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What is the Portland Home Energy Score?


Hello, I’m Chris Marquand, the owner of Deck Masters. I started Deck Masters in March 2008 and I have always promoted green products like recycled Trex decking and low maintenance aluminum railing. In this same spirit I have joined forces with my wife Laurel Marquand to continue promoting a more sustainable World by starting a new company, Portland Energy Assessors, to provide Home Energy Scores to homeowners in the city of Portland. We launched in December of 2017 and currently have three certified energy assessors. We offer on-line, hassle free, and often next day scheduling at

What is a Home Energy Score?

To support the city of Portland’s ‘Climate Action Plan’ to reduce carbon emissions, all homes listed after January 1, 2018, will need to be scored by a Certified Energy Assessor*. While the law does not require any upgrades or improvements, the scores must be made public during the sale. Failure to comply results in a fine.

A “Home Energy Score” will deliver insight into how efficiently a property uses and conserves energy and what homeowners can expect to pay in utilities. An H.E.S. report also provides upgrade suggestions to improve the score which would save money, help the environment, and make the home more comfortable. Buyers are able to use this information to compare the homes they are considering for purchase. Get more information about the report at

If you are about to sell a home and need a Home energy score, contact us on-line at today, you will be glad you did!



How hot does composite decking get?

Timbertech deck

Timbertech deck with Pecan color decking and a mocha border

We install a lot of composite decking as well as hardwood, cedar, and to a lesser degree, PVC. A common question that comes up is whether or not composite gets too hot in the summer to walk barefoot on. I have come across many customers who told me other contractors told them that it gets too hot, these are usually contractors who prefer a different type of decking of course. So I went ahead and did some research myself to settle the issue and was quite surprised at the results. This research was done at 1:00p.m. in NW Portland, Oregon on 7-21-16 on a full sun day with no clouds. I used a laser thermometer which is a small hand held device that you point at a surface and it immediately gives you a reading of the temperature of that surface.

Here are the results:

The hottest was cedar decking that had a dark red solid color stain on it, it came in at: 157 degrees.

Raw but weathered cedar came in between 142-150 degrees.

Vintage Timbertech PVC decking came in at 140 degrees for a dark walnut color.

I tested several different Trex and Timbertech plastic capped composites and the range was between 136-140 degrees. It was surprising that the composite was actually cooler than cedar and it was also surprising that the range of temperature between the lighter and darker colors was only four degrees. I expected a much larger range of temperature.

Fijian mahogany with a transparent stain came in at 130 degrees and raw mahogany came in at 121 degrees.

So the results are in and plastic capped composites are right in the middle of most commonly used types of decking as far as temperature goes when in direct sun.


The Deck Master’s Wife

If you’ve been lucky enough to have work done by Deck Masters LLC then you know full well the integrity in which Chris operates his business. It will be no surprise when I tell you that he married a woman with a similar work ethic who is (drum roll please) a full time realtor! That woman is me-Laurel Marquand! That’s right, folks. Your quest for someone trustworthy to represent you during one of the most major purchases or sales of your life is finally over. I’ve been in the industry for 3 years on one of the top producing teams in the Portland metro area. I’ve assisted in several hundred transactions of all kinds including first time homebuyers, investors, move-uppers, downsizers, flippers, relocate-ers, east-siders, west-siders, family home owners, condo buyers, multi-family property sellers, new construction projects and older home sales. My clients love me because I’m with them at every step; providing information, making the journey fun, advising during the tough decisions and negotiating strongly on their behalf.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss the market or talk about your real estate ambitions.


Laurel Marquand |
suzanne clark group | licensed broker
971.295.6875 | keller williams portland central | 919 NE 19th Ave Suite 100| PDX OR 97232

Laurel Marquand, rock star Realtor.


