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Thread: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

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    Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Topic split to form new thread.

    can anyone tell me how a wood deck holds up to the clorine?(fading and cracking) Does plastic hold up any better?
    **Beginning full restoration soon**
    IG 25,000 Gallon 18' x 36' x 8' max depth, built ~1972
    Tagelus TA-60 sand filter
    Plaster, needs resurfacing, considering Ultraguard
    Plan to convert to SWG

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Above Ground Pool Deck

    Hi and welcome.

    I can only tell you that I notice no difference on my wood deck that comes in contact with the pool water vs. the rest of it that doesn't. The same amount of fading, flaking/peeling exists, it's no worse by the pool section. Hopefully someone with the plastic will chime in for you.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    I was considering replacing the rotted cedar on our deck with composite (plastic/sawdust mix such as Trex, etc.). After quite a bit of research (Google can be your friend) I found a LOT of people that were quite unhappy with the composite stuff. I found many complaints about it growing mildew spots under the surface, UV fading, sagging/deforming when in direct sunlight, and being far too hot to walk on in bare feet during the summer.

    I ended up going with Ipe, a Brazillian wood that is incredibly dense, fire proof, insect proof, and VERY rot resistant. It has a lifespan of 35-50 years. I stain it once a year to keep it looking nice, but some people just leave it natural and let it fade to a silvery gray tone.
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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Ipe is pretty popular around here looks great. Aside from it being VERY heavy I love it.

    The old gray trex that people started out with is starting to look pretty faded and almost furry, like an old fiberglass tank. The more wood colored stuff only started to show up recently so I haven't seen how it ages. I still think the gray stuff looks good in the right application, especially for more modern architecture.

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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    I too read all about the mildew problems with composites. I decided to go with the top-shelf solid vinyl, despite the sticker shock, because of the wet spring/fall/winters here in Iowa. The stuff cuts and drills beautifully (no mushrooming around the screw heads), doesn't mildew, and is amazing at resisting stains (choke cherry bird droppings wash off with no problems, even with the faux wood grain texturing). Now that my wallet has forgotten, I'm not sitting here worrying about mildew. Highly recommended.

    Kelly
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    I was asking the same questions last year before deciding on Ipe as well. It's really nice wood, but is going to require annual maintenance (like most options I would guess). Just don't let anyone convice you that plastic or wood are maintenance free. They both require some work to keep them looking good. In fact I need to find a nice stretch of weather so I can get some stain on it. Here are coupld of pics of my last years project. The railing is not complete in these pictures but it will give you an idea of what Ipe looks like.

    Riles



    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    I like it, and that is the color that I like for my deck- don't like the gray faded look- too much of that around here.
    Is that stained darker than natural or just waterproofed? How does it compare price wise to regular pressure-treated wood (approx percentage more expensive)? And, where do you get it? I like in a small Texas town, but am in trailer distance of Dallas, and don't remember ever seeing it available at Lowes or Home Depot.
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Those pictures are the natural color of Ipe prior to staining. This color fades to grey within a few months out in the sun and then it requires a stain. I haven't stained my deck yet, but have bought an oil that I hope will return it to this color.

    Ipe is going for about $2.50/lf (1x6) I belive. Not sure what pine decking is going for, but I would guess my Ipe deck cost about double what an equivalent sized pine deck would cost. However, I installed some pine boards a few years prior to constructing new, and the pine warped, twisted, split very badly in a short time. That is not what I wanted around a pool area. The installation is labor intensive so installation prices may be high, but I provided all my own labor. As far as getting the lumber, I know that Austin Wholesale Decking Supply carries it. Not sure how far that is for you, but I have heard good thing about them.

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    That's an awesome deck, Riles. Well done!

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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Hi Riles!

    Do you think I can be a bother and get a shot of the beautiful pool of yours?
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Casey,

    The pool needs a little love. I hope to replace the concrete/brick around the pool next year with travertine and we are in the process of redoing the landscaping. At any rate, I found a couple pics that show the pool that may help you out. These were taken during the construction of the deck. If you are looking for something in particular let me know.

