Recycled plastic and eco-friendly bamboo

by Scott Gibson

SWB Global Solutions says its new composite decking, made from bamboo powder and recycled plastic, outperforms wood-plastic decking and is tougher than many hardwoods. According to the manufacturer, CompDeck is denser, more fade resistant, and more water resistant than wood-plastic composites and cellular PVC. It's also harder than Brazilian cherry and hickory, and more dimensionally stable than teak and black cherry.

SWB touts the ecological advantages of bamboo, a fast-growing member of the grass family that sequesters large amounts of carbon and regenerates quickly without being replanted - and that can be used to remove contaminants from soil.

Available in lengths of 8, 12, 16, and 20 feet, and in thicknesses of 3/4 inch and 1 inch, CompDeck can be nailed or screwed down, or attached to framing with hidden fasteners.

CompDeck comes in several versions, including mold- and fire-resistant decking. Retail prices range from $4 to $4.95 per lineal foot.

Scott Gibson is a writer in East Waterboro, Maine.

SWB Global Solutions, 888/546-6617,

Transcend for Porches

Flooring and railing components

Trex Co. has expanded its Transcend composite decking line to include a package of porch flooring and rail components.

Flooring contains 95 percent recycled material - the same composite of wood flour and recycled polypropylene used in other Trex products - making it eligible for points under the LEED green-rating system.

The 1-inch-by-4 1/4-inch flooring is available in three colors (gray, red, and umber), in lengths of 10, 12, and 16 feet. Railing components include porch posts, post sleeves, balusters, rails, and fascia.

Flooring is designed for use with Trex hidden fasteners and can be installed virtually gap-free, according to the company. Trex offers a 25-year residential fade and stain warranty (10 years for commercial installations) and says the decking meets Wildland Urban Interface fire resistance standards, including the Class B fire resistance required in California.

Pricing was not announced. - S.G.

Trex Co., 800/289-8739,

Tile Decks

Grid underlayment goes over existing framing

Tired of wood or composite decking? How about ceramic tile instead?

GratedeX is a fiber-reinforced plastic grid that can be installed over new or existing deck framing and used as a substrate for ceramic or stone tile. The 1-inch-thick, 48-inch-square grids are rigid enough to prevent tiles from cracking, according to the maker.

GratedeX underlayment panels are screwed to the framing with stainless steel fasteners, then tiles are glued down with Hold-Tite adhesive supplied by the company. Tile is installed without grout, spaced between 1/16 and 1/8 inch apart, which allows water to drain through the deck. The adhesive remains flexible after it cures.

Panels retail for $11.53 per square foot, including fasteners and the adhesive. - S.G.

DexSystems, 888/883-4098,

Glass-Railing Posts

No top rail to interrupt the view

Designed for use with 3/8-inch tempered glass panels and no top rail, Duradek's new Panorama Post offers homeowners a less cluttered look.

The powder-coated aluminum posts can be surface-mounted or attached to the outside of the fascia. A vinyl insert for the aluminum channels lets the glass be angled up to 30 degrees in either direction.

Posts can be manufactured to any height, which means they can be used for tall wind blocks as well as for porch and deck railings.

Said to be maintenance-free, Panorama Posts come with a 20-year warranty and are available in eight standard colors and more than 180 custom colors. Because installations are so customized, call the manufacturer for a price quote. - S.G.

Duradek, 800/338-3568,