Hog panel fencing

"Hog Panel" fencing

“Hog Panel” fencing

I’m writing this blog post on November 18th, 2014. I always forget how nice the “slow” season is. We stay busy enough construction wise, yet I have time to slow down and tend to all the things I’m too busy to address during the hectic summer months. One of those things is writing a post about the very popular “hog panel” fencing we install. We first started installing it several years ago and its popularity has done nothing but increase. In this modern age of social media, sites like Pinterest can cause a picture of a project someone has built become an internet trend as people share the photo with one another via the site. This can be a good thing for the person or company who built the project if they are looking for more work building that type of project. It can also be a bad thing if it attracts people fishing for information which just wastes the company’s time. Pictures of our hog panel fences have apparently become very popular among people looking to have that style of fence installed at their homes. One time a woman had found one of our pictures on-line and decided she would use that photo to explain to a contractor the style she was looking for. She was surprised when she clicked on the photo’s link to discover the contractor who built the fence was right here in Portland, it was us! Obviously we were well suited to install the fence for her since we are THE specialists in this style in the Portland, Oregon metro area. Unfortunately however, a high percentage of the phone calls we get for hog panel fences are not people in Portland looking to hire someone to build one for them. We get a surprising number of people calling us about this style of fence from all over the country, whom we can’t help. Other competitors call us because they can’t figure out where to purchase the heavy duty galvanized wire. Many do-it-yourselfer’s call us trying to figure out not only where to purchase materials but also how to construct it. People think we sell the panels pre-built, we don’t, every thing is built on-site. They sometimes want us to sell them plans for it, we don’t sell plans. I would estimate between e-mail and phone calls we are contacted over 200 times a year and maybe 15% of those people are the right fit for us. We do not sell materials, we are a construction company. We do not offer free advise on how to build our products, that would be counter productive. We also to not give away our trade secrets as to where we get our materials. I’m sorry, but unless you are a Portland metro resident looking for a contractor to install a hog panel fence for you, we cannot be of service. One last note, the style of hog panel fence we install with the heavy 4″ square galvanized metal infill is more expensive than a basic cedar fence, you can expect to pay somewhere in the $32-$40/ ft. range depending on size, options, and demolition needs.

How to find a deck contractor in Portland

Here is a video I recorded in January 2014 for Be all you can be t.v. Check it out if you are interested in tips for hiring a contractor in Oregon.

Visiting the Timbertech and competitor’s headquarters 2013

In the fall of 2012 and the winter of 2013 I was invited for two all expense paid trips to visit two of the biggest composite decking manufacturers in America. One of them was Timbertech who is based in Ohio and the other one I’m not allowed to say because they made me sign a waiver saying I wouldn’t talk about it. That sentence right there pretty much tells you how these companies operate differently. While I have always been a supporter of the Timbertech line of decking, being able to compare the two companies operations was really was an eye opener. The main difference for me was the level of testing that Timbertech does. They seemed to have way more technicians running tests for durability, stain resistance, and fade resistance than the competitor and I could really tell they cared about making a great product. The competitor just didn’t impress me, the atmosphere was different too, like there was a bit of a dark cloud over the operations. It seemed like they were even defensive about some of my questions, it was kinda weird honestly. I asked a question about why they warrant the decking for longer than the fasteners and they said it was an insurance underwriting issue, but the fact remained they weren’t offering the same duration of warranty for the fastener as they were for the decking. It was great to meet the people behind the scenes at Timbertech however and my trip confirmed that I feel confident about using their product. Overall, it was a fun trip and I’m glad I went!

We won the 2012 Super Service award from Angies List!

It has been a great winter for us as far as staying busy and things just keep getting better. We are the 2012 recipients of Angie’s List 2012 Super service award. We received the award for the outstanding service we provide to our customers year in and year out. Less than 5% of the service providers on Angie’s list receive this award so this is a pretty big deal for us, its the second time we have won the award. On top of that, based on our service and quality of work we have moved up from a Bronze level contractor in Timbertech’s approved contractor list up to the Silver level. Besides the recognition, this means we will receive higher priority in terms of leads sent our way from Timbertech. What a great way to start the new year!

We have been featured in Professional Deck Builder magazine!

I was contacted a couple of months back by Professional Deck builder magazine about a Redwood bath house they saw on our web site. They wanted to do a feature article on it and so of course I said yes. I gave them plenty of pictures to choose from and wrote briefly about the project and now you can see it yourself either in print in the Sept/Oct. issue or on-line at their web site:

The article pretty much speaks for itself. Thanks for the recognition Professional Deck Builder Magazine!

