Best Practices to Make Sure Decking Beats the Heat

nov11 Exposure to the extreme heat of summer can wreak havoc on PVC decking.

For example, during the recent heat wave, we delivered white vinyl bead board to a customer. Upon delivery, we discovered the top boards were badly warped. Why? The trim had come encased in plastic and wrapped in a black plastic cover, which resulted in a greenhouse effect.

The intense heat that built up was too much for the boards, causing them to expand and contract to the point of warping.

We, of course, replaced the boards, but it goes to show how heat can compromise decking material if precautions are not taken.

So how can you help decking material stand up to the high temperatures and humidity?

Consider these best installation practices to keep decking material from expanding and contracting when Mother Nature turns up the heat:

  •  Ensure there is adequate ventilation for decking materials (when in storage
    and during transport).
  • Cover decking with a light-colored tarp before installing.
  • Fasten boards as soon as possible after cutting them.
  • Use two screws per joist (no more than 1/2” from ends) when installing.
  • Provide enough clearance beneath the deck to allow for proper air circulation.
  •  Leave a 1/8” to 1/4” gap between decking and walls, posts, or other structures.
  • Fasten the ends of boards securely to the building or to framing.

For more detailed information about maintaining the integrity of decking material before, during, and after installation, always read the manufacturer’s product guide.

Want ‘Superior’ Project Results?


Railing 5000: Superior Plastic Products’ 5000 Series railing provides an effective solution for medium- to large-sized projects. At a slightly larger size than most traditional railing offerings, this classic, lightweight, easy-to-install system adds beauty to any outdoor living area. It is available in two colors and baluster styles.

Railing 7000: Getting ready to do a project on an estate, restaurant, or high-end home? You may benefit from Superior Plastic Products’ 7000 Series railings. Designed for large installation needs, the elegant 7000 Series can be an ideal fit for large commercial applications. It looks impressive on over-sized residential decks and porches. It is available in white, and curved sections are also available.

Code Reminders: Stay Compliant This Spring Building Season

CodeReminders With spring finally here, it’s time to start projects and kick off a new season of building. As you do, remember IRC codes are updated each three years to ensure the safety of structures and the well-being of the people in and around them. Here are a few code reminders to help you make sure your projects pass code the first time around!

  • Handrails should be provided on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flights with four or more risers.
  • Guardrails should be located along open-sided walking surfaces. This includes stairs, ramps, and landings located more than 30 inches (measured vertically) to the floor or at a grade below any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of the open side. Insect screening does not qualify as a guard!

Exceptions: Guards on the open sides of stairs shall have a height not less than 34 inches (864 mm), measured vertically from a line connecting
the leading edges of the treads.

  • Required guardrails should not have openings from the walking surface to the required guard height that would allow passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter.
  • Handrails at open-sided walking surfaces, including stairs, porches, balconies,
    or landings, should not measure less than 34 inches in height and should not exceed 38 inches (as measured vertically above the adjacent walking surface or the line connecting the leading edges of the treads).
  • Plastic composite deck boards, stair treads, guards, and handrails should be installed in accordance with the code and the manufacturer’s instructions.

> The walking surface of treads and landings of stairways should be sloped no steeper than one unit vertical in 48 inches horizontal (2% slope).

Best Practices for Painting WOLF Trimboard

Photo courtesy of WOLF

At Homestead Outdoor Products, we use WOLF trim-board, a cellular PVC trim that’s one of the best on the market. Although it doesn’t require painting for protection, by painting the trim with 100% acrylic latex paint or acrylic latex paint with urethane additive you can suit your customers’ tastes and sense of style. Paint life on trim-board is longer than on wood because it doesn’t hold moisture like wood does.

To do right by your WOLF trim-board when you paint it, keep these tips in mind:MAKE SURE THE SURFACE IS SQUEAKY CLEAN.

Clean the tailboard with a mild detergent and water or denatured alcohol before you start painting. The surface should be clean, dry, and free of:

  • Dirt
  • Loose or peeling paint
  • Chalk
  • Grease
  • Any other surface contaminant


Don’t leave the best results to chance. Follow the paint manufacturer’s preparation
and application directions. They really do know best!


Before you paint, use a mixture of three parts water and two parts bleach to remove any signs of mold or mildew on your trim-board.


If you’ve painted your trim-board a dark color, you must remove that dark hue before applying a lighter-colored paint (which should have an LRV of at least 55 units).


Paint manufacturers will typically require a primer to be used if the homeowner wants the paint warranty.


Realize that paint, depending on outdoor temperatures, humidity, and other factors, may take up to 30 days to fully cure.

Easy, right? Follow these guidelines and you—and your customers—will enjoy the results.

Keep It Simple: Giving You More of What You Want and Need

MoreOfWhatYouWantAndNeed Superior Plastic Products is simplifying some of their product offerings. They’ve removed the tan color in brochures and catalogs so they can focus on the more versatile clay and almond colors. In addition to the color difference, Superior will also be phasing out:

  • Tapered Fluted Columns
  • All 4” & 5” Porch Posts in the following styles: Oxford, Raised Panel, Richmond, and Recessed Panel (except for 6” Recessed Panel). Note that all 4” & 5” posts will remain available only while supplies last.
  • 4000 Series Railing, including all balusters used for this series

For the most up-to-date product literature, stop by Homestead Outdoor Products or call us. Reach out to us if you have questions about these products.

