Source: BUILDING PRODUCTS Magazine
Publication date: May 29, 2007
By Jeffrey Lee
Owning an elegant hardwood deck can feel like a tropical fantasy. The rich color variations and stylish grains of woods like ipé, mahogany, and walnut provide an exotic twist to a home's outdoor extension.
But caring for tropical hardwoods can be a nightmare due to the staining, oiling, and washing required--and that's not to mention those pangs of guilt every time the environment-conscious homeowner thinks about the rainforest from which the woods were harvested.
For these and other consumers, composite decking manufacturers are delivering durable, low-maintenance boards with the more refined look of tropical wood. "High-end decking people like the richer colors, the hardwood look," says Kevin Brennan, vice president of sales and marketing for TimberTech, which offers its Earthwood plank in a tropical walnut color.
Though these high-end composite offerings are generally three times more expensive than basic pressure-treated pine, they're priced only slightly higher than lumbers like redwood, cedar, or ipé, and can be cheaper than more exotic woods. Basic composite decking, offered with fewer colors or options, is about two times the price of pressure-treated pine. Considering its minimal maintenance cost, composites can be a better value after just a few years.
Composite decking is sustaining its growth. Demand will expand more than 15 percent annually through 2009.
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