| There are all kinds of building products that don't break down.
| Around here, NJ, unless they are toxic, they are no harder or
| easier to dispose of than wood. They all go in the same landfill.
| I don't see the arsenic comparison at all, it's not toxic.
No one really thought arsenic PT wood was a problem, either,
but VT banned it from disposal. Then it was banned altogether.
A similar thing could happen with Trex, not because it's toxic but
because it's so environmentally unsound and that means expense.
As regulations get more restrictive about landfills and costs of
rubbish disposal increase, there could be added fees for things
like Trex. Possibly not, but it's not farfetched. The whole idea
of Trex never made much sense in the first place. Trex started
out as very expensive plastic wood that was allegedly "green"
because it recycles milk bottles. It's actually as problematic as
plastic bags for landfill. And it's ugly. And it's expensive.
| Many would say you could apply the "what were they thinking" line
| to IPE today. It comes from rainforests that are being cut down
| and damaging the environment today.
Yes, that's a good point, though I think most exotic
woods now are coming from farms. The whole trend
toward exotics doesn't make a lot of sense to me, in
any case. I know someone who put purpleheart on his
deck and loved it. It was gorgeous. But he had to
strip it every Spring and then put a thick sealer coat
on it. Finally he gave up. That was 10-15 years ago.
Now it's punky in spots, with barn red stain on it. It got
too ugly and dark to use anything but solid color deck
stain. Exotics are generally similar that way: They're very
dense and resinous. They hold up well to weather but
don't take stain well because they're not porous. Then
they end up ugly, dirty gray after the first couple of years
I usually use mahogany or fir 1x4 for a nice look, with
a solid or wood-tone stain. My own deck is 4/4 x 6 PT.
It's not as elegant as 1x4, but it will last indefinitely. I
just have to recoat the solid color stain every 2-3 years.
It's all a matter of personal preference and taste, but
we all tend to follow trends without giving it much thought.
And these days trends change so fast it's hard to know
the longterm results. So I figured it's worth raising the issues
that are not in support of the current trends.
Apropos of that, I have a job next week for a condo
development that was built in 1983. They used MDO
panels trimmed with pine for a "PoMo" look on the front
of the building, to break up the siding with more interesting
design elements. Sort of pseudo-Tudor. That's become a
common trend. I see high-end houses now using a similar
technique to make the exterior look more interesting.
I've already replaced much of the pine on these condos
twice, and some of the MDO has been replaced. The water
collects on the pine board edges and then eventually gets in.
People think MDO is impervious because the surface is
plasticized, but it's not at all durable with water exposure,
and with modern water-based paints used on it, there's no
protection against moisture, especially on horizontal edges.
Similar design elements done 100 years ago with solid fir
or other durable wood, and finished with oil-based paint, are
still holding up.