Fishing with Conrad Lumber 2012

Well, I just got back from going on the first annual Conrad Lumber Salmon fishing extravaganza 2012. Myself and about six other contractors who purchase materials from Conrad Lumber were invited to stay at the Riverwalk Inn in Astoria and go fishing in the ocean on July 15th along with the guys from Conrad Lumber themselves. I was really excited when they invited me because salmon fishing is one of my favorite things to do and I had never been fishing in Astoria before. As it turned out, the swells were 10′ high and everyone but myself and two other guys got sick. So it was bad news for them but good news for me because I got to watch over about four rods! Unfortunately, all the fish I caught were either too small or natives so I didn’t get a keeper. All together we managed to get five keepers for ten guys. I ended up getting to take home half a salmon, which is in a brine in my refrigerator right now and will be smoked by days end. Another interesting part of my trip was meeting my direct deck building competitors. I liked everyone I met, it was a unique opportunity to swap stories and business information, it was also fun just to get other deck builder’s opinions on what materials they like and dislike. Overall, it was a great experience and I hope I get invited back next year!

Deck services offered

Whether you call us a deck builder, deck contractor, deck company, decking specialist, or just the deck guys, Deck Masters, llc does everything involving decks. Listed below are the various services we offer in relation to decks.

-Deck building: We do demolition of old decks and build new decks. We use all materials for the surface but the most common would be wood decks, cedar decks, composite decks, PVC decks, hardwood decks (Ipe, Mahogany, etc.), and waterproof decks (PVC membrane decks.) All framing is always pressure treated lumber.

-Deck design: Included in your free estimate is a 2-D rendering of the layout of the new deck, unless it is a square or rectangle in which case we will just list the dimensions in the proposal.

-Deck maintenance: We do cleaning, sanding, and staining of both cedar and hardwood decks.

-Deck repair: Sometimes the deck just needs a little TLC and doesn’t need to be replaced. In that case we will do whatever is necessary to bring it back to a safe and attractive condition.

-Railings: Not all decks have railings but there are various options available for decks that do. We do metal railings, wood railings, composite railings, aluminum railings, and stainless steel cable railings.

We use  for our aluminum and stainless steel cable railings, for our composite and PVC decks and railings, and for our galvanized and powder coated iron railings. Feel free to check out our galleries to see examples of past work we have done.

Spring is here and things are heating up.

After coming home from my two month vacation in SE Asia I was pleased to find that not only had Mick been keeping customers happy in my absence, but I had several new bids to attend to right away. The weather hasn’t quite broke yet but people are showing interest in getting new decks and fences built already. This is a great sign for the coming year for Deck Masters, llc. The bulk of bids usually come flowing in once the sun starts shining and the weather warms up but we appear to be getting an early start to the deck building season. If you are reading this and it is early spring I want to remind everyone that the slow season is the best time to call. Sometimes people assume we don’t work in the rain but nothing could be further from the truth. We work year round with most our business coming in the summer months. So calling in the early spring, late fall, or winter is when we are booked out less far and therefore can start sooner on your project. Give us a call today to get a free bid on your outdoor project! Here are a few pictures from this year’s vacation.


Deck Masters, LLC has been awarded the 2010 Super Service award by Angie’s List!

We are proud to announce that we have been awarded the Super Service Award by Angie’s List for 2010 in both the deck builder and fence builder categories! Angie’s list is a consumer review website where members can leave reviews and read about other customer’s experiences with contractors and other service providers. This site is independent, we have no control over the reviews left and only about 5% of companies listed on the site are awarded the Super Service award. So this was a great Christmas present for us to receive this year.  Happy holidays to everyone and may 2011 be even better!

Check out our reviews on other sites.

Most companies will have some positive reviews to put on their web site, but the more important reviews are ones posted to other web sites by third parties. These are the ones you know you can trust because they can’t be filtered by the company being reviewed. With that said, we at Deck Masters, llc would like to invite you to take a look at some other sites where we have reviews. The first is on Google Maps :


Fall is here and it is time to add some dry space to your back yard!

As fall approaches people are thinking about their fences and decks a little less but they are starting to think more about staying dry. We have been seeing an increase in requests for patio covers and under deck drainage systems lately. Patio covers are a pretty obvious choice for staying dry if there is nothing above your deck. But many people are surprised to find out that there are attractive systems that can be installed underneath an upper deck to keep the area below dry as well. We recommend two different systems. One is called Dryspace and is made by composite decking manufacturer Timbertech. The other is called Drysnap. Both work well and it is a matter of both the existing design of the deck and the customer’s preference of appearance as to which system is chosen. Check out the photos below to get an idea of what they look like. You can also look in the project gallery to see more photos of these projects.

