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Composite Deck Material – Recall!‏

The appropriateness of composite materials for decks has been under debate for a number of years. The composite deck material manufactures were slapped on the wrist a number of years ago for claiming that their products were maintenance free.

Many homeowners who installed composite decking materials are well aware of the problems that can be encountered. Deck boards split, they cup and they bow.

The latest fiasco, in composite deck and railing material, is the recall of 48 million linear feet of composite decking manufactured by Louisiana-Pacific from 2005 to 2008 and sold under a number of names through building supply centers such as Home Depot.

The hazard is stated as: "The recalled decking can prematurely deteriorate and unexpectedly break. Consumers can fall through broken decking and suffer serious injuries."

In fact injuries have been reported.

Consumers with the recalled decking should immediately contact LP for a free inspection. If the decking is affected by premature deterioration, supposedly LP will arrange for a free replacement.

There may be some problems associated with the free replacement. One report on the web suggested that the installation has to be per Louisiana-Pacific installation instructions – one of the installation instructions is that the screws that hold down the decking must be 1" from the end of the board. If boards end over a 2 X joist, which in reality is 1 5/8", at maximum you can only have 13/16" of the end of a board actually sitting on the joist. It is therefore impossible to screw the board ends to the joist and keep screws 1" from the end of the boards!

Contractors who build decks are also going to be affected by the recall, not only will their reputations will be on the line, but they may end up replacing decks at their own expense because of incorrect installation methods.

In the writer’s opinion; stick to real wood lumber for deck construction!