Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about our products. Read on to learn more about our products' characteristics, installation and maintenance.

Decking & Railing

Should I use special tools to install the Cable Railing?

We recommend a new 5/8" chrome-plated socket to protect the fitting from raw steel. Avoid installing with rusty tools, as they leave rust deposits on the surface of the fittings almost immediately. After installation, it is critical to clean the system completely with a stainless cleaner and a soft clean rag in order to clear the surface from carbon deposits.

How do I maintain my Cable Railing?

Use warm water and mild soap when cleaning. Avoid harsh solutions or abrasive cleaning materials, including but not limited to: alkaline or acidic cleaners or solutions containing trisodium phosphate, phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, fluorides or similar compounds. Avoid using power-cleaning tools. Clean the fittings and cable after installation and every 6 months thereafter.

How do I maintain my aluminum railing system?

We recommend checking and cleaning your aluminum railing once per year in normal environments. In more hazardous environments or if heavy soiling occurs, more regular cleaning may be required. To clean, wash the railing with a solution of warm water and mild detergent and rinse to remove all residues. The railing should be cleaned using a soft cloth or sponge. Test the cleaner in a small, inconspicuous area prior to applying it to the entire railing system to ensure that no color change or damage will occur.

How do I clean my CXT railing?

Periodic washing with soap/detergent and water will help remove surface dirt. It is always a good idea to test the cleaner in a small, inconspicuous area prior to applying it to the entire railing system. A pressure washing should not be used to "blast" soils from the railing surface. A pressure washer with a fan-tipped nozzle should be used only to lightly wet or rinse railing surface.

What type of wood is used to make the tropical hardwood cap rail?

The tropical hardwood cap rail is made of Sapele, a reddish-brown tropical hardwood that resembles mahogany in appearance, with strength similar to oak. It is commonly used for hardwood flooring, furniture and doors.

How do I maintain my tropical hardwood cap rail after its been installed?

We recommend recoating your tropical hardwood cap rail with an oil stain twice per year to maintain the rail's color and finish. Any oil-based exterior wood stain of mahogany color can be used. If the rail is not properly maintained, it may dry and bleach out over time.

What are Deckorators® composite decking and railing made of?

Deckorators composite decking and CXT railing are made of wood and plastic, and is co-extruded with a durable polyethylene top layer for ultralow-maintenance performance.

Is there a compatible hidden fastener system?

Our Deckorators slotted decking features the Stowaway hidden fastener which eliminates pre-drilling and automatically spaces the deck boards with the proper gap, making installation quick and easy. If solid decking is preferred, a biscuit joiner saw can be used to create the slots required for the Stowaway fastener to fit into. There are several other brands of hidden fastener systems available that work well with Deckorators. Check with the fastener manufacturer to ensure suitability for your application.

What is the benefit of using Deckorators slotted decking instead of standard composite decking?

Deckorators slotted decking comes with a pre machined 5/32-inch groove along the sides of the board to accommodate the Stowaway or Equator hidden fastener. These hidden fasteners are designed to properly space the boards at 1/4" and allow for the expansion and contraction on the length and width that naturally occurs on composites. The screws provided with the hidden fasteners have black painted heads to greatly reduce the potential glare caused by the sun, keeping the fasteners truly hidden.

Is Deckorators decking fire rated?

Yes, Deckorators decking carries a Class C fire rating, which is the same class as natural wood.

Does Deckorators composite decking and CXT railing fade?

Independent test research has determined that Deckorators decking and CXT Railing will experience virtually no fading, as it is co-extruded with a durable outer shell.

Will Deckorators decking and CXT railing rot, splinter or decay like wood?

No. Deckorators decking and CXT railing has been tested under accelerated weather conditions and is weather resistant. Deckorators employs a time tested technology, which provides superior protection against UV degradation and water absorption.

Is your decking slip resistant?

There have been changes in the last few years regarding the interpretation of the values generated during slip testing. ASTM Committee F13 creates standards for pedestrian safety and footwear.