Spring is here and the building season is upon us!

With the coming of the sunny weather comes the requests for new decks and fences. We have been staying busy lately but are only about a week and a half booked out. So if you have been thinking about getting a new deck, fence, or just getting repairs done to your existing structures, give us a call. This is a great time to get those outdoor projects completed so you will have them to enjoy all summer long. Also, we have been getting some reviews on Angie’s list lately and so far we have the highest rating you can get! So if you are a member, log in and check it out. People have been very happy with the type of personalized service we offer and have been letting others know. And while decks are the focus of our business, fences actually compromise nearly 50% of the work we do. So maybe we should change our motto to, “Building decks and fences is our passion. Customer service is our priority.” We probably won’t do that, but either way we look forward to serving the Portland Metro area for decades to come. Call or e-mail us today and we will get started on your project right away!

Which fasteners are best for composite decking?

buy provigil online with prescription This article may be geared towards do it your selfers more than someone looking to hire a contractor, but its good to share the knowledge nonetheless.

Before a discussion about composite decking fasteners can be started, we need to cover the characteristics of composite that make it unique. The primary difference to be considered when installing a composite deck is that composite and pure PVC decking expand and contract length wise with the change in temperatures.

This fact needs to be noted both in the design of the deck itself and the choice/ installation of fasteners. For this reason it is also highly recommended that you hire a licensed contractor if you want to have a composite deck built.

This is a picture of a composite deck that was built by an unlicensed contractor, it shows just how bad things can go wrong.

Because of this movement there is a risk that traditional through the face fastening can lead to the screws breaking over time. For this reason, stainless steel fasteners are recommended as they are the strongest type of screw. There are non-stainless screws on the market but they are less strong in the long run and we don’t recommend them.

If you are building a deck yourself, it is better to pre drill the holes for composite, although this isn’t necessary for PVC decking. Pre drilling gives the screw more space which makes it less likely to break and also leaves less mushrooming on the surface of the deck. PVC decking has a different cell structure with more “give” so to speak and just doesn’t require the same technique.

If you are buying screws at a home improvement store or even a local lumber store, we don’t recommend using any screw that has a, “V” shaped head.

These screws are more likely to mushroom the decking and are more of an eye sore than the better looking trim head type screws. These screws have a smaller head that is flat on the bottom and top with rounded edges.

We have used two different company’s composite deck screws, one is Swan Secure’s Dexxter, and the other is made by Splitstop.

We have found the Dexxter stainless steel 3″ screw to be the best bet for composite. We had issues with the Splitstop screws breaking during installation through pre drilled decking, and hardly any problem with the Dexxter. Update 5-15-18: We now prefer the GRK stainless trim head screws, they have the smallest head, so they are least noticeable and they work great.

With all of that said however, the most attractive and best structurally speaking fastener of all is Trex’s Universal hidden fastener. It has a stainless steel screw, a nylon clip, and it’s design allows boards to be removed independently of one another if you ever needed to do a repair. See it here:

Hopefully this has been informative for anyone looking to choose the right fastener for their deck. Here at Deck Masters, llc we recommend you give us a call if you are in the Portland metro area, but if you choose to do it yourself, good luck!

Which Composite decking is the best?

Trex Havana gold decking and Reveal railing with lights.

I am updating this post on 5-15-18:
     I am leaving my previous version of this post intact at the end of this update so you can read my old thoughts if you like. I get a lot of hits on this post and am asked a lot of these same questions regularly when doing bids, but my answers have been changing lately. Since the composite decking industry changes so rapidly, I have to update it every so often to stay current. However, if you see the frequency of how often I write a new blog post, you will know that blogging is not at the top of my to do list 🙂 Anyway, here are my current thoughts in a nutshell: levitra pharmacy prices The best composite decking on the market in our opinion is Trex Transcends. We used to only do Timbertech but now we prefer Trex.

