Extreme climate decking materials?


We will need to be replacing the existing 2 X 4 deck boards on several smallish decks (6' X 12' +/-). Rain water/freezing/mold/mildew are not a factor, as this is the warmest, sunniest place in the nation. The sun has destroyed the original decking, and several galvanized nails (which usually hold and outlast the wood) are "floating."
I'm a PNWer, so I'm quite familiar with how to handle this in a cool, wet climate, but I'm still learning about the wreckage hot sunshine and low humidity can cause. I'm not sure if pressure, or otherwise treated lumber will gain us any advantage in this situation. Trex and the like are simply too expensive for this application, so we're looking at wood, unless there is a cheaper alternative in synthetic materials.
We're building stucco enclosures to replace the existing wood handrails, to afford some privacy and upgrade the look of these decks. Sealing the deck floors, building scuppers or drain pipe systems is not an option, so the decks must have slats to allow for the rare occasions when it does rain (monsoons). My thinking is that it may be more cost effective, in the long run, to use 2 X 6, 8, or 10 material, which might last longer and be less susceptible to warping/cracking, properly attached, of course.
OK, let me have it.
Thanks
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uncle K wrote:

... There's nothing cheaper, certainly, and it's plenty hot and sunny here as well (SW KS) and my experience w/ Trex, et al. is they don't handle the UV well and they're particularly unsuited owing to the high heat capacity (it's like walking on the hot pizza tomato paste kinda' feeling)...
I don't know what sort of life you got on the existing nor what they used, but I'd stick w/ 6" or less width and probably just go w/ the standard 5/4 treated decking as it's likely as cheap as untreated based on local pricing, anyway. In desert instead of merely dry country, maybe untreated SYP will be cheaper, that you'll have to check on locally.
It's UV that's the killer; UV-blocking penetrating stains are probably best treatment.
$0.02, imo, etc., etc., etc., ...
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I hear that. Trex sure seems like a good idea, but even in the cool PNW*, it doesn't look good after a few years. Kind of like tomato paste with a sprinkle of mildew.
* Tongue in cheek... After a cool, rotten spring, it's going to be nearly 100 here today.

I don't know how long it lasted either. It was shot when we arrived, five years ago. Generally, the quality of off-the-rack lumber in the desert SW is firewood grade, vs. up here where evergreens grow like weeds. Even our lumber quality has degraded, since most of the good stuff gets shipped to Japan.

That makes sense.
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uncle K wrote:

... We, otoh after two weeks of 100F (which was good for wheat harvest) have had a week of more nearly normal or cooler (80s is cool, 90s normal, 100 is beginning to be hot for us). Almost all of the rest of the state is in process of being flooded w/ some having had as much as 15" from the remnants of Alex moisture while we're still begging for more than sprinkles. It's been drizzly today but still on a few tenths accumulation; row crops are definitely in a hurt...
Noticed a little bit ago it was nearly 90 in Olympia where younger daughter is located....she'll be complaining. :)
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Remind her that there's plenty of perfectly cold bodies of water to jump into, if push comes to shove. We're not far from Olympia, in a little micro-climate of our own, probably the most extreme climate in western WA. People who never travel west of the Rockies don't even know what humidity is, because it's so rarely hot and humid at the same time, in the west. Near Yuma, our neighbors aren't likely to see a day under 100 for a few more months. 110 or more is "normal." Fortunately, unlike over-populated, over-irrigated Phoenix, the humidity usually runs at 10-20%, except for those brief moments when the monsoons hit. Everything's dry 1/2 hour later. The local TV weather people get all excited when there's a 30% chance of rain, even though they usually just get "virga" rain, i.e., it evaporates before it ever hits the ground. It kind of "feels" like it's raining, but it isn't. As you know, this has been a goofy weather year throughout the country. Yuma is already way over their annual rainfall average of about 4", but things are back to normal now...
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uncle K wrote:

I would think epoxy coatings/sealers are the best DIY answer.... but then again, I am in that business - paul
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Hey, at least you believe in what you're peddling. FTR, once we make a decision, our Juan-of-all-trades will be doing the work.
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I was totally skeptical of the stuff when it first came out, but that plastic stuff they make out of old milk jugs and whatever is what I'd do. It has been around long enough now that I have seen it age, and it does so very well. Surely better than lumber in the same setting. It's a little spendy, but when you consider you don't have to do it again in five or ten years, that makes it cost less over time. Don't know brand names, perhaps others can chime in on that. The stuff is tough and HEAVY. Only downside I notice is that it holds heat pretty good, making walking on it with bare feet an adventure.
They made a patio out of it at a Las Vegas Home Builder's convention six or eight years ago. When it came time to take it apart, I tried to lift a section, and it made the back wheels of my 3500# capacity forklift come off the ground. Everyone was saying, "Hey, come see this!" One of the account execs got it all for free.
Steve
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Steve B wrote: ...

So you're going to recommend that for Phoenix or similar area...
As noted above, it's bad enough here in SW KS where it's "only" mid-90s on average w/ max'es of 105 on occasion w/ the records at 110-115 and unless it's shaded 100% of day it'll be totally impossible to use until 2AM.
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I remain skeptical of the stuff. They applied it on an expensive new, er, mansion, just up the hill from us (in white, yet... duh). 5 years down the road, it doesn't look so good. In blast furnace sunshine and extremely low humidity, I would expect it to get chalky, and maybe even begin to chafe away. In any case, these decks are sort of a PITA, and really don't get much use, but they're there, so we have to find a (preferably painless) solution. We simply couldn't justify the expense of Trex, in this case.
The one positive thing about synthetics is that they might work like Teflon. The eggs wouldn't get stuck to it if you chose to fry them out on the deck, instead of a dirtying a pan.
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