Product Picks: Special decking edition
Few categories of building products, if any, have evolved as much and as fast as decking, railing and accessories. At LBM Journal, we recognized the explosive growth of the outdoor living category early on, and each April, we provide a snapshot of the state of the industry for the upcoming outdoor living season.
While the reality of space constraints prevents us from spotlighting every product from every company at some point in this issue, those included in this article, along with those featured in this issue’s three In Depth features, serve as a solid primer of products available. Indeed, this issue features one of our biggest-ever selections of decking products and accessories.
From a dealer’s standpoint, the vast array of product options means that you can likely avoid the inevitable price wars that bubble up when multiple dealers in your market all carry the exact same products and brands.
The products are listed in no particular order. Enjoy!
— The Editors
WalkGreen™ tropical hardwood decking
WalkGreen is a tropical hardwood decking, said to be 100% pure and Forest Stewardship Council certified. The decking is available in four lines: Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa, and Angelyn. The decking is designed to be durable and low maintenance. WalkGreen decking is kiln dried to approximately 15% moisture content to stabilize wood from undue twisting and cupping. All WalkGreen decking is end-sealed to prevent or minimize end-splitting. The product is said to be truly green and comes with a 25-year warranty against rot and decay. www.walkgreenproducts.com
Placid Point Lighting System
Placid Point Lighting System is a low-profile accent lighting system comprised of die-cast and powdercoated sealed component post caps that fit 2-1/2″, 3-1/4″, and 4″ posts. The Placid Point Lighting System is designed for use on posts, stairs and decks. The low-voltage lights have been developed to be energy efficient, and come with a 10-year warranty. Available in accent lights, post cap lights, post cap downlights, and unlighted post caps. Accessories include wire extensions, wire kits, splitters, remote dimmer, power supply and photoelectric timer kits. www.placidpointlighting.com
The Step-Clip system from DuraLife is designed to be easy and fast to install. With no spacing, extra measuring, or grabbing for fasteners, along with less time bending up and down, Step-Clip is said to reduce decking installation time by up to 50%. Decking can be laid out in advance to ensure that the variegated hardwoods appearance is pleasing to the homeowner. Contractors can special-cut and install boards after all other decking is installed. No need to hold up the crew for special cuts to fit around posts, etc. With no joist protection tape, a strip protects the top of the joist from water damage, rot and decay. No special tools are required for installation. Step-Clip strips are sold with or without 1-1/4″ hot dip galvanized ring shank coil roofing nails. www.duralifedecking.com
10″ KLEERWrap column wraps
Kleer Lumber has introduced a 10″ post wrap to its line of porch and column wraps. The post wraps, also available in 4″, 6″, or 8″ options, encase existing treated posts and are designed to create a more finished look without the long-term maintenance required for wood. KLEERWrap post wraps are designed to be installed by just one person. Each wrap comes with three sides preassembled, and the installer “snaps” the fourth side into place and fastens. KLEERWrap post wraps are made with expanded cellular PVC. The 10″ post wrap fits 8″ nominal posts. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty against splintering, rotting, delamination, and swelling. www.kleerlumber.com
Fairway Architectural Railing Solutions S100 Steel Railing
Fairway’s S100 Steel Railing product is available in 6′ and 8′ widths in 28″, 34″, and 40″ heights. Designed for quick and easy installation, the rail is made of fullyassembled, welded channels. The railing is available in Black Sand and Antique Bronze colors. Available in level and stair applications. Stair is adjustable up to 42 degrees. www.fairwayrailing.com
TAMKO Envision Collection line
TAMKO Building Products includes Inspiration™ and Expression™ as part of its Envision Collection of capped composite decking. TAMKO uses an exclusive compression molding process for Inspiration that is designed to feature traits similar to natural wood and is available in three color options: Barnwood Plank, Tangled Twine, and Weathered Wicker. The Expression line was developed for composite lumber customers looking for a single-color product and features solid colors in four tones: Harbor Grey, Caribou Brown, Canyon Ridge, and Woodland Bark. www.tamko.com
UnderShield® Water Diversion System from CertainTeed
CertainTeed’s UnderShield Water Diversion System for decking applications is a vinyl ceiling system engineered to turn unsightly deck undersides into dry, aesthetically pleasing areas for entertaining or storage. Designed to be easy to install on new or existing decks, the company says that the system will maintain unobstructed air flow when properly installed. Panels can run parallel or perpendicular to the home, and the clip creates the desired pitch. UnderShield features 6″ by 16′ vinyl panels and a concealed clip and grid system to divert precipitation to the edge of the deck. The panels are available in two styles, chamfer or beaded, and three color choices: Colonial White, Sterling Gray and Savannah Wicker. The system also includes stainless steel hardware to provide further security and performance. www.certainteed.com
Fortress Evolution Steel Deck Framing
Evolution Steel Deck Framing from Fortress is an interlocking joist and ledger system that was developed by deck builders. Standard Evolution framing was built to support longer spans, reducing the number of footings and columns builders need to have in place. The powder-coated finish is said to provide increased corrosion resistance as well as a more finished look. Evolution components are designed to serve the same shape and function as wood. Rectangle joist profiles are available in 12′, 14′, 16′, 18′, and 20′ lengths and can be cut to size. The steel framing system supports composite, PVC, Ipe, or any wood deck board. 25-year limited warranty available. www.fortressframing.com
Ecolife™ stabilized weather-resistant wood from Viance™