I wrote the following in December 2016, after being frustrated by the changes happening at Timbertech, update to follow afterwards: In 2013 Azek (pvc deck manufacturer) and Timbertech combined to become CPG Building Products. Ever since then it has been a downward spiral in customer support and quality of product, in our opinion. First were the shortages in material availability, then we realized their L.E.D. deck lights are cheap Chinese crap (we refuse to install them now and still get call backs regularly to replace the ones we installed on past projects from years past), then came the quality issues such as messed up textures on boards, colors varying from one batch to another, customer service has dropped off, we have had reports from customers not being treated well when calling in for warranty claims, boards appeared to swell or warp on one job (hopefully it was an isolated issue!), and now for some reason the gaps that are set by the hidden fasteners have shrunk to 1/16″ instead of the 3/16″. The Legacy series is their top of the line brand and it does look fantastic, but its smooth surface shows scratches more than any other line. At this point I would prefer to only sell Trex, but some people just prefer the look of Timbertech so we still install both. As far as the Azek PVC decking, we have never been big fans of PVC in general because it can be squeaky when walked on, it smells bad when installed in the summer, it becomes discolored if you put a rubber mat on it, it looks more fake than plastic capped composite, and to top it off, it is more expensive. With that said, I know some people swear by it and that’s fine, to each his own. We still install it for those who prefer it, its just not our preference.

Updated information 5-15-18: Timbertech has made some major moves to correct the issues the company was having, so it seemed unfair to not post an update here, since that last post was so searing. First off, customer support has done a 180 degree turnaround. We now have a full time local sales rep who is doing a great job. His boss who is based in the Seattle area has also stepped up to address the issues we were having and customer service is now top notch again. We have installed a few more decks with the Azek Vintage series decking and while it is more expensive, it does look great, performs well, and has a 30 year fade and stain warranty. Also, a major change at Timbertech was the replacement of the CEO, he was apparently to blame for some of the bad decisions that were happening there. I think we could chalk 2013-2016 as a merger of two large companies that went through some growing pains.  AZEK and TimberTech merged facilities, sales teams, IT systems, and some much more behind the scenes and lost track of the TimberTech culture and customer focus. The sales rep we used to have in Portland actually quit after the merger because of the changes, but he did eventually come back. Also, they replaced some deck lights for us on a project with new improved lights and so far they seem to work great. So overall, Timbertech seems be addressing its known issues and is back on track as a quality company. Outside of Azek Vintage PVC decking and their Dryspace under deck waterproof system, we still prefer the Trex product line however.

The reason we like Trex more is because we find it to be a more solid, scratch resistant product, the shell on the top is near impossible to separate from the core, and they have great customer service. We love their railings, and their lighting system is a million times better than Timbertech’s. We love the look of the product and it just does what it is supposed to do. If ever there is an issue, Trex jumps on it and fixes it immediately, no problem. The other thing to mention here is that all composite companies have switched to a plastic capped board. That means the core is a mixture of wood flour and plastic but the surface of the board is basically pure plastic that is bonded to the outside of the board to give a colorfast, scratch resistant, and more vibrant, realistic looking product. It is a major improvement over the original composite technology and comes with a 25 year fade and stain warranty in addition to the regular 25 year warranty.

Now, to be completely forthcoming, if you do any research about Trex, you will undoubtedly read about the major product defect they had at their Nevada facility from 2003 to 2006ish. As a company they started off manufacturing in Virginia and then at some point opened a new West coast facility. Unfortunately the new facility made some changes to the composition of the board as far as wood type/ quality control and the end result was a product that started failing. This only happened at the new facility but it happened to everything they made for about three years. They have had to replace many decks, have been the subject of class action lawsuits, and almost went bankrupt. They never had the issue on the east coast though, so they stayed king there and managed to stay afloat. They got a new CEO, dropped the non plastic capped deck board in favor of the capped board and have now emerged on the other side as the industry leader in composite decking again. We never installed any of the recalled boards so we didn’t get burned the way some companies did, maybe that is why were have been willing to trust their brand sooner than some. We have also toured both factories and are convinced they have made the necessary changes to their manufacturing process. They are also well aware that if anything like that were to happen again they would be toast as a company.