    Riles





    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Quote Originally Posted by ywait42
    Topic split to form new thread.

    can anyone tell me how a wood deck holds up to the clorine?(fading and cracking) Does plastic hold up any better?
    I would definitely put a good thick coat of water sealer on it. I use a pigmented sealer that adds a nice wood tone...Cedar I think is what I used, but it is made for pressure treated lumber. My kids blow bubbles on it I have my grill on it, and I have not noticed any staining...when I build my pool deck, I will use the same stuff.
    Beave
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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    FWIW, I built the deck on the back of my house and my pool entry deck both out of ChoiceDek composite. Santa brought me a pressure washer this past Christmas, so I'll get out and clean it one of the next few weekends and see how well it cleans up. Other than that, it's held up really well - no splitting or furring up, etc. It does get hot underfoot in the summer, but that's why I wear Crocs to poolside and on the deck. Just my .02.
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Riles,

    That lpe is stunning. very nice craftsmanship, too. What does lpe stand for?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    ipe is a species of wood - mostly imported from Brazil

    Family Name for Ipe Lumber:
    Tabebuia of family Bignoniaceae
    15X30 AGP, Lomart beaded liner;
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    I get it. I thought it was "L-p-e".
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Your deck and pool look amazing from my view Riles! Thank you for posting the pics!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Duraleigh, Ipe is pronounced Eeepay. It has the same fire rating as concrete and it also doesn't float. It's seriously dense and heavy stuff! You also can't nail it or it will split. You have to drill and screw every hole. I drilled and countersunk about 1,900 holes when I installed mine. I also used stainless steel screws because no other deck screw will last as long as the Ipe wood can last. Just the screws cost me about $200. The deck now feels WAY more solid than the cedar deck did. Ipe doesn't flex under foot, at least not that 210 lbs of me can tell. 8) It's somewhat bizarre in that a 1x6 Ipe board can replace a 2x6 of other species and still feel stiffer. I'm quite pleased with the results.

    I also read online somewhere that some of the wildfire-prone parts of California will no longer approve a wooden deck unless the wood is Ipe. Other types of wood deck catch fire quite easily when burning embers land on them, and then set the house on fire. This new rule supposedly was causing some price increases of Ipe as demand went up, but that may have changed in the current real estate environment out there.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    What are you sealing the wood decks with?
    **Beginning full restoration soon**
    IG 25,000 Gallon 18' x 36' x 8' max depth, built ~1972
    Tagelus TA-60 sand filter
    Plaster, needs resurfacing, considering Ultraguard
    Plan to convert to SWG

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    Riles_J's Avatar
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    Re: Wood Deck vs. plastic?....

    Most people would recommend an oil based stain with pigment to resist fading from UV. There are many types of stains out there and many opinions about which are best. The common thread that I found, at least in regards to Ipe, is that because it is so dense that any stain is going to fade in a years time. With Ipe you can let it "go silver" and never do anything to it, but if you want it to keep that beautiful rich color than annual staining is going to be necessary. I have chosen TWP (100 series) and as soon as I can get a nice stretch of weather I will putting it on.

    Back to the Wood vs. Plastic question in the origial post. I think the cost of plastic and a high quality wood deck are about equivalent. Much of it in my opinion comes down to preference. I wanted the look of wood and understand the maintenance that is going to be involved with keeping it looking good. The one misconception about the plastic decks is that they are maintenance free. I don't believe that to be the case. They involve annual cleaning and in some case staining as well. They have certainly been well documented cases about mildew and other problems with plastic, but there are also many folks who are ecstatic with their plastic decks. Not sure I am answering any questions, but maybe just food for thought.

    Riles
    16x32 IG vinyl, 19,000 gal, 1.0 hp pump, sand filter, 2 returns, 1 skimmer, diving board, slide

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