ASTM F13 currently has a working task group which is attempting to derive a system for determining when a surface can safely be called slip resistant. As of the last meeting, which was held in January, the task group has suggested that a slip resistant surface can be defined by using the values obtained during the validation process while testing reference surface C plus three standard deviations from the mean value generated for reference surface C. In validation studies for the Excel VIT, the value would be 0.21. The value for the Mark lll-B would be 0.38.

You can view our results here (pdf - 1.28 MB).

How do varying weather cycles affect Deckorators decking and railing during installation?

Deckorators performs well in varying weather conditions. During installation, it will contract only slightly in cold weather. In hot weather it expands. We recommend that the material is on the job site 48 hours prior to installation to acclimate. Follow the installation instructions spacing guidelines to ensure proper room for expansion and contraction.

What is the difference between Deckorators composite decking and CXT railing and wood?

Deckorators decking and CXT railing combine the look of wood with the durability of plastic. Unlike wood decks, which require continuous maintenance, there is no need to apply weather protectants or water seal products to Deckorators decking and railing.

Why is composite decking more expensive than treated wood?

Composite decking is more expensive to manufacture. Over time, however, the maintenance, repair and/or replacement costs associated with wood outweigh the initial investment in Deckorators deck products.

Where can I buy Deckorators decking and railing and how much do they cost?

The complete Deckorators line is available at retail lumberyards, home centers and through distributors. For more information, visit our Where to Buy page or call 800.332.5724. It is competitively priced in comparison to premium grades of wood decking and costs less than other high-end composite decking materials.

Do I need special tools to install Deckorators decking and CXT railing?

Conventional tools for cutting, drilling and nailing can be used with Deckorators Decking. We recommend using a sharp, carbide-tipped saw blade for cutting. For your safety, remember to wear protective clothing and safety glasses.

Can you recommend someone to install my Deckorators decking and CXT railing?

Consider using one of our experienced Certified Pros. Only the most professional, reliable, and skilled building professionals become official Deckorators Certified Pros. By selecting a Deckorators Certified Pro you can expect to receive the highest standards of service and installation of your Deckorators products.

Do you recommend pre-drilling and countersinking when fastening Deckorators decking?

Although not required, pre-drilling and countersinking prior to driving screws achieve the best results for ease of fastening and appearance of the finished project. Because wood decking is not as dense as Deckorators, screws driven into wood decking crush the wood fiber and self countersink. Screws driven into Deckorators displace the material, causing it to mushroom around the screw head. Most consumers do not like the resulting appearance using this installation method. If using ordinary, coarse-thread deck screws, pre-drilling a pilot hole and countersinking prior to driving screws achieve the best results. For more information, refer to the installation instructions or call 800.332.5724

What type of fasteners and nails are recommended with Deckorators decking and railing?

Major fastener manufacturers produce screws made specifically for composite decking. Use of these screws will reduce the amount of pre-drilling and countersinking required. For ease of installation, we recommend using 2-1/2" corrosion-resistant, composite wood deck screws. These screws help minimize the common "mushroom" effect that sometimes occurs when using standard fasteners. For more information, refer to the installation instructions.

Can I use a nail gun to install Deckorators composite decking?

We do not recommend using nails or a nailer when installing Deckorators composite decking. The material is very dense and getting nails to penetrate to a proper depth without bending can be a challenge. A bigger issue concerns the fastening on the end of the boards. We recommend that all holes be pre-drilled to help reduce mushrooming. Also, it is necessary to pre-drill the end of the boards to avoid splitting. When using nails or a nailer the concern is that the ends would not be pre-drilled and possibly lead to cracking and splitting.

What glue works well with Deckorators decking and CXT railing?

Glue is a supplemental adhesive and should never replace a fastener, especially in structural applications. Heavy-duty construction adhesive can be used, but we recommend testing on a small portion of your deck before using the adhesive throughout your whole application.

What joist spans should I use for my deck when using Deckorators decking?

In residential applications, Deckorators decking should be installed on joists spaced 16" on-center when the boards are running perpendicular to the support joists. Decking boards running on a diagonal pattern should be installed on joists spaced 12" on-center. Contact Deckorators Customer Service team at 800.332.5724 for commercial applications. For more details, refer to the installation instructions.

