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    LESLIE: Perfect project for this time of year: decking. Alright, Anthony in Georgia, how can we help?

    ANTHONY: Hey, I’ve got a question. I’m going to have to redo my deck and rebuild one and I’ve wanted to do it for a while.

    TOM: OK.

    ANTHONY: My question is what are the advantages. I’ve seen the advertisements for Trex decking …

    TOM: Uh-huh.

    ANTHONY: … like at Home Depot; that you get at Home Depot.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    ANTHONY: What advantages does that have over wood as far as price, usability and what can I reasonably expect as far as lifetime over wood if I go with that?

    TOM: Well, composite decking is going to be more costly than wood decking but the tradeoff is a lot less maintenance; almost no maintenance. You just have to clean it from time to time.

    LESLIE: Yeah, instead of having to refinish every, say, five years depending on the product that you put on a wood deck. I mean a wood deck is going to require cleaning every season and then every three to five years you’re going to have to strip it and restain it or re-solid stain it; whatever you’ve got on there. But it does require a lot more maintenance. But both are beautiful so it’s really a preference choice.

    TOM: Do you know if the frame is made of pressure treated lumber?

    ANTHONY: It is.

    TOM: OK. So then what you can do is you can strip off the decking and leave the frame and then just replace the decking with pressure treated lumber. The railing – is the railing system on the deck high enough off grade where you need a railing system?

    ANTHONY: Yeah.

    TOM: OK, then what you can do is also put a composite railing system on it and they can actually – there actually is composite Trex material that matches the decking, too.

    ANTHONY: Oh, really?

    TOM: Well, what you would do for the post, you would use a 4×4 as your post or whatever size and then they make composite sleeves which slip over that post. And then there’s systems that attach to those sleeves to put the railing in between your upright post. And they’re really attractive. And the composites really have changed how they look. There’s a lot more color options available. Some are even made to look like exotics. And some even have a very pronounced grain to really fool the eye and make you think it’s real wood. I mean it is much, much more durable and far less maintenance.

    ANTHONY: Well, cool. That sounds relatively easy to work with (inaudible) (children talking). How long does it usually take to put up something like that?

    TOM: It doesn’t take any longer that it would to build a wood deck and by the sounds of your house …

    LESLIE: Yeah, you’ve got a lot of help over there. (chuckling)

    TOM: … you’re going to have a lot of house – a lot of help and the kids are going to appreciate the fact that it’s very safe on bare feet as well.

    Anthony, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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