Q. I have a friend that is super upset at their contractor for a deck that was built two years ago. The composite posts, railing and decking materials have felt flimsy and the seams between the ends of the decking are beginning to come apart. She has gotten a hold of the contractor crew that built it and they told her to call the manufacturer for warranty information. She calls the manufacturer and several weeks later a manufacturer representative came out. The representative looked at the problems and indicated that the framework was constructed incorrectly and that the warranty was voided. Apparently, the joist spacing was wider than recommended and proper double joists details and blocking for the railing were not done at the time of construction. The carpenter crew said their labor warranty was only for one year and they constructed the deck to industry standards. My husband and I are thinking of a deck project; should we stay away from said composite material? — Helen
A. A couple of times you mentioned the carpentry crew vs. a construction company. Sometimes homeowners want to hire the crew that maybe is framing the new house in their neighborhood or subcontracted work from a company that did work on their house in the past. Bad idea, these crews rarely have the industry knowledge of new products or lack the interest to pursue proper manufacturer installation requirements. They are used to following the direction of a well-planned project and using their skill set as carpenters.
Construction companies are there to take responsibility for their work that they do based on experience and dedication to their customers. They will most generally take care of any issues.
As far as staying away from composite materials, absolutely not. There are so many great exterior products from decking to window and door materials. Exterior sidings and trims are making tremendous advancements on maintenance free products that last many times longer than the products of just a decade ago.
But with all these good things comes relearning how to install and properly seal. These new decking and siding products are great but also very expensive; so do not take shortcuts on the installation.