Product Spotlight: Evolve® Poly Material

With Evolve® Poly material, which is available in an array of colors, you can create exterior designs that are both eye-catching and extremely durable. Cut it, rout it, and file it to any shape you need to achieve the look you want. With Evolve Poly material, you get the natural look of wood, without the maintenance hassles

Evolve Poly material comes in:

  • Poly Sheeting—Thin sheet boards of poly material are available in black and
  • Poly Lumber—Large poly boards come in a variety of brilliant colors and are a
    wonderful choice to create attractive accents.

Wondering if Poly material is right for your project? Here are the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide:

Pros of Poly Material

  • It doesn’t rot.
  • It’s machinable.
  • It has great color retention.
  • It comes in a wide variety of profiles.
  • It’s ideal for food preparation areas because it doesn’t harbor bacteria

Cons of Poly Material

  • It expands and contracts with changes in temperature.
  • It tends to create static electricity.

Need more info? We’re just a phone call away!

Structural Posts and Columns You’ve Got Options!

[column-half-2]When a job calls for posts and columns for support, you have more to choose from than you might realize. Depending on the project’s needs, you can select posts according to their load ratings and the styles of their attachments.

Either vinyl or aluminum posts could make a good choice for your projects.[/column-half-2]

Here’s some additional info about each:

[column-half-1]Structural vinyl posts are hollow vinyl shells with aluminum pipe inside to

  • provide strength. These posts require very little maintenance and stay looking good
    for years. To meet a project’s style requirements, you can choose from a variety of
    vinyl column wraps to create the look your customer wants.
  • Aluminum posts are a lightweight option that come in various styles, including
    square (3.25” or 4”) or round (6’’). Typically a lower-cost alternative to other types
    of posts, aluminum posts can help you provide stability while staying within budget.

[column-half-2]They come in two forms:

  • Hollow—Aluminum posts provide exceptional strength on their own.
    Generally, they’re adequate for residential and light commercial use.
  • Structural—Aluminum posts that have an aluminum pipe inside to
    provide strength above and beyond that of a hollow aluminum post are
    an effective solution when a job calls for superior strength.


For more information about which structural posts will best fit your needs, give us a call!

Open House Winter Workshop.

Take Your Capabilities to the Next Level. Join us on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at 905 West Main Street in New Holland for a FREE hot breakfast, followed by four half-hour sessions packed full of product tips that will take your capabilities to the next level.

OpenHouse-03 OpenHouse-04 Representatives will be here to share their knowledge and answer your questions. Gain new info and insight that you can take back to your business.

Coffee and donuts will also be available until noon.

Plus, we’ll have some wonderful door prizes to give away.

Sign up by calling Ken or Merv
at (717) 656-9596.

Details are subject to change.

Three Things to Keep in Mind When Ordering and Installing Custom Railing


Be sure you get the right fit by following these helpful tips:

  1. When ordering, provide us with the diagonal length of the railing and an averaged rise and run of the stair tread. Giving us the overall rise and run will result in the right railing length only if you’ve measured where the posts will be located.
  2. You’ll need universal brackets if the angle of the stairs falls outside the 32–36 degree range. To get a good fit when using them, take conservative angle cuts and try the fit until you reach the correct angle.
  3. When cutting railings to length, cut both rails the same length if posts are plumb.



Vinyl vs. Aluminum Railing



According to Benjamin Kauffman, Regional Sales Manager at Superior Plastic Products, the answer depends on the project and the customer.
“Both offer advantages. Several factors, including specific application, a customer’s style and design preferences, budget, and other considerations, can make one a better choice than the other for a project,” explains Kauffman.

Vinyl Railing Advantages

Vinyl-Rail Price — Costs less than aluminum railing

Low maintenance — Requires little attention other than occasional cleaning

Durability — Withstands long-term weather wear and tear better than aluminum (even in beachfront locations where there’s exposure to saltwater mist)

Traditional appeal — Provides a more authentic wood design than aluminum railing

Aluminum Railing Advantages

Aluminum-Rail Strength — Is stronger in a smaller, easier-to-grasp profile than vinyl railing

Modern appeal — Offers a more contemporary, sleek look

Wide Range of Color Options — Comes in a variety of powder-coated colors that can complement nearly any décor

Rustproof — Won’t rust even if the powder coating gets scratched, making it an ideal replacement for deteriorating wrought iron railing

“While we continue to sell more vinyl railing overall, aluminum railing has gained popularity,” shares Kauffman. “At Superior Plastic Products, both railing types come with a lifetime warranty (20 years). Regardless of which one your customer chooses, you can provide them with long-term value.”
If you’re not sure which railing—vinyl or aluminum—will be the better choice for a project, feel free to reach out to us at Homestead Outdoor Products. We’re always happy to help you decide on the right products to fulfill your customers’ needs.[/column-third-1-2]
[column-third-3]GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT FENCING? WE CAN HELP! [/column-third-3]