Friday, March 13, 2009

“Extreme Low Maintenance” A term coined by Timber Tech which is what its XLM line stands for The” Extreme Low Maintenance” saying to me stands for decking products that requires very little Maintenance, usually only needing to be cleaned once or twice a year with a mild dish soap and garden hose. Generally speaking this term refers to Cellular PVC products; the two exceptions are, Correct Deck CX which is a composite product, and the new Fiberon, Horizons. Here is the difference most of the typical composite products are a mixture of wood flour and plastic, the Cellular PVC products are made from a mixture of foam/flax and PVC. The benefits over the composite products are, no wood flour so there is no weathering, less expansion, low fading, almost no staining, and no scratching. The originator of this technology was Procell. They have since been bought out by Azek. They came out with this technology about four or five years ago. It has just started catching on in the last few years. Now many manufactures have this product out on the market. Some being: Azek Deck, Trex Escapes, Gossen, Fiberon’s Sensibuilt, Timber Tech’s XLM, Veka, and a Chinese product called Cellek, just to name a few. All of these products have many benefits over the typical composite. With very few drawbacks, though they cannot span as far of a distance between joists as the composite products. Most knowledgeable deck builders will install the framing joist 12’’ on center instead of the standard 16’’ on center. The wood in the composite helps strengthen their products. The foam/flax in the cellular PVC is not as strong of a bi-product. In our opinion the leader of this cellular PVC product line is the Timber Tech’s XLM. The reason being, it has a co-extruded cap stock layer over the foam core which is probably the toughest, most durable surface of any decking on the market. You can literally pound on it with a hammer and it will not dent or crack, whereas all of the other cellular PVC products are softer and dent much easier. Most all of the products have a grooved edge board for a hidden fastening system, except the Sensibuilt and Azek products. All of these products should receive strong consideration when looking for an “Extreme Low Maintenance” deck. Next time we will look at natural products, including tropical hardwoods…

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