Thursday, January 10, 2008

Xtendex Composite Decking

Our Builder in Barrie "Jamie Elliot" advised me this past week that one of our competitors in the area has bought a few lifts of composite decking " Xtendex " from the defunct composite decking plant in Barrie.

They are selling it at competitive prices to cedar--The alarming part is that they are not advising the potential buyer that there is no warranty and the product may have maintenance issues. He knows--because he saw the estimate.

Xtendex went bankrupt a few years back... The Carney Timber Company-McFarland Cascade bought it out and then this past summer closed the plant again. Obviously, there is no longer any warranty on Xtendex products. They had a big auction and piles of the product were sold at fire sale prices.

Information released to Professional Deck Builder Magazine (click for full article) inferred that they had stock to last 2 years--however this was sold off at a giant fire sale auction last fall.

If a company goes bankrupt-normally it is due to a faulty product. I'll zoom you back a few years. I noticed this horrible composite decking display from the highway--when you notice how horrible something is from 200 yards away, there's no question; the product had issues.

You won't be able to buy replacement material, there is no warranty on the product whatsoever and as you can see in the above photo...every lift is a slightly different color. Fading and stains are an issue with all these composite products.

Composite decking is not structural material--so the rails will have to be made from something else.

If someone is trying to sell you a composite deck at a price that seems unrealistic-- Run away!
First grade composite decking goes for over $50.00 a square foot installed... when you are offered something cheaper, and it is represented as first grade, there is a high probability you are being ripped off.

Our simple rule of composite, if it contains recycled plastic and organics like pulp lumber--brace yourself for a product prone to mold and early deterioration. The sugar contained in the old pop bottles along with the fuel supplied by the wood pulp make for a mold generating machine.
The virgin vinyl is a little better, however they are very expensive.

PVC products tend to expand and contract severely due to temperature changes.

To read more about composite decking and photos of composite decks click here.

The beauty of wood--you can make it new again a few years after it is built! Have a look at a few of our wood decks. Many of the photos of these wood decks were taken 3-5 years after installation and they age more gracefully due to pre-staining.


Dan de Angeli said...


I find it hard to recommend the current composite products on the market right now for the reasons you stated. In the Boston area I can get mahogany at the same price and offer my clients the look and feel of real wood. Do you steer your clients towards wood as well? How about your preferred choice of railing material?

Dan de Angeli

Unknown said...

Dave Makela says it is like shangri la for decks. (The climate agrees with most materials). He won't use anything that breaks if you hit it with a hammer--but he does use quite a bit of virgin vinyl decking.

The mahogany is nice to work with...Ipe is hard to work and nearly impossible for rails.

We often use a combination of materials--solid stain on one and transparent or oil on the other.


Lon Tierney said...

I've inherited a house with an Xtendex deck installed about 5 years ago. It definitely has issues with expansion (2-3 inches for some boards over a 20 foot span). The main issue with the decking is the fastening system. To install/remove requires a reduced/turned-shank #1 square drive bit, which no one seems to carry! Standard reduced-shank bits only are reduced for 1/4 inch, but the fastener is all the way at the bottom of the boards, requiring 1+ inch of turned shank to get to the screws.

I've got two boards to replace, and a number that need to be repositioned, but I have no idea how to get that done with no bit! Lovely...

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