I had the opportunity to go out and look at a deck that was damaged by fire today, for the purposes of fixing it. This deck was constructed of a treated wood frame and a composite shell. What is "composite" anyway? It is a combination of recycled wood, dust or fibers, and a plastic or some kind, like PVC. When I thought of "composite", I knew it was a recycled product and normally maintenance free, that's part of the draw. I thought that this product was somewhat superior to wood, it ought to be for the price. After looking at the deck today, I'm not so sure. The fire started on an outside corner and spread to the entire underside of the deck, driven by wind. All of the joists were burnt and the flooring charred. Though the top of the decking wasn't affected, I'm not sure of the structural integrity of it after being burned on the bottom and subjected to intense heat. This got me wondering what the fire rating of composite decking was. After some research most of the decking available locally has a fire rating of "C". That is the same as wood, but unlike wood this has a plastic in it. A plastic fire seems to be a little harder to put out and not to mention the smoke and toxic fumes released when burned. The house the deck is attached to definitely has smoke damage from the burning composite. My hope is that others would not falsely assume that because this product is a "composite" that it is somehow more fire resistant than regular wood. The ease of use and low maintenance make this a good product, but the same care should be taken as with traditional materials and the cost of replacement taken into consideration.
Well the new year is here, a time to start anew. If you are dealing with the same old problems, like drafts or cold spots or high heating bills, it's not to late to add some insulation or other weatherization products to remedy those issues. We haven't seen the coldest part of the season yet and the price of utilites doesn't seem to drop until May. So if you're concerned about the environment or your wallet, give us a call for a Free estimate and recommendations. A warmer, well insulated house definately saves the homeowner money, but also reduces the amount of fuel burned by the utility companies and is therefor better for the environment. Also, protect those pipes! Heat tape or pipe wrap is a good investment and a cheap alternative to replacing busted pipes. Feburary, which isn't that far off, is notorious for extreme cold and frozen/busted pipes. Set up an appointment today!
Remember if you are going to add insulation to your walls and your house was built prior to 1978, consult with a Certified Lead Renovator.
Craig Jones, owner of Property Serv LLC. My goal is to better educate the homeowner and to make Richmond a better place to live.