The following version of this post is from February 2012:

Wow, when I first wrote this blog back in either ’09 or 10 the products offered by Timbertech were quite different. They have dropped the Valueplank and created the Reliaboard, they now have a plastic capped surface on the Earthwood series, there are several new colors, and there is more to offer in the railing department too. I was just looking at how many clicks I get on this article and I realized I better update it so it has current information. Timbertech is a very innovative company and is constantly coming up with new products. For your information, I am currently updating this in February 2012. Whenever I talk to someone interested in getting a new deck built people usually have a lot of questions about composites. Many people are interested in a long lasting maintenance free deck, but composites are a fairly new technology so there are still questions to be asked.

This article isn’t meant to be a complete guide to all composites, there are too many to list and new ones are coming out all the time. Rather it is just our opinion gained from our experience in installing composite decks and from the research we have done.

After checking out the prices, appearance, track record, and innovation of various composite companies, we at Deck Masters, llc have come to the conclusion that Timbertech is the best overall composite decking manufacturer.

We like their product for a variety of reasons. First, they have a few levels of different price ranges and appearances to their decking products. The entry level is the Reliaboard, it comes in the two colors of Cedar and Grey, cannot be used with their hidden fasteners and runs approximately (to my company specifically, we do get a contractor’s discount FYI) $2.10 a foot as of 2/20/2012. Next up is the Twin Finish board, it comes in the same two colors as well as Redwood but can be used with the hidden fasteners and runs about $2.70 a foot. New for 2013 is the Terrain series. This is a low cost plastic capped board that is actually the same price as the Twin finish. It will probably put the Twin finish series out of commission eventually. Now that you can get a plastic capped deck board for the same cost as the non-capped twin finish, why bother? The way they have made it lower in cost is by removing some material from the bottom of the board, but it is still rated for installation on 16″ joist spacing. The next level is the Earthwood Evolution series, it is the most realistic looking and beautiful composite and comes in Pacific Rosewood, Pacific Walnut, and Pacific Teak. There are intentional color variations in this series that make the boards look like exotic hardwoods and the boards are capped with pure plastic so they are very stain and fade resistant. So much so that the Evolution series is actually the first composite by Timbertech to come with a fade and stain warantee. Plastic capped composites are being made by all the major manufacturers now and it seems to be the way of the future, it is a little more expensive but the added scratch resistance, fade resistance, and stain resistance is well worth it. This series runs about $3.19 a linear foot. Actually, new for 2012 Timbertech has added three new colors to the Evolution series but they are solid colors instead of streaked, so they aren’t imitating exotic hardwoods in appearance. The new colors are slate, brick, and brownstone. They are made in colors to compliment the original colors of redwood, cedar, and grey and can be used in combination for a nice border. The other main category we will cover here is their pure PVC decking which they refer to as their XLM series.

While PVC decking is not a true composite because it has no actual wood fiber content, it is included here because it is a decent product and is often used in place of composite material. Update 8-20-12: We have recently had reports of XLM turning chalky or dark in color and having to be replaced by Timbertech. The good news is that they pay for both new material and sometimes labor, the bad news of course is that this means the product isn’t as stable as we thought. With this information in mind we no longer recommend PVC decking, XLM or any other company. We will still install it if requested, but we think the Earthwood Evolutions line is better.

So why use PVC instead of a composite board?

That’s a good question. In the early days of composite manufacturing there were mistakes that were made and lessons learned. One problem was that boards would “delaminate” or come apart after being used for a few years. This was caused by problems in the manufacturing process such as unequal moisture contents in the wood being used, the wrong types or amounts of plastics being used, or inconsistent ingredients in general.

Fortunately those days seem to be a thing of the past. Some companies went out of business and some had to replace some people’s decks, but now everyone seems to have their manufacturing process down and problems like those are much less likely. There are still occasionally reports of small warranty claims that come in from every company, but no single composite decking company we know of is prone to issues any more than any other company.  One of the responses to those early problems however was to go with an all PVC board so that there is no chance of it coming apart.

