PVC With a Twist
Multicolored for a more natural look
Gossen’s newest cellular PVC decking, WeatherReady Passport,
has varying shades of color that help replicate the look of real
wood grain, the company says.
Cellular PVC is infused with tiny air bubbles as it is extruded,
making the decking relatively light (11/2 pounds per running foot).
It has working characteristics similar to wood; however, it
doesn’t contain wood fiber, which could absorb water or
support the growth of mold.
The decking, available in London grey or Tuscan cherry, has
long-lasting color protection, is resistant to scratches and
stains, and won’t be attacked by insects, according to the
company. It has a Class A fire rating and a lifetime
Passport comes either factory-grooved to accept hidden fasteners or
in a square-edged version. No pre-drilling for fasteners is
required, the company says, even close to the edge of a
The planks are 1 inch thick and 51/2 inches wide and can be
installed on 16-inch-on-center framing. They’re available in
lengths of 12 feet, 16 feet, and 20 feet. Color-matched fascia
boards are 5/8 inch thick, in widths of 71/4 inches, 91/4 inches,
and 111/4 inches. Passport retails for about $3.25 to $3.50 per
Scott Gibson is a writer in East Waterboro,
Gossen Corp., 800/558-8984, gossencorp.com.
Way cool exterior finish
Whey, a by-product of making cheese, isn’t just something for
Little Miss Muffet to eat with her curds. It’s also a main
ingredient in the floor and furniture finishes produced by Vermont
Natural Coatings, which is now expanding its product line to
include an exterior coating. The company’s interior finishes
were named a Top 10 green building product in 2008 by
BuildingGreen and are listed in the GreenSpec
Greg Hebert, business manager of the Vermont-based company, says
the exterior coating will be ready for sale later this spring. It
will be suitable for vertical and horizontal surfaces, including
decks. The clear finish should last three years outdoors, possibly
longer, says Hebert, before it needs recoating.
Developed at the University of Vermont, the product’s
“PolyWhey” formulation is tougher than other
water-based finishes and contains no toxic binders, says Hebert.
It’s safe to handle and has 25 percent fewer volatile organic
compounds (less than 180 grams per liter) than conventional
finishes, for improved air quality.
Pricing for the exterior coating was yet to be determined at the
time this article was written, but Hebert says it is a
“premium” product that will cost somewhat more than
Vermont Natural Coatings distributes products in New England and
the Mid-Atlantic region as well as California, Colorado, and other
states where interest in green building products has been high.
Vermont Natural Coatings, 802/472-8700, vermontnaturalcoatings.com.
Terratec combines recycled plastic and rice hulls
Mixing wood flour with recycled or virgin plastic is a familiar
recipe for composite decking. Yet McFarland Cascade has opted to
blend rice hulls, rather than wood, with recycled high-density
polyethylene to create Terratec Naturals, its new line of
Rice hulls, unlike wood, contain only trace amounts of digestible
nutrients and have a high silica content, which McFarland Cascade
says makes Terratec more resistant to moisture, mold, stains, and
insects than conventional composites, without the introduction of
chemical biocides or preservatives.
Most composite and wood decking fades over time, but the company
says Terratec’s rice formulation makes it more UV tolerant
than other composites. Colors do fade to a lighter shade but
won’t turn gray.
Terratec is available in two styles: a traditional 1x6 plank
that’s screwed through the face and a 1x6
“architectural” version that’s installed with
hidden clips. Both styles come in 12-foot, 16-foot, and 20-foot
lengths in three colors — cedar, redwood, and slate gray.
Also available are fascia boards, railing components, and stair
kits. The company recommends using its Super Deck Screw, a
self-tapping fastener that pulls the deck boards tight to the
framing and creates a flush countersink. Screws are available in
colors to match the decking.
Terratec retails for about $2.50 a lineal foot. —
McFarland Cascade, 800/426-8430, mcfarlandcascade.com.