Q I have a customer who wants to top off her new composite deck with a curved bench seat. I am familiar with the heat-forming process and have no problem making the heating tube, but can the same boards used for the decking be used for the bench?

A Jason Russell, owner of Dr. Decks in Tacoma, Wash., responds: Unless you want to end up with an expensive pile of misshapen scrap boards, I wouldn’t bother trying to heat-bend any composite product—especially capped composites. Of all the composite and plastic decking that I’ve tried to bend with heat, I’ve had the best success with cellular PVC decking. I haven’t tried every PVC product, but Azek has consistently outperformed the ones that I have tried, with fewer blemishes, tighter curves, and a lower bending temperature, which seems to be safer for the board. Of course, the warranty is void after manipulation, but that hasn’t seemed to deter my customers.