 10-20% (can't remember exactly ), but what sold me on trex was if you compare a cross cut of the material, trex is almost 1/4 inch thicker. I did however use standard trex, not the fancy Ipe wannabe kind Also, shop around, you would be surprised, but my local lumber yard that overcharges for EVERYTHING, when it comes to lumber they were willing to beat lowes and HD prices by 10%, plus my deck builder let me charge the material under his account which also saved me another 5% or so.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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  13. #13
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    Re: Deck Material Choices

    That's good to know. I will check Tex more closely. I think I am going to buy one board, screw it to some 2x4s, set it out and abuse it and see how it looks. I know it won't be maintenance free, bit I just don't want to regret the purchase. Some of the reviews for ChoiceDek are scary, but I wonder if it just an unmet expectations thing.

    Can you use sealer on composites? Would it help with the mold issue?

    Dan
    11000 gal IG pool, pebbletec surface, Cartridge filter, In Floor cleaner

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