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Thread: Composite decking for "wood" table top?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Composite decking for "wood" table top?

    SWMBO inherited a very old wrought iron table with four chairs. We plan to get it refinished at a local shop that sandblasts and powder coats almost anything. It has a glass top but, since we're going to use it on our deck, she wants me to make a top for it from composite deck material to go with the deck. She suggests using a coordinating color. The table is oblong - not a true ellipse.

    I'm laying out a design that is typical of a lot of tables - an outer border or frame with an inner field. I'll rip the deck boards to about 2.5" wide for the inner field and create some kind of pattern.

    Have any of you built anything like this from composite deck material? It seems like it should work using procedures similar to wood. There's movement to consider and I suppose construction adhesive will be required. Anything you can suggest will be appreciated.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  2. #2
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    I'm sure I've seen someone else post that they had made outdoor furniture out of the stuff before.

    Around here in the Pacific NW, mold is a huge issue and a lot of the brands of composite decking has trouble with it regardless of their claims. Pressure washing is a major no no too. It embeds the mold spores deep into the composite decking and opens up micro channels for it to get in.

    It is found to be helpful to support the decking material in a manner that allows airflow around and under it and that water can drain out and not stand for extended periods at the contact/support points.

    Also, you are basically dealing with sticks of plastic and sawdust. i would seal it, and also make sure it is supported per manufacturer recommendations or it will sag on you in the middle of the table if there are no supports.

    Last thing that you have already mentioned is movement. Lots of it, so just plan for it. The manufacturer should tell you what the % is. It is alot.

    Sounds like a fun project!

    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your response, Brian.

    Regarding your comment about airflow, I plan to space the inner field boards 1/8" apart and will do the same between the field and the border. For support, I'll use 2x4 material.

    Have any of you folks actually built something (besides a deck) with the composite material?

    Besides real wood such as cypress, what other material would you use for a tabletop outdoors?
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  4. #4
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    Never used composite before but it sounds like a pretty good idea

    How about teak or cedar ???
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    ... How about teak or cedar ???
    Teak would be a good choice, of course, if my wallet was lined with gold.

    I've suggested cedar and cypress to LOML but she really wants me to use composite to coordinate with the deck. And we all know who's boss!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  6. #6
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    Brian's comments are interesting.
    Really, what good is the stuff if it is subject mold and other environmental attacks?
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    I've always heard thermally modified wood, IPE, white oak, cedar, or cypress for outdoor furnitures.

    I do have some chairs I built out of cypress and used epifanes marine spar varnish on, so far it's held up great. They get direct sun for about 5-6 hrs per day, 2 yrs old now and still holding up well. I think you're supposed to re-coat them periodically though. The Sunbrella cushions also seem to be holding up well.

  8. #8
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    The composite decking has trouble in certain instances in the Pacific NW, I don't have any experience with it or knowledge of it having problems elsewhere or not. I do know that there was/is a class action lawsuit against at least one company for mold issues.

    Another alternative that is fun, cheap, and looks great is concrete. Some chicken wire or such, some concrete, added stain if you want, and you can add stones, glass beads, tiles, glass squares, stamps, texture, etc.

    Or you can use a piece of cement board and do tile. You could probably do the whole table for $40 or less depending on how extravagant you wanted to go and it would look good on your deck.

    It wouldn't have to be heavy either depending on how you did it.
    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

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