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Fast learner
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone use plastic lumber in any of their projects? I've heard that one has to be careful about direct sunlight because UV might weaken the stuff. I've also heard that it can be used to build decks and patios. I imagine that the plastic lumber used in the decks and patios would then be capable of the same things as the wood normally used in those projects. Also rot and and mildue are not issues. Has anyone used this stuff? What do you guys think?
 

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It will crack yes the fungus can be helped if it happens
With soap and water just take it apart clean it put the dirt back and you are done
All I know is the cracking just glue it
 

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I built a Porch for my Mom out of the Synthetic Stuff for my Mom. It seems to hold up Pretty well. The Base and Structure are Pressure Treated Lumber, but the Part you walk on is that ECO something or other. My only Complaint, is that they Gave me the wrong Screws to fasten the Walking Surface, and I had to go back and Countersink everything and use the right ones. I'm no Carpenter, and apparently, neither was the Guy that sold me the Components. Turned out nice though.:thumb:
 

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ive built several decks with a couple different brands, they all seem to require more support. ive not experienced any cracking or even any degradation due to sunlight, or anything else. it can be slippery when wet, more so than wood, and requires more support. other than that, the only complaint ive had is that it doesnt age, it doesnt get that old look that wood does.
 

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Fast learner
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I do i use a raised flower bed why what do you need to know
I'm just toying with some ideas at this point like use in shelves, using it to build a shelter, maybe even incorporate into some blue prints for a small boat I have, etc. Don't have the time or money to do anything now, just thinking that when I do, I want to spend my money wisely and have my projects last.
 

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Fast learner
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Knowing that it becomes slippery when it is damp, I would probably put down skateboard tape anywhere it could get wet and I would need to walk.
 

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I built my raised beds for my veggie garden from them. That was six yrs ago. They are holding up very well. No cracking, warping or discoloration. No chemical leeching into my soil.
 

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Have same experience as Fattire used 12 O.C. framing and some brands can be stain but your stuck staining every year if you do all edges had to be predrilled and counter sunk some of new screws do it themselves so am told.
 

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You'll need to tighten up your joist spacing if you're using the synthetic
material for deck planks. It might vary depending on the particular
product, but I've typically seen 12" spacing recommendations for
the joists, where-as 16" O.C. is typically fine when using conventional
2-by treated lumber. (Have occasionally seen that 16" spacing stretched
to 24" for wood planks without any serious downside.) The synthetic lumber
is very flexible, and on 16" center joists you can seriously feel it
"give" under foot. I've walked on some that was installed over 16" O.C.
joists, and it has a real unpleasant sag to it.

Not trash-talking the synthetic stuff. Just be aware of its limitations
and proper installation requirements.

Off-topic of deck planks, I've used the plastic "wood" material as trim
around a new window I installed. Real nice to work with. Easy to cut,
no warping or splitting. It's only been in place over one winter, but so
far the single coat of latex paint I put on it is holding well.

Be aware that you can't effectively countersink a nail head into the stuff.
It's got a lot of bounce to it, and once the underneath side of a broad
nail head makes contact, that's as far as it goes. No amount of effort
with a nail set is gonna drive that thing any deeper. Lesson learned.
Either use finishing nails (small heads) or pre-drill and countersink your
nail or screw holes if you want the heads sitting flush or slightly indented.
Might be able to forcibly counter-sink a screw head. Didn't try. After
my experience with the nails, I put the rest in with screws and counter-sunk
all the holes just to be safe.

But that was just my learning curve, not the fault of the product. Thumbs
up on the plastic trim stuff, at least so far.
 

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I built this boat dock out of the stuff and it has held up well for at least 10 years, the walkway is regular lumber.


 

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Fast learner
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If it keeps structural integrity for 10 years or more in water and direct sunlight, I'll certainly fell safe using it. I wonder how salt water will affect it though.
 

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12 years ago I wanted to build a retaining wall for an eroding bank. I went to the lumber yard to get treated lumber. The owner told me that the new EPA approved treated lumber had a life span of about 5 years based on his experience, and recommended plastic which he did not sell. He refered me to a place I could get some. The wall is pretty much shaded so I have no opinion on UV damage (it raises cain with Rubbermaid tubs), but there is no sign of deterioration.
 

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If it keeps structural integrity for 10 years or more in water and direct sunlight, I'll certainly fell safe using it. I wonder how salt water will affect it though.
My BIL built his deck in South Carolina out of TREX when it first came out in the mid 90's his house is right on the inlet by Hilton Head and his deck show no signs of wear.
 

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I used to build high end custom decks. The synthetic decking was very popular. The earlier materials had problems with mold and mildew but those issues have been corrected.

It's fairly easy to work with but the fasteners need to be counter sunk and pre-drilling is required at the end of the boards to prevent splitting.

The biggest complaint was that it gets scratched easily by dragging furniture and large dogs. It can't be sanded down like wood.

It looks nice, but I'd rather use wood.
 

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I worked 2 different marinas in the mountains ,and the doc systems take a beating ,but when they went to the plastic lumber it made all the difference in the world.
They are designed to be screwed down not nailed, predrilling is recomended . It does not chnge shpe shrink or expand when wet like wood so you can choose to put boards together closing all the gaps. No one ever gets a splinter , and yes it is a little slipery when wet but I have never slipped on it except in snow but shoveling was so much easier, and you can't see any scrape marks .
One type is solid and the other is hollow, but neither one is designed for structural support .
These are very high traffic areas and get the worst weather year round . There is a slight oxyidizing , and the boards do not float, and they are heavy, but there is no wood or wood finish that can stand up the the abuse this stuff has proven of it's self.
I have a freind that builds very classy and expensive doc systems for a living and uses this material exclusively.
I would recomend that only the hollow be used in lite traffic areas only ,but not on public doc systems. not that I have seen it fail but that every material does have it's limitations.
 

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many of the new composite decking systems are hidden hardware(clips that hold the decking down so that the surface has no exposed screws) eliminating predrilling and countersinking.
 
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