OUTDURE DECKING REVIEW
BY A REAL WORLD CUSTOMER
Product, Warranty and Company
Written on the 10th October 2020
6 YEARS LIVING WITH OUTDURE DECKING
INTRODUCTION AND SEDUCTION
We Meet at the Auckland Home Show
We went to the Auckland Home Show in 2013 to do research for our new house build that would commence in November of that year. We were looking at all aspects of the build with LOW maintenance as the driving factor due to the fact that I was away from home 6 months of the year. At 260 square meters our deck would have almost the same area as our house. Our outdoor living area and view are the main feature of our home and for this reason we were looking for a long lasting, LOW maintenance and good looking product. At the Home show we met with Chris Gordon at spoke with him in depth about the product. The seduction was that Chris's description ticked all the boxes that we required, namely:
The colour does not fade
It does not twist, cup or split
It does not shrink or stretch
It has a 20 year warranty for any failures
It never needs sanded or sealed
He gave us the contact details of customers that had installed the charcoal colour we were interested in so we could see it on a large scale. We went to see their deck which was newly installed and they were happy with it and we were happy with the colour choice.
What more could a person wish for, It sounds too good to be true doesn't it?
EXPENSIVE FIRST DATE
As this deck was to be so large and a feature Chris Gordon asked me to send them the council approved drawing of the house and they would design the deck layout for me free of charge. This way they could calculate the amount of materials that need to be ordered.
The initial invoice of materials in March 2014 was $18,301.56, this included the decking material and the fastening gear.
We were happy with the deck designed by the Outdure team from our council approved drawings (more on this aspect when we speak about the warranty)
This is a shot of the nearly completed deck by our builder. He followed the design that was supplied by the team at Outdure. We did come up a little short on materials and had to order another approximately $2000 worth of boards and fasteners.
We moved into the completed house in August 2014.
The first two years we enjoyed out Outdure deck space and extended entertaining area. I was especially enjoying the no maintenance aspect apart from the usual wash down.
3 YEARS IN
Approximately 3 years into this relationship the cracks started to show. I was not too concerned as there is a 20 year warranty for the materials. I called the company and they told me to fill in the required warranty application online at their website. I tried to find the required form on their website, www.outdure.com but found that it was not possible. Rang them again to be told that there website was undergoing an upgrade and try the next day. I tried every day for a week and failed so i forgot about it after a while as the warranty is for 20 years right?
THE NEXT 3 YEARS
As I work offshore a great deal I did not try to claim on the warranty for another 3 years. This 3 years showed many more flaws in the material so in a way the delay was helpful as more of the decking material broke down and needed replacing.
21/Feb/2020 I contacted Andrea Fountain at Outdure and explain the situation with the deck materials failing and needing replaced.
4/Mar/2020 she asked me to fill in the warranty claim form online at their website.
4/Mar/2020 I did manage to access it this time and filled in all the relevant information including photos of the issues. I emailed her and let her know the form was completed.
4/Mar/2020, I received an email from Kyle Williams to say he would be coming to view my deck at SOME time.
18/Mar/2020, I emailed Kyle and asked for a time of visit
18/Mar/2020 Kyle told me I was on his list.
21/May/2020 A month later I emailed Kyle and asked when he would be visiting.
2/Jun/2020 Kyle informed me he would visit on the 5th of June
5/Jun/2020 Kyle Williams arrived to view the deck issues.
7/Jun/2020 After Kyles visit he asked ME to send them a list of affected boards. This is the list I sent but this has increased over time.
Good morning Kyle.
Hope your weekend away was fun for you.
I have counted up all the splitting boards and they are as below. Board dimensions are 140mm x 25mm
1m x 1
2.02m x 1
2.25m x 25
2.45m x 2
2.8m. x 2
3.8m x 5
4.06m x 1
4.8m. x 31
13/Jul/2020 A month later this is the email to Kyle
Good day Kyle,
Hope you are well. I have noticed it has gone awfully quiet at your end of this warranty claim. Any updates would be appreciated.
13/Jul/2020 Kyles response
my apologies, i will chase up progress on the boards for this.
2/Sep/2020 After waiting over 2 more weeks I sent this email.
Good morning Kyle,
I have now grown older by nearly 2 months since your last contact and 3 years older than when I first contacted Outdure about the cracking decking problems. I am going to make sure I live long enough to see this issue resolved even if my grey hair indicates otherwise.
