Composite materials make for cool, low-maintenance decks
Over the last few years, composite building materials such as roofing, siding, and decking have evolved as popular alternatives for people wanting to reduce or eliminate maintenance problems associated with traditional wood building materials. Bonus point: Composite building materials are a “green” alternative because they are composed of recycled materials. Among all the composite building-material categories, decking has surely led the pack with a plethora of styles, patterns and colors from a host of manufacturers. The reasons for composite decking’s growing popularity are not hard to understand. While it looks and installs like real wood, it is really a revolutionary product that doesn’t rot, warp or splinter. That means you don’t have to replace rotting, uneven or insect-damaged boards. It is also easy to install and it never needs painting, staining, sealing or resealing (that burdensome yearly project associated with traditional wood decks). Keep in mind that composite decking, and other composite materials for that matter, are not the end-all when it comes to maintenance. Though most composite decking resists sun and water damage and maintains its color and beauty for years, composite decking will still age and oxidize with prolonged sun exposure. This happens with some types more than others, depending on the raw materials used. Moreover, as with natural wood decks, composite decking needs to be washed periodically with a non-corrosive, high-quality composite-deck cleaning product. This is especially important in warm, humid climates where some brands of composite decking material are proving to be breeding grounds for mold and mildew.Bottom line: It has all the beauty of wood, yet stays looking like new, year after year, with very little maintenance. So, what’s not to love and what could be better? Well, there’s always good, better, best. Some composite-decking manufacturers have taken a further step and have developed the equivalent for fencing. With experience honed from composite-decking and railing installations around the world, manufacturers are applying their expertise to pioneer composite fencing. The result? One of today’s best new solutions for new or replacement fencing. As with composite decking, composite fencing captures all the beauty of wood and stays looking like new, year after year, with very little maintenance. But that’s just for starters. One leading manufacturer has engineered a make-sense way to prevent sagging, a common problem with other composite-fencing offerings that are simply made of recycled plastics mixed with wood fibers. This produces extruded material that is both heavy and unsupported. The answer? The development of a process for infusing microscopic air bubbles into the blend of composite material which, in turn, produces much lighter components. The result: a fence board that is about 40 percent lighter than a traditional solid composite board. This ultimately helps eliminate sagging by greatly reducing overall weight throughout the system. This superior material technology is further enhanced with a steel-reinforced rail. A honeycomb of galvanized steel is imbedded full-length in fence rails, for three reasons: (1) added strength; (2) to prevent sagging due to long-term load bearing; and (3) to help prevent expansion or creep resulting from temperature fluctuation. This combination of industry-first, patent-pending technology gives homeowners a new fencing system with unparalleled strength and beauty. Most composite fencing is initially being offered in rich, warm colors, with the look, grain and texture of real wood. It comes in two board configurations, in 6-foot and 8-foot lengths, with steel-reinforced rails, 4-by-4 post covers, decorative flattop post caps and multiple fastening options.The beauty of composite fencing, whether new or as replacement fencing, will not only make your neighbors happy, it will enhance the entire neighborhood. And beyond the added curb appeal for your home lies the low-maintenance factor for you and the extra time you’ll have to relax and socialize with friends and neighbors, instead of repairing and replacing boards, repainting, re-staining and/or continually resealing. More home improvement tips and information are available on the Web at: http://www.onthehouse.com or by calling 1-800-737-2474, ext. 59.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon closed around 9 p.m. Thursday for a flash flood warning.