Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

PVC Decking – A Warning! – And a cure for White Staining!

  Well, we have now had our new deck for a couple weeks and had our first scare during the first week.  In an effort to protect our deck from dripping grease from the grill, we purchased a nice protective mat to lay down underneath the grill.

   With what turned out to be luck on our side in the long run, we had a couple days of rain the first week.  Having accumulated large amounts of water, we picked up the new mat to dry it out.  What we found underneath drew heartache and fear at what the cost was going to be.  For everywhere under the map the deck had turn white!  We first thought is was perhaps minerals or reaction from the water being heated in the Sun later in the day.  We tried cleaning the deck to no avail.  The white film remainded regardless of what we did.

   Consulting the TimberTech web site, when drilling down to the XLM information page, what I found at the bottom of the page was information which struck a note of fear.  The information warned of the danger of placing a Rubber based mat ontop of PVC decking due to chemical interation between rubber and PVC.  This has nothing to dowith TimberTech, but rather to do with chemical properties of rubber and PVC, regardless of the product.  The two items just do not play well together.

   So now I knew what caused the problem, but I had no clue if anything could be done about it.  So I did what any red blooded American would do, I wrote the company a “HELP” letter.  Using the company web site, I sent a message with what had happened and a request for if there was anything that could be done to repair the damage, hoping that replacement was not the answer. 

   Replacement would not have made us very happy as we had purchased a really nice big rubber backed mat which ended up whitening over six boards which are about 20 foot long.  Estimated replacement cost would have been around $300!

    The company wrote back the very next day with instructions which were somewhat surprising and which I was really hoping would work.  What the compay said to do was:

            1.) Get a heat gun (I used the wife’s hair dyer)

           2.) Heat up the surface of the deck, taking care to keep moving the heat gun around to prevent overheating, to the point where the white coloring fades and disappears from the surface of the deck.

     Though I wondered how this would work, I figured I had nothing to loose?  So, taking a long extension cord and hairdryer in hand, I proceeded to entertain my neighbor by sitting out on the deck, hairdrying my deck.  At first nothing seemed to happen, but then as the deck surface warmed up, suddenly the white film faded and disappeared before my eyes!  Though the hairdryer was slower than a heat gun it did the trick.

   So for the last week we have once again been able to enjoy the beauty of our new deck.  Now I need to figure out a better way to stop any grease dropping from the grill which seems to happen during slow cooking from the back of the lid.  But, regardless, I have learned a lessen and a little chemistry along the way.


July 3, 2009 Posted by | Household Improvements, Remodeling | , , | Leave a comment

New deck in all it’s glory!

 After a few weeks the old deck is finially gone and has been replaced by the shiny new deck. 

As mentioned earlier, we chose not to go with the composite, but rather to upgrade to the full PVC, as it has a much better history of being a really maintenance free material.  The cost was about another 3 to 4% added onto the cost of the project, but considering the cost savings of not having to buy deck-wash, we will recoup the cost pretty quickly.  Overall, we are very happy with the TimberTec product for now.  Check back in another 10-20 years and we will let you know if we have changed our minds…..



June 23, 2009 Posted by | Household Improvements | , , , | Leave a comment

“London Bridge is Falling Down”, or “Year of the Deck”

    Some of you may remember last year I had a few days entries regarding the replacement of the back yard fence.  Ok, it was really over a couple weeks.  Oh, you actually read it?  Well is was under two months I think?

   Anyway, with the fun of removing a full back yard worth of wooden fence, this is the year of the “Deck”!  Let me begin with a little regressing back to about 1976 when we bought our very first house up in the rural backwoods of Wisconsin.  At that time we were able to buy a two bedroom ranch with a third room addition and a full basement for the outrageous price of $21,000.   Now keep in mind this was a real house with plumbing, running water (both hot and cold), a full bathroom with tub,  kitchen and a single car attached garage.  And “yes”, it did have a real roof and both a front and back yard.

   So what does this have to do with a deck you may ask?  Well, as you may have guessed, that with just a few extra options, our deck would have cost about the same as our 1970’s house did.  Bottom line, we have just invested an addtional 10% of total value into our 30 something home.  And for this investment we get no new running water, no new plumbing, and no new bathroom or kitchen’s. 

   So why replace the old deck you may ask?  Well, the main reason was safety.  Though we had a few boards here and there that had broken loose on the ends, I have come to realize the there was a little tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”, playing in the background.  Luckily we decided to replace the deck before the last line of the song was played.  Having four different contractors express, “Your deck is in REALLY BAD condition”, was somewhat of a suprise, as I thought is was just “really poor” in condition!

   Another couple days and the new deck should be in place.  In the next entry, I will take a little time to explain what type of deck we chose and why.  There are many questions you really needed to ask.  Such as, type (wood, composite, PVC), style, colors, and the all important issue of Size.  After all, you don’t just want to have the same thing do you?

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Household Improvements | , , , | Leave a comment