Does Deckorators decking require gapping between boards?

Yes. Deckorators Decking must be gapped at the ends to allow for expansion and contraction and gapped between boards for water runoff. At the ends of the deck boards, allow a minimum of 1/16" gap for every 20°F of difference between the installation temperature and the hottest temperature expected. Allow a 1/4" gap between the deck boards and between all decking and any permanent structure or post for water runoff. For more information, refer to the installation instructions.

How much space is recommended for proper ventilation underneath a deck?

A clear 2" space between the bottom edge of the joists and grade is recommended to allow proper ventilation.

Can I put Deckorators decking over a concrete patio?

Yes. It is possible to install Deckorators decking over a concrete patio. First, check with your local building code agency on foundation footing requirements. We recommend that you use 2x6s standing vertical on edge as support joists over the concrete. Next, fasten the decking to the support joists. Be sure to allow a 1/4" gap between the long edges of the deck boards. Drainage and ventilation are necessary for best product performance; to level the deck, we recommend shims that allow a clear 2" space between the bottom edge of the joists and the concrete.

Can I fasten Deckorators decking over an existing deck, balcony or porch?

Composite decking is intended to be installed directly to the structural joists. DO NOT fasten to the top of old existing deck planks or balcony and porch floors.

Deckorators composite decking and CXT railing meet building code requirements?

Deckorators composite decking, manufactured by UFP Ventures II, Inc., has been evaluated by ICC-ES to be code compliant with details listed under the ESR-1573 Evaluation Report (pdf - 985 KB). The structural performance of the Deckorators CXT railing system has been tested and evaluated by professional engineers at an independent third-party test laboratory known as Architectural Testing Inc (ATI). The results demonstrate that the different combinations of the Deckorators railing system as noted in ATI's CCRR Report 0171 complies with 2012 International Building Code; 2012 International Residential Code; ICC-ES AC174 effective January 2012; ASTM D7032-08; and ANSI Z97.1-2009.

Can Deckorators decking and CXT railing be used for structural applications?

No. While Deckorators Decking and CXT railing provide superior surface integrity and strength, they are not suitable for structural applications.

Can Deckorators decking be used as planters or edging?

Deckorators decking is not recommended for ground contact applications. It is designed to be used as a deck surface only.

Are support blocks necessary when building a Deckorators CXT railing?

Yes, support blocks are required on all rail sections wider than 24" between connection points i.e. post-to-post, post-to-wall, or wall-to-wall. Support blocks add strength to the railing system and provide support to prevent the railing from sagging. Two support blocks are required for rail sections 48" to 72" in length. Install one support block for sections that span 24" to less than 48". Support blocks should be installed aligned beneath a baluster for maximum reinforcement.

Can products like Ice Melt be used on Deckorators decking?

We are not aware of any adverse effects from the temporary use of ice melting products on Deckorators decking; however, we recommend using an ice melt product that has a less harsh effect on the surface. These types of ice melt products may indicate "pet friendly", "will not harm concrete", or "will not kill grass." Ensure that after the ice and snow melts, you brush off any residual ice melt product.

Can Deckorators composite decking be cleaned with a power washer?

Power washers can be used to clean Deckorators decking products, however a fan tip nozzle should be used and the power washer should be set on the lowest setting.

When do you need to install a graspable secondary handrail on a residential deck?

A graspable secondary handrail is an important component to consider when planning a deck with stairs. So whether you're constructing a residential composite deck, lumber deck or a deck made from other decking material, you're typically required to install a graspable secondary handrail on one side of the deck's stair railing when there are four or more stair risers present.

Key Residential Stair Handrail Requirements (IRC - International Residential Code)

  1. Stairways having four or more risers, or rising more than 30 inches in height, whichever is less, must have at least one grab rail.
  2. Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of at least 1-1/4 inches and not greater than 2 inches. If the handrail is not circular it shall have a perimeter dimension of at least 4 inches and not greater than 6-1/4 inches with a maximum cross section of dimension of 2-1/4 inches.
  3. The grab rail must terminate at the newel post (top and bottom posts).
  4. Clear space between a handrail and a wall or other surface shall be a minimum of 1-1/2 inches.
  5. The height of handrails must be installed 34 inches - 38 inches from the upper surface of the handrail to the surface of the tread.

