The decking market has seen a flurry of activity of late, particularly in the realm of wood alternatives, as manufacturers continue to introduce new products and add technological enhancements to existing ones. That these new products are appearing shouldn’t come as a surprise: Consumer demand is strong, and deck builders are busy. “For most of our members, business volume is back to where it was five years ago,” says Michael Beaudry, executive VP at the North American Deck and Railing Association. 

While decking has seen healthy growth, there has been a veritable explosion in manufactured railing products. Manufactured railings go together more easily and have more predictable costs and performance characteristics than site-built wood railings. 

But the biggest growth driver for both categories is the variety of good-looking products. As decks evolve into outdoor living spaces, homeowners are using railings to add custom touches. And as decking and railing choices multiply, so does the number of available accessories. We’ve rounded up some of the standout new products for everything outdoors.

Safe under Fire

Two high-performance decking options for Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) areas where there’s a high risk for wildfires are now available from Fiberon. Paramount PVC Decking and ProTect Advantage FR capped WPC decking both meet California code requirements for WUI areas, which is based on the International Residential Code and requires a Class C or better Flame Spread Index. The capped product uses a capstock that’s formulated to be more fire resistant than the capstock used on standard decking products. Both products are offered in square and grooved profiles. 

Built to Last

Gossen Corp. is making a strong statement about its products with a new 30-year fade and stain limited warranty that applies to all of the company’s deck and porch lines, including Reàl, Passport, Trailways, and Trailways|SV. The transferable warranty protects homeowners against fading, staining, cracking, peeling, flaking, rotting, delamination, splitting, splintering, and structural damage from termites. 

Let the Sun Shine in

Trex has introduced three new Pergola Shade Structures, named Air, Balance, and Vision, along with a selection of finish colors—Mango, FireFly, Inferno, Lagoon, and Palm. They’re manufactured and sold by Structureworks Fabrication under a trademark licensing agreement with Trex. The structures are made of cellular PVC with structural aluminum cores and stainless steel hardware. The Air and Balance models come with a motorized canopy that lets the user choose between shade and sun, while the Vision model offers a customizable frame and canopy. 

On the Surface

Atlantis Rail has introduced a new off-the-shelf Spectrum post that attaches to the surface of the deck. Previously, fascia-mounted posts were the only type the company offered. The new surface-mounted posts can be used with Atlantis’ RailEasy and HandiSwage Spectrum systems. Posts are offered in black and metallic silver and straight and stair post designs. Straight posts are available in 36-inch and 42-inch heights. 

Need for Speed

With Senco’s new SHD150XP pneumatic gun, deck builders can install Senco Mantis brand hidden deck clips up to 80% faster than with traditional methods, the firm says. Fasteners are loaded at the rear of the magazine, and clips are inserted into a patented EZ Slide at the front of the tool. A magnet holds the clip in the slide while the installer pushes it into place and then pulls the trigger to drive the fastener. The fasteners are driven like standard collated nails but can be backed out like a screw. Mantis clips come in three sizes; part of the clip slides under the deck board, slightly elevating it off the joist so the decking and framing can dry more easily. 

Perfect Harmony

UltraLox brought its Interlocking railing machine to the United States as a way for large-volume deck builders and building product distributors to quickly produce and install custom-length, powder-coated aluminum railings. The company has now announced its new Harmony Railing deck system, which offers easy-to-install railing kits that can be customized for each application. The product line includes powder-coated aluminum posts, railings, and gates—available in black, bronze, or white finishes—plus specialty hardware such as mounting kits and cap lights, and glass strip rails and tempered glass panels. All products are designed to be durable and low-maintenance, with a 15-year warranty. 

Strong Connections

Simpson Strong-Tie has designed a code-compliant solution for attaching wood guardrail posts that’s being offered as a high-strength alternative to through-bolting and lag screws. The Strong Drive SDWS Timber screw is a structural screw that installs without pre-drilling in most applications and has been tested in accordance with ICC-ES AC273 (Acceptance Criteria for Handrails and Guards). Strong Drive SDWS Timber screws are available in six lengths ranging from 3 inches to 10 inches. The low-profile head design provides a clean look after installation, and the screw’s Double-Barrier coating provides corrosion resistance that’s equivalent to hot-dip galvanization. 

New Allure
AlluraUSA, a subsidiary of Plycem, is introducing a decking made of a seemingly unlikely material: fiber cement. According to the company’s director of product development, the fiber cement is mixed with plastic fibers and other additives to make it pliable. The boards, which are 1 inch thick and 6 inches wide, will span 16 inches on center with a 406-pound load rating. Although the product is new to the United States, it has been sold in Costa Rica (where it’s manufactured) for five years. Advantages include a Class-A fire rating and the fact that it doesn’t heat up in the sun like PVC or wood fiber composites. Boards weigh 3.1 pounds per linear foot (compared to 2.5 for other composites) and come with square or grooved edges.