What is K~Decking?
It is a uniquely extruded lumber based primarily on farm-grown kenaf fiber
supplemented by polypro-pylene. Kenaf, an annual hibiscus plant, is grown
and processed by Kenaf Industries of South Texas L.P. near Raymondville,
Texas. The kenaf fiber is well known for "high strength; low weight"
in a wide range of industrial applications.
is currently available as a 5/4 x 5 ¼ plank in varying lengths
at your local McCoy's Building Supply Center. Other profiles are being
designed for future availability.
What are the differences
between K~Decking and other Decking Products?
There are several kinds of decking available: Untreated wood (varying
species and densities); wood that has been pressure treated (generally
with an arsenic based compound); vinyl; and extruded composites made from
wood and a variety of polymers. Unlike the competition, K~Decking
is primarily farm grown fiber that is combined with clean polymers to
produce a top quality decking product that won't generate splinters or
possibly harmful chemicals. It has the advantages of low thermal expan-sion/contraction,
natural UV stability, good traction and easy to paint or stain (only if
you want to!). Cleaner, safer, durable and easy to maintain.
Will the color
of K~Decking change?
Currently, the product is offered in its natural greenish gold tint and
will weather to a lighter shade over time. As a natural product, you should
expect some slight variations.
come with a warranty?
Yes, K~Decking has a fully transferable limited
warranty, offering coverage against splintering, splitting, checking,
rot, decay, and termite damage for a full 10 years. The total life expectancy
is yet to be determined. Accelerated weathering tests are ongoing and
to date we know of no environmental fac-tors that harm or cause significant
deterioration to K~Decking.
Where can you purchase
K~Decking and how much does it cost?
K~Decking is available at all McCoy's Building
Supply Centers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as of October 2001. Plans
are to enter other market areas based on demand. You should contact the
Manager of your local McCoy's and ask about availability. The product
lasts much longer than pres-sure-treated lumber without expensive maintenance
or toxic preservatives. Your McCoy's manager will help you calculate cost
comparisons over the life of your deck.
Do I need special
tools to work with K~Decking?
No. Composite lumber with high natural fiber content such as K~Decking
is as easy to work with as wood - in some ways easier. You'll never worry
about splinters or knots. K~Decking can be cut,
drilled, and routed using standard tools. Carbide blades are recommended
for best performance.
What types of fasteners
are recommended for K~Decking?
Do screws need to be pre-drilled?
Most deck fasteners will work well with K~Decking;
however, we recommend that you use high quality screws to take full advantage
of K~Decking's longevity. Pre-drilling helps
with screws, however, pre-drilling is generally not required if you use
self-tapping or deck screws.
planks be used for deck posts or joists?
No. K~Decking is strong and durable. However,
it does not have the same stiffness as wood and is not intended for use
as a load bearing post, joist, or any other primary load-bearing member.
What joist spans
should I use for my deck when using K~Decking?
The joist spacing should be no more than 16" on center for residential
applications, which is the same span generally recommended for wood. When
installing planks on a 45-degree diagonal to the joists, reduce spans
by a minimum of 2 inches. Special applications/loading conditions will
require engineering analysis and/or reduced spans.
require gapping between boards?
Yes, in both directions. While composite decking like K~Decking
will not noticeably shrink or swell due to changes in moisture, changes
in temperature will cause slight expansion/contraction. Therefore, gapping
is required both side-to-side and at the end joints to allow for thermal
expansion/contraction. Rule of Thumb: For end joints for 16' boards and
smaller, allow a minimum of 1/16" gap for every 20ºF of difference
between installation temperature and the hottest temperature expected.
For width to width joints, allow a 3/16" to 1/4" gap to allow
for thermal expansion/contraction, water drainage, and cleaning.
K~Decking be painted or stained?
Yes, but only if you really want to. K~Decking
readily accepts paint or stain though neither is required for protection.
In general, paints or stains that adhere well to wood will adhere as well
or better to K~Decking. Quality latex paints
(water based) or solid color stains are recommended. Stain and paint applications
should be applied according to the manufacturers instructions after K~Decking
has weath-ered for a couple months.
What do I need
to do to care for my K~Decking?
K~Decking does not require stains or sealants
for protection. All you need to do to your K~Decking
is to clean it periodically and keep the cows off of it.
How do you clean
stains on K~Decking?
For stains caused by mold, mildew, berries and leaves, conventional deck
washes containing sodium hypochlorite work well. For rust stains, ground-in
dirt and grime, use cleaners containing phosphoric acid. For grease and
oil stains, we recommend that you scrub with a detergent containing a
degreasing agent as soon as the stain occurs. A light sanding with 80-grit
sandpaper works well in removing grease stains that have been allowed
to set. Cleaning out your expansion gaps with a flat tool should be done
along with any periodic cleaning.
How should K~Decking
composite lumber be handled?
K~Decking weighs more than most wood lumber
and is slightly more flexible. Do not attempt to lift simi-lar volumes
of K~Decking as you might with wood. When storing
K~Decking at the job site for extended periods,
be sure to keep the material flat.
Because the polypropylene in K~Decking encapsulates
the kenaf fiber, moisture absorption is extremely low.
provide good traction?
K~Decking provides a stable, firm, slip-resistant
surface - wet or dry.
What happens to
K~Decking in cold weather?
While cold weather is admittedly a rare occurrence in South Texas, K~Decking
performs well in extreme cold weather environments. However, because K~Decking
contains polypropylene, it will be harder to nail or screw when very cold.
Under such conditions, only pre-drilling is recommended.
What happens to
K~Decking in hot weather?
The span charts and gapping procedures described in the installation are
designed to ensure that K~Decking performs well
in extreme hot weather. When the temperature increases, K~Decking
could ex-pand slightly.
be used in full ground contact? Is treating required?
K~Decking is ideal for ground contact applications
such as landscaping timbers, walkways and in-ground pool surrounds. K~Decking
is highly resistant to rot and insects, and absolutely no treatment with
toxic preservatives is required.
insects damage K~Decking?
K~Decking is highly resistant to damage from
termites, carpenter ants, and marine borers. These in-sects do not find
kenaf attractive in its natural state and the addition of the polypropylene
closes it off for them without the need for toxic chemicals.
What is the fire
rating for K~Decking?
K~Decking like most composite wood/plastic lumber
is rated as a Class C (or Class III) building material. It burns similarly
to wood, but requires a much more intense source of heat.
How does the weight
of K~Decking compare to forest-derived lumber?
Because of its density, K~Decking is comparable
in weight to hardwoods. In comparison to softwoods such as redwood, cedar
and treated southern pine, K~Decking can weigh
up to twice as much.
How does one dispose
of K~Decking decking? Can it be taken to a landfill?
First, we firmly believe that it's unlikely that you will need to remove
your K~Decking decking. However, this is an
important question that must be asked regarding all purchases. The board
doesn't contain any toxic preservatives and certainly can be included
and disposed of with normal construction de-bris. However, in South Texas
you are also able to return the planking (without nails or screws) to
the manufacturer's Lasara facility where they can be ground up and used
in the manufacturer of new planks. Kenaf Industries will work with its
distributors to ensure that such recycling is efficiently organized.