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Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #1 
Has anyone used TREX composite decking material (or AZEK) for the exterior perimeter of their solar collectors?

I love working with this stuff since it can be worked just like regular wood. I was thinking that you could dado a couple of grooves into it to hold the collector's back panel and glazing material for a really finished look. And it never needs painting.

Any thoughts?

Wes Westhaver
Columbia, MD


Posts: 44
Reply with quote  #2 
seems that might be a little heavy, but it may have a good insulation factor, I've never looked at it. hmm
I am planning to use a Styrofoam roof panel.  it is 3 in thick with aluminum skins on both sides. I have several pieces left over from a former career, but it still can be bought.  if you go into a Costco or sams's sometimes, they will have sample patio rooms installed for sales purposes, look at the paneld roofs, you can buy these from the makers of the rooms, or there are similar manufacturers which make the walls for walk in freezers or these roof panels, they kinda look like this, but mine are different

Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #3 
Actually, I was talking about using TREX only for the perimeter of the solar collector. The internal construction of the solar collector would remain the same (backboard, foam insulation, etc.)

Insulating qualities? Never considered that as a factor since the insulation is usually inside the collector.

This is why I thought TREX might be a good perimeter material:
  1. Has a nice woodgrain finish.
  2. Comes in a number of colors.
  3. Never needs painting.
  4. Stands up to UV exposure.
  5. Cuts and shapes just like wood.
  6. Approximately the same weight as wood.
Being able to hang the collector on the roof and forget about it for years without maintenance seems like a worthy goal.



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Spam Stomper
Posts: 1,027
Reply with quote  #4 
Wes it sounds like it should work well. How does the price compare with wood?

FWIW somewhere on the http://www.builditsolar.com site Gary mentions looking at a wood collector that had been in use for several years. The wood was still in good shape. He does recommend the plastic deck wood for around the rim of the DIY hot water storage tank (link).

Both temperature rise and airflow are integral to comparing hot air collectors
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