PVC decking tends to look more like plastic and less like wood, so that is a drawback for some customers, but it is very long lasting, stain resistant, and scratch resistant. Invariably when presented with this option, people ask me which is better, Earthwood Evolutions or XLM? In terms of durability they are about the same except that you can’t leave a rubber mat on the XLM because it does something weird and the moisture that gets trapped underneath turns it white. The white can be cleaned off though. In terms of appearance, I personally think the Tigerwood and Pecan colors in the Legacy series are the most attractive colors. The legacy series is Timbertech’s most recent line added in 2014. One other thing to note is that Consumer reports came out with a review of the XLM series in 2010 and said it was slippery when wet, so while I have not noticed it to be a problem myself, I want to note that report. Also, Timbertech and Azek are now the same company and are moving towards a standardized line of PVC boards so the difference between the two is going away. Keeping this article up to date is difficult as so much changes every year in the industry in terms of products offered.

Azek PVC vs. Timbertech PVC (Both are now owned by the same company)


Back to our discussion on true composites though, there is still the issue of inconsistent moisture or wood content in the composite deck boards being made. You hear a lot about using recycled materials in composite and how this is good for the environment. We agree that recycling is an important part of the solution for taking care of the planet, but what we choose to make out of the recycled materials is another question altogether.

In other words, given the issues that plagued some composite companies early on, does it really make sense to use recycled plastic in an outdoor building product instead of virgin plastic that is more consistent? We agree with Timbertech and the answer is, in general, no. Timbertech products are made with about 78% virgin plastic because it makes a better more long lasting product. It might feel good to install a recycled material deck, but if it has to be replaced in ten years neither the homeowner nor the Earth benefits from the added materials and resources being used. A deck board gets more abuse than any other part of a home. It gets walked on, rained on, blasted with sun, and even frozen, so this isn’t the best place for using a potentially inconsistent product. Timbertech uses a maximum of 22% recycled plastic both to keep the cost of the product down and to meet green standards. (Updated as of 4-8-13)

This brings up another point as well, what about the wood fibers used in the manufacturing of the boards? Again, many companies advertise and use all recycled wood for their composite decking. This is another potential mistake because the content of the recycled wood is less consistent and therefore more prone to problems. Timbertech gets around this by using a minimum of 70% pure maple with about 30% oak, coming from the end cuts from hardwood furniture manufacturers so that they can monitor exactly the type of wood being used and the moisture content of that wood. This is wood that was headed for the recycling plant anyway, they just get it before it gets co-mingled with everything else. As a result of taking these measures in their manufacturing process, Timbertech is able to offer a 25 year warantee on all its decking products. No one has a longer warranty in the industry and this is one of the reasons we feel confident using their product. One more thing to note is that there are two other categories of decking made by Timbertech, one is the Docksider board which is extra thick for docks and the other is the Floorizon board. We don’t recommend the Floorizon board for use in this area but the Docksider board is great if you need a dock.

The final reason we think Timbertech is the best composite board out there is their hidden fastener system. Most companies require you to use a third party hidden fastener system in order to fasten their boards, Timbertech is the only company that designed their own Concealock fastener to be used exclusively with their own product and it is the best made hands down. It is stainless steel, powder coated brown or black to make it virtually invisible, and installs quickly and securely. In short, Timbertech is a great innovative company that makes some of the best composite and PVC decking on the market.

We hope this has been informative and will help anyone who reads it understand some of the qualities to look for when choosing a composite decking material. Good luck if you are planning a new deck and don’t hesitate to call us if you would like a quote!

Some words about wintertime construction in Portland

Outdoor construction typically goes down in the winter, but this is particularly so in the Portland area. People just don’t think about their decks, fences, and outdoor living areas when they aren’t enjoying them. There is also the issue of people having the misconceived notion that contractors don’t work in the rain, not true. We at Deck Masters, llc work year round whenever there is work to be done. Just yesterday we finished a second story cedar deck and had to work right through the rain until it was completed. We set up a temporary tent for a dry cut station, wear appropriate rain gear, and basically make due. What we want people to understand is that there really is no better time to get work done on your deck, fence, or other outdoor structure than during the winter months. The reason for this is that when there is less demand, prices drop both on materials and labor. Also, when there is less work you get better customer service because we have more time on our hands to give it to you. Invariably every year that first burst of nice weather comes sometime in late spring or early summer and everyone starts calling us at once. It goes from us barely having work in the winter, to getting booked a month or more out. If those same people would have just called in January, Febuary, or March, we would have had almost immediate availability to attend to their needs. So our words about construction in the winter are: Yes, give us a call, we are here to do your building!


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