Ecolife is described as “an advanced wood protection system, utilizing a fully integrated wood preservative system with built-in stabilizer for maximum weathering protection and enhanced performance.” The company says that its advanced non-metallic wood preservative system gives the wood built-in water repellency for up to three years, and reduces cracking, checking and splitting by up to 50%. Ecolife is AWPA standardized and building-code approved for above-ground applications like decks, fencing and similar projects. Unlike some other treated wood products, Viance says that Ecolife can be used in direct contact with aluminum building products, even in constantly wet conditions. www.treatedwood.com
VertiCable® from Digger Specialties
Aiming to provide architectural style with a virtually unobstructed view, VertiCable from Digger Specialties features vertical cables and balusters in sections that are factory assembled, tensioned, and shipped on pallets for quick installation. VertiCable 1/8″ vertical 316 stainless steel cables are accompanied by 5/8″ round balusters. Level sections are offered in 36″ and 42″ heights and include 4′, 5′, 6′, 7′ and 8′ lengths (7′ and 8′ in 36″ only). Stair sections are available in 4′, 5′ and 6′ lengths. VertiCable is available in 12 standard AAMA 2604 compliant powder coated colors. AAMA 2605 and custom colors also available. www.diggerspecialties.com
Merbau decking from Woodstock Timbers
Australia’s Woodstock Timbers recently introduced Merbau decking to the U.S. market. Merbau is a sustainably harvested timber with natural high density. Described as fire- and termite-resistant, the company says Merbau can last 40 years or more depending on maintenance and location. The Faux Painted Lifestyle Designer Decking is available in four colors: Red Mist, Grey Ghost, Wild Oates, and Natural Antique. The product also is available in three finishes: Wire Brush, Rough Sawn, and Reclaimed Lumber. The Lifestyle Designer Decking is pre-finished and manufactured in lengths in multiples of 16″ with square cut ends. Woodstock Timbers says Merbau is the most used decking timber in Australia, where extremes in temperature and weather conditions are similar to conditions across the U.S. www.woodstocktimbers.com
FUSIONLoc from AZEK Building Products
FUSIONLoc is a collated hidden fastening system engineered for strength and speed. Two types of installation methods, one using a pneumatic tool and another using a guide and a drill, are both exclusive to AZEK and TimberTech lines. Said to resist expansion and contraction, uplift, and joist racking, FUSIONLoc is collated for speed, containing five clips per strip, to reduce installation time. FUSIONLoc installs with a stainless steel clip and screw, which is fully removable for contractors to remove a board, even in the middle of the deck. www.azek.com
Wolf Home Products Distinction Railing
Distinction Railing from Wolf Home Products is made of a composite material designed to have the look of real painted wood. The railing’s aluminum reinforced top and rails are assembled with a unique OptiLock™ technology that the company says allows one bracket to do the work of four: Straight, stair, 45 degrees, and 22-1/2 degrees. Available in white all-inone kits for quick and easy installation. Designed to pair seamlessly with Wolf’s new outdoor lighting products. Made in the U.S. with a limited lifetime warranty. www.wolfhomeproducts.com
Tru-Scapes Tru-Post® LED light
The Tru-Post LED light accessory is designed to be featured on a fence gate, around a pool or along the railing of a deck. The lights are said to require a low voltage transformer for installation. The LED light design is a heavy gauge, fully powder coated aluminum fixture with a weathertight rubber gasket glass jar enclosure to protect the bulb and socket area as well as provide 360° of light output. Included is a 6′ line wire. Designed to fit: Standard 2″ x 2″ aluminum fence or railing posts (available in black only); Standard 2.5″ x 2.5″ aluminum fence or railing posts (available in black only); Standard 4″ x 4″ vinyl fence or railing posts (available in white only); Standard 4.5″ x 4.5″ Trex Transcend railing post (available in black, brown, and white). Light source is a 2.5W G4 LED bulb. www.tru-post.com
Ply Gem Stone
Tapping into the growing demand for stone, Ply Gem Stone is available in three different profiles suitable for interior or exterior uses ranging from decorative accents to fullhouse facades. Cobblestone is designed to mirror the classic look of rough dressed stone. The chiseled face, rectangular shapes and irregular sizes recall an old-world look and feel. Modeled for a Civil Row fence-row, Shadow Ledgestone is designed to be tightly fitted together in a dry-stack style. The craggy texture and earth tones aim to create an organic, rustic appearance suitable for interior and exterior walls, fireplaces, columns and retaining walls. True Stack (shown) features individual, stacked stones molded into panels of varying lengths. The result is a tight-fitting, dry-stacked style with a rugged texture. www.plygem.com
UnderDeck The Original® by FehrMark, Inc.
A patented outdoor ceiling system made in the USA, UnderDeck is engineered to provide dry living space below elevated decks. It captures and diverts the water and dirt that falls between deck boards away from the space below. UnderDeck creates useful outdoor living space to barbeque, or for other uses. UnderDeck’s curved, dimensional design hides imperfections in joist heights, unlike the flat surfaces common in other systems. According to the manufacturer, UnderDeck’s durable panels are easy to install and can be easily removed to add ceiling lights or fans. www.underdeck.com
DeckLok bracket system from Screw Products
The new DeckLok bracket system was engineered to address the three most critical connections on a deck: railing systems, ledger boards, and stair stringers. For rail posts, DeckLok is designed to create a bolted connection, oriented in shear, between the rail post and the deck floor joist. For ledger boards, DeckLok anchors the deck’s ledger board to the floor joists of the house. Each set of brackets is designed to provide up to 4,000 lbs. of resistance to deck pullout. The DeckLok reinforces the connection between stair stringers and the deck frame to reduce the possibility of the stairs shifting away from the deck. www.screw-products.com