Stronger Yet Lighter
The substrate in Deckorators’ Vault decking is made with a proprietary technology called Eovations that the manufacturer claims has the industry’s best strength-to-weight ratio. Weight per unit of volume is about that of PVC decking—35% less than standard composites—but it’s stiffer and stronger, according to the company. The proprietary extrusion/drawing process creates a molecularly-oriented internal structure that actually has a grain and, like wood, is stronger across than parallel to the grain. The boards are capped with a polypropylene capstock that comes in two colors with a fairly flat sheen. Although the Vault decking is the first product, Deckorators says the Eovations technology can also be used to make structural members and hopes to eventually license it to other manufacturers.
Fiberon has introduced two high-performance decking options for Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) areas where there’s a high risk for wildfires. Paramount PVC Decking and ProTect Advantage FR capped WPC decking both meet California code requirements for WUI areas, which is based on the International Residential Code and requires a Class C or better Flame Spread Index. The capped product uses a capstock that’s formulated to be more fire resistant than the capstock used on standard decking products. Both products are available in square and grooved profiles.
Fiber Cement Decking
AlluraUSA, a subsidiary of Plycem, is introducing a fiber cement decking. It may sound unlikely, but according to the company’s director of product development, the fiber cement is mixed with plastic fibers and other additives to make it pliable. The boards, which are 1 inch thick and 6 inches wide, will span 16 inches on center with a 406 pound load rating. Although the product is new to the U.S., it has been sold in Costa Rica (where it’s manufactured) for five years. Advantages include a Class-A fire rating and the fact that it doesn’t heat up in the sun like PVC or wood fiber composites. Boards weigh 3.1 pounds/linear foot (compared to 2.5 for other composites) and come with square or grooved edges.
Gossen Corp. is making a strong statement about its products with a new 30-year fade and stain limited warranty that applies to all of the company’s deck and porch lines, including Reàl, Passport, Trailways and Trailways|SV. The transferable warranty protects homeowners against fading, staining, cracking, peeling, flaking, rotting, delamination, splitting, splintering, and structural damage from termites.
Railings and Accessories
Faux Wrought Iron
Although CPG Building Products’ Impression rail for its Azek and TimberTech brands looks like classic wrought iron, it is actually powder-coated aluminum. That means there’s no welding required, as with real iron rail. It can be ordered as a stand-alone rail or with Azek or TimberTech composite top rails and post sleeves. Posts come in black and in 36- and 42-inch heights; rail kits are sold in lengths of 6, 8, and 10 feet.
Sleek and Simple
Fortress Railing has introduced a vertical railing panel system that is the first of its kind in the cable railing industry, according to the manufacturer. The system calls for fewer parts and pieces and allows for quick installation. The stainless steel cables come pre-strung onto the system’s top and bottom rails so installers can use a socket wrench to quickly tighten down the hex nuts. Customers can choose from wood, vinyl, composite, or metal posts and a variety of rail options to finish the sleek look.
UltraLox brought its railing machine to the United States (after six years in Canada) as a way for distributors to quickly supply custom-length powder-coated aluminum railings to their customers. The company has now announced its new Harmony stock railing size program, which offers stock lengths of 6 feet and 8 feet. Advantages for dealers include cheaper shipping, the ability to stock more in less space—all of the parts for 10,000 linear feet of railing can be stored in 2,500 square feet—and quick assembly. Balusters are ½ inch by ¾ inch. Three railing profiles are available. The ideal customer is a distributor serving local lumberyards or commercial projects.
New Surface Mount Post
Atlantis Rail has a new off-the-shelf Spectrum post that attaches to the surface of the deck. Previously, fascia-mounted posts were the only type the company offered. The new surface-mounted posts can be used with the company’s RailEasy and HandiSwage Spectrum systems. Posts are offered in black and metallic silver and straight and stair post designs. Straight posts are available in 36-inch and 42-inch heights.
Trex has introduced three new Pergola Shade Structures, named Air, Balance, and Vision, along with a selection of finish colors—Mango, FireFly, Inferno, Lagoon, and Palm. They’re manufactured and sold by Structureworks Fabrication under a trademark licensing agreement with Trex. The structures are made of cellular PVC with structural aluminum cores and stainless steel hardware. The Air and Balance models come with a motorized canopy that lets the user choose between shade and sun, while the Vision offers a customizable frame and canopy.
With SENCO’s new SHD150XP pneumatic gun, deck builders can install SENCO Mantis brand hidden deck clips up to 80% faster than with traditional methods. Fasteners are loaded at the rear of the magazine, like any nail gun, and clips inserted one at a time into a patented EZ Slide at the front of the tool. A magnet holds the clip in the slide while the installer pushes it into place then pulls the trigger to drive the fastener. The fasteners are driven like standard collated nails but can be backed out like a screw. The Mantis clips come in three different sizes that work with most decking products. Part of the clip slides under the deck board, slightly elevating it off the joist so the decking and framing can dry more easily.
Code-Compliant Wood Screws
Simpson Strong-Tie has designed a code-compliant solution for attaching wood guardrail posts. The Strong Drive SDWS Timber screw is a structural screw that installs without pre-drilling and has been tested in accordance with ICC-ES AC273 (Acceptance Criteria for Handrails and Guards, approved February 2008). It’s being offered as a high-strength alternative to through-bolting and lag screws. The screw’s Double-Barrier coating provides corrosion resistance that’s equivalent to hot-dip galvanization.
Grabber Construction Products’ SuperDrive 75G5 fastening tool, designed for installing deck clips, effectively automates clip installation along joists. Available in a kit that includes the SuperDrive 75G5, a Rocker 4000 rpm screw gun, and feed track, the tool helps drive screws at the ideal angle and depth while offering a compact design. Installers can also opt for the SuperDrive extension piece to allow use from a standing position and can configure the tool for top fastening. Each collated strip holds 50 screws.