Apart from my own builder, Ross Jameson, I have a number of other personal friends that are builders that range from Auckland to cape Reinga. I have also had non builder friends asking about your product. I have had friends of friends sent here to look at my deck. All have expressed interest in your product over the years asking if it is a viable replacement for timber. I have shown them the current issues I am having and have advised them to hold judgement until we see how the company handle the warranty claim.
I have pointed out and shown them the layout design that was supplied by Outdure showing the 4.8 meter lengths. I explained that the company no longer supplies these lengths and recommends the longest length used now being 2.7m. I have also pointed out that the company no longer imports the hollow boards that were used for my deck (the ones that are splitting) and they now use solid boards. I also explained to them that a standard floor joist spacing in NZ is 450mm but endure specify 400mm spacing and the possible ramifications of this.
I was proud of my big deck and liked to show it off to anyone that came by but it seems the rate of failure is increasing exponentially and you would notice a significant change since your visit.
I would love to be able to recommend Outdure but the product and response has been lacking so far
I am hoping for a discreet favourable resolution in the near future.
2/Sep/2020 Kyles Resonse.
My apologies for the lack of communication and progress on this matter. I have been attempting to sources replacement solid boards for you in the dimensions and profile you already have without any luck so far.
Currently the closest board I can get it solid and the pattern on one side matches the fine line pattern on the bulk of your boards but not the pattern on the breaker boards. Also, the Boards are 138mm by 23mm not the 140mm by 25mm that you have.
I have referred this problem up the chain to our procurement department in Australia and I will have a discussion with my manager to see if he has any ideas.
Specification Project Manager
Kyles thoughts and conclusions
Kyle arrived and was friendly and congenial. In attendance was myself and my builder who installed the deck to the design supplied by Outdure.
We pointed out the issues that had already been outlined in previous emails with photos.
His first observation and comment was that the decking had not been installed to the companies specifications that stipulated 400mm between frame centres. He then informed me that this VOID'S any Warranty claim. This information was not supplied to us with the deck layout drawings that were produced by Outdure from our Council Approved Drawing I supplied to them. These drawings show the frames at 450mm centres. My personal view is that a 50mm narrower frame distance would not have stopped the shrinkage, cracking, bowing or cupping but it gives the company a legal way to avoid Warranty claims.
His next observation was that the cracking is due to the hollow boards holding water which causes the top and bottom of the boards to shrink and expand at different rates. He said this cracking usually shows on the bottom of the boards. My boards are all splitting on the top.
His next observation was that our boards are too long and the company no longer sells the boards I have and now only sell maximum lengths of 2.7 meters. I wonder why they no longer sell the 4.8m lengths
He also noted that the wide board I have is no longer sold and they now only sell ones "CLOSE" to that width in a solid board. My guess is that there were too many issues with the hollow boards and holding water
Before leaving he said he would pass all the information to his superiors but he thought that they would deny the claim due to the extra 50mm frame centres. I do not believe they contributed to the issues as the company has stopped using the boards I am having issues with. Outdure made no mention of frame centres in there documentation that was sent to me with their design created from the council drawings.
Kyles thoughts were that he might be able to get me a good deal on the price of replacement boards. So in affect they want me to pay for the deck a second time in 6 years for a product that they know is faulty from the factory and no longer manufacture.
CONCLUSION (For Now)
I am writing this review on the 10th of October 2020 and it has now been over a month since my last communication from Outdure. I am guessing that they are hoping that I just quietly go away. I will not just disappear as I feel that a company needs to stand behind their product and promises and I will broadcast my views far and wide. Over the last 6 years EVERY person that has come to our home has ALWAYS asked questions about our deck due to its size and finish. We have numerous friends in the building trade who are VERY curious about the deck material and its qualities. We always answer the questioning throngs of would be customers with our honest opinions of the product and the company. We always point out the Pros's that they sold us on for the product but we also have to point out the Con's the product has developed over time. I have asked our friends, relatives and acquaintances to hold off on judgement until we see how the company services the warranty claim. Unfortunately the company has lost a hundred thousand dollars plus in sales due to the failure of the product and the failure of the company to honor their warranty.
I want everyone contemplating using this product to be aware of the long term (or not so long term for us) problems and the high cost of replacement due to failure