Graspable secondary handrails are required by more and more building codes / deck codes in areas across the country.

This attractive and highly versatile graspable handrail is ideal for meeting building codes when required. Made of heavy gauge aluminum and durable PVC, the system includes five different radius elbows and several styles of returns to meet every possible installation. The railing is available in three colors (adobe, tan and white) to complement a homes exterior.

As always, check your local building code or ask your building inspector to make sure you or your contractor installs a secondary handrail when required by law.

Check out the American Wood Council's "Design for Code Acceptance" document for complete details. Stair handrail requirements are outlined on page 18.

Will chlorine, other swimming pool chemicals, or salt water damage Deckorators decking and railing?

While no formal testing has been done, we have not seen or heard of any ill effects from standard pool chemicals.

Post Caps & Lighting

How do I attach the post cap to the post?

We recommend using an exterior-grade construction adhesive to adhere the cap to the post. Apply the adhesive liberally to the inside of the cap and place the cap firmly over the top of the post. If you prefer to use Brad nails, be sure to pre-drill all nail holes to avoid splitting. For more information, refer to the installation instructions.

What are the inside dimensions of your post caps?

Our post caps come in many sizes, but the most common sizes are 4x4 and 6x6, which are made to fit a Standard 4x4 or 6x6 post. The inside dimensions of the Standard 4x4 measure 3-5/8", and the inside dimensions of the Standard 6x6 measure 5-5/8". In addition, we make a 4x6 post cap (with inside dimensions of 3-5/8x5-5/8) in Newport High Pyramid. We also make an 8x8 Copper-Topped post cap with an opening size of 7-5/8" and a 10x10 cap with an opening size of 9-5/8". All of these special sizes are available in cedar.

What are the dimensions of a standard 4x4 or 6x6 wood post?

The lumber industry defines standard wood post sizes as 4x4 or 6x6. The outside dimensions of the standard 4x4 measures 3-1/2" x 3-1/2", and the outside dimensions of the standard 6x6 measures 5-1/2" x 5-1/2".

Should I allow my treated wood post caps to "season" outdoors before I apply a protective finish?

No. Our treated wood post caps are kiln-dried and do not require a drying period. We recommend applying a protective finish immediately to the post cap.

What preservative is used to protect Deckorator's pressure-treated wood post caps?

Our wood post caps are protected by Copper Azole Type B (CA-B), an EPA-registered pesticide containing copper and azole compounds to protect it from termite attack and decay. For more information, refer to the Copper Azole Safe Handling Information (pdf - 23 KB).

Do I need to apply a finish to my wood post caps?

As with all wood products, we recommend that you coat the wood post cap with a high-quality exterior finish to preserve the wood's natural beauty and ensure a lifetime of enjoyment. Apply to all wood areas, including the underside of the cap, before installation.

How do I attach the solar post cap light to my post?

To attach our solar post cap light to a post, apply an exterior-grade construction adhesive to the inside edge of the molding at the bottom of the light, and then place the light firmly onto the post. For more information, refer to the installation instructions.

Should I remove the thin, clear plastic film over the top of the solar collector on the solar post cap light?

Yes. The clear plastic film is meant to protect the solar collector during shipping.

How do I activate the solar post cap?

  1. Remove top by pressing inward on the side of the clear lens, grasping the edge of the top and lifting it off.
  2. Install the batteries.
  3. Replace the top by snapping it back onto side panels. (Ensure that the holes in the sides are matched up with the stubs on the top.)
  4. Place your solar post cap light in direct sunlight for 24-48 hours to fully charge.

How do I activate the solar Tiffany-style post cap?

  1. Remove the solar panel by lifting it straight up from the top of the cap.
  2. Ensure that the batteries are securely in place.
  3. Replace the solar panel.
  4. Your solar Tiffany-style post cap is now ready to be installed on your post.
  5. Your solar Tiffany-style post cap will need 24 to 48 hours of sunlight to fully charge. Note: The amount of direct sunlight received by the solar panel determines the length of time the light will remain lit after dark.

How bright is the solar post cap light?

The solar post cap light provides an ambient light not suitable for tasks.

Where can I purchase replacement LED light bulbs?

The LED bulbs are part of the whole solar cell component and are not designed to be replaced. The LED bulbs have an average life of 10 years, with a normal usage of 6 to 8 hours per day. We do have Solar Collector Replacement Units available.

What kind of replacement batteries should I buy for the solar post cap light?

If the rechargeable batteries provided with the cap will no longer recharge, they can be replaced with any AA rechargeable batteries. The life depends on the quality of the batteries purchased.

How long will the rechargeable batteries provided with the solar post cap last?

The rechargeable batteries should last approximately one year.

Can I use regular, non-rechargeable batteries in the solar post cap light?

No, the solar post cap light is designed to be used with rechargeable batteries. If regular batteries are used in the sun, they will destroy the solar collector. We do have Solar Collector Replacement Units available.

How long is the life of the LED light bulbs?

With a normal usage of 6-8 hours per day, the LED bulbs should last an average of 10 years. We do have Solar Collector Replacement Units available.

What’s the maximum amount of LEDs that can be on a single transformer?

The transformer can support a maximum of 24 individual lights. We recommend using a maximum of 16 lights for best performance.

Will the metal solder on my glass post caps oxidize?

Exposure to the elements may cause the copper-wrapped solder on your glass post cap to oxidize and lose its original color. Applying car wax before placing the post cap outdoors will help to prevent the initial oxidation. We have found regular furniture polish to have the same affect, but its prevention time may vary based on geographical location. Reapply the car wax/furniture polish every 3 to 6 months as needed.

Will my copper finish post caps remain a shiny copper color?

Our copper finish post caps come with a thin, clear marine lacquer designed to protect them before and during installation. Once exposed to the elements, the sun's ultraviolet rays, moisture and pollution begin to break down this coating, exposing the metal underneath. In its natural state, copper breaks down in the elements and patinas. In general, copper progresses from a natural salmon color to a series of russet browns and grays, and finally to a blue-green or gray-green patina.

How do I keep my copper finish post cap from turning green (developing a patina)?

To maintain the shiny look, apply a car wax immediately after purchasing the post cap, and reapply every 3 to 6 months.

What does "patina" mean?

"Patina" refers to the natural weathering of copper due to airborne sulfur compounds, which gradually change copper’s surface color. The resulting color, called a patina, depends on location and climate. Salt, moisture, sunlight, ultraviolet rays and pollution can affect the final color. In general, copper progresses from a natural salmon color to a series of russet browns and grays, and finally to a blue-green or gray-green patina. To maintain the shiny look, apply a car wax immediately after purchasing the post cap, and reapply every 3 to 6 months. To encourage a natural patina, remove the lacquer with mineral spirits and grade 0000 steel wool.

Can I speed up the patina process on my copper finish post caps?

To encourage a natural patina, remove the lacquer with mineral spirits and grade 0000 steel wool.

Will my stainless steel post caps rust?

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron that contains more than 10% chromium. Stainless steel has a hard oxide coating that makes it resistant to stains. Corrosion and wear strip away this coating causing the steel to rust. To maintain this coating, clean the post cap periodically with a mixture of vinegar and club soda.

Will the brass post caps tarnish?

Our brass post caps, like our copper finish post caps, are a true metal brass—an alloy of copper and zinc. Our brass post caps are protected with a thin, clear coating of lacquer designed to protect them before and during installation. Once exposed to the elements, the sun's ultraviolet rays, moisture and pollution begin to break down this coating, exposing the metal underneath. Periodic reapplication of this clear coating will help to protect the brass post cap.

What is the metal underneath the post caps with the powder-coated finish?

The base of our powder-coated post caps is made of stainless steel.

What is powder-coating?

Our Aluminum Balusters are treated with powder-coating. Powder-coating is a dry finishing process in which finely ground particles of pigment and resin are electrostatically charged and sprayed onto an electrically grounded post cap. The charged powder particles adhere to the grounded post cap until they melt and fuse into a smooth coating in the curing oven. The result is a uniform, durable, high-quality finish that is also environmentally friendly. Our Classic, Baroque, Arc, Estate and Traditional balusters are powder-coated with AAMA2604 compliant material, which provides 5 times the outdoor exposure and twice the humidity exposure as AAMA2603.

Is this low voltage lighting system safe around my kids and pets?

Yes – since it runs on 12-volt electricity, there is no fear of electric shock. It is safe around children and pets.

Why do I need a transformer for my low voltage system?

Transformers reduce 120-volt household electricity to a safe 12-volt current. Do not attempt to hook up a low voltage system to an ordinary electrical outlet without using a 12-volt transformer.

How do I know which size transformer to buy?

You will need to buy a transformer that accommodates the wattage of your entire low voltage system. To determine the total wattage, add up the wattage of each fixture to be used. For example, if you are using 10 lights that are rated at 1 watt each, the total wattage of your system would be 10 watts.

  • Deckorators Component (each)

  • Low Voltage Post Cap Light
    1 watt

  • Lighted Willow Baluster
    0.27 watts

  • Lighted Square Baluster
    0.27 watts

  • Recessed Light (each)
    0.47 watts

Can I install my low voltage products indoors?

No. All Deckorators low voltage products are for outdoor use only.

How close can I install the low voltage products next to my pool?

Lighting components must be installed at least 10 feet away from a pool, spa or fountain.

Can I connect my transformer to an electrical outlet using an extension cord?

No. The transformer should be connected directly into the outlet.

Can I bury the main low voltage cable or the cable connector?

You are not required to, but you can bury the low voltage cable and the cable connector, no more than 6 inches deep.

Are there any tips on feeding the low voltage cable through the drilled holes in the post sleeves?

Use a twist tie or thin piece of wire bent into a hook to reach into holes in the post sleeves and guide the cable through the holes.

My system won't turn on. What do I do?

Try these trouble-shooting tips:

  1. Make sure that the transformer is plugged into an electrical outlet that is working. If there are any electrical switches that control the outlet, make sure they are in the "on" position.
  2. Make sure the transformer is the correct size and can accommodate the total wattage of your system.
  3. Check that the timer settings on the transformer are correct. To check the system during the day, cover the photo eye with a piece of black electrical tape.
  4. Check to see if there is a loose connection at the transformer pressure plates.
  5. Check the locations where the lighting fixtures connect to the low voltage cable to make sure that the prongs have pierced the cable.
  6. Trace the low voltage cable from the transformer to the lighting fixtures to ensure the cable has not been cut.

What size installed heights are the lighted aluminum balusters available in?

The lighted balusters are available in two sizes – 26" and 32". The connectors add 1". A 26" baluster will give you an installed height of 37" and a 32" baluster will give you an installed height of 43".

Can I trim the lighted aluminum balusters?

Yes – from the bottom end only (the end opposite the piercing connector). You cannot cut from the top end of the baluster. The wiring runs from the piercing connector to the LED in the ornament, so trimming from the top end would sever the wire.

Is there any care or maintenance required for the cast stone postcovers or postcover caps?

The products come sealed with a matte finish stone sealer, so no additional sealing is required. Periodic cleaning is recommended as needed to remove surface dirt. Clean with mild soap and water and use a soft brush to remove any dirt build up. It is always a good idea to test the cleaner in a small, inconspicuous area prior to applying it to the entire postcover.

What is post base trim?

Post base trim is a trim molding for the base of a post. Post base trim is available in 4” x 4” and 6” x 6” sizes, three styles, and three wood species: pressure-treated pine, cedar and redwood. Our post base trim is cut to size, with three sides pre-joined. The fourth side can be easily slipped into place and attached with finish nails, staples or exterior-grade construction adhesive.