Anyone who purchased or owns TimberTech's XLM line of decking, which is sold in "desert bronze," "harvest bronze" and "twin finish" colors.
What's the Problem?
Consumers have reported a number of problems with TimberTech's XLM line of decking, including discoloration, cracking and premature failure of the product. These problems may stem from a design defect – in which case TimberTech may be responsible for compensating property owners for repair and replacement costs.
Have Lawsuits Been Filed?
A class action lawsuit was filed against TimberTech and CPG International, Inc. (who bought TimberTech in 2012) in June 2014.
Type of Lawsuit
Attorneys are interested in hearing from property owners who experienced problems with their TimberTech decking. TimberTech is currently facing a class action lawsuit over claims that its XLM range of decking, which is sold in “desert bronze,” “harvest bronze,” and “twin finish” colors, is defective. According to the lawsuit, the decking’s protective coating deteriorates prematurely, causing the decking to show obvious discoloration, which has been described by property owners as “milky white,” “chalky,” “like diluted milk” and “dark brown.” Consumers who bought or own the XLM decking line on their properties may be able to take part in this lawsuit to seek compensation for repair and replacement costs, among other damages.
What’s Wrong with the Decking?
TimberTech’s XLM line of outdoor decking is treated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and advertised as being easy to maintain and longer-lasting than wooden or other composite decks. The PVC used by the company, however, is allegedly defective and unable to retain its coloring once exposed to rain or sunlight. According to the lawsuit, TimberTech failed to conduct adequate tests before approving and selling the product and should have known that the PVC used to treat the decking made it susceptible to color deterioration. Property owners have complained that, in some cases, the decking showed signs of failure on its first day of use, even when installed correctly.
What Does the Lawsuit Say About TimberTech?
TimberTech failed to honor warranties. The lawsuit claims TimberTech’s warranty agreement expressly states that decking materials will be delivered “free from material defects.” This warranty is offered for 25 years from the date of the decking’s installation, yet the decking is allegedly failing far earlier than expected. While TimberTech has reimbursed some buyers for the price of the decking, the company has not paid for the labor costs of installing the decking or for the removal and replacement of the stained and discolored wood, the lawsuit claims.
Timbertech failed to properly test XLM decking. TimberTech is accused of failing to test its XLM decking in a real-world environment before bringing the product to market, thereby failing to ensure that conditions like rain and sunlight would not affect the quality and color of the decking.
Timbertech falsely advertised its XLM decking. TimberTech advertised its decking as reliable, low-maintenance, dependable and “attractive for years.” Plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that they chose TimberTech’s XLM decking because of its purported longer lifespan, but experienced problems almost as soon as the decking was installed. Despite the decking being advertised as maintenance-free, several homeowners have complained that their decking was stained or damaged even when it arrived at their houses. The company has also, on occasion, recommended cleaning products after receiving complaints of spots and marks, but, in several cases, the effects of the cleaners were only temporary – often lasting only until the next rainfall, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit describes online consumer complaint boards as “replete with examples of angry customers who paid top dollar for TimberTech XLM and are furious about its performance.” Typical complaints, which describe a number of colors including “desert bronze,” “harvest bronze,” and “twin finish,” include ([sic] throughout):
“My TimberTech was discolored from the get go. It arrived from the lumber yard where I purchased it from with this dark brown stain on it. I purchased the Twin Finish in grey, but some of the boards after taking off the shrink wrap were stained with some kind of brown material. Even the shrink wrap was coated with this brown material. It's as if the boards are weeping the stain. I tried to wash it off and some of the stain came out but most stayed. Boy I'm a sucker. I assumed this product had gone through at least a couple of years of testing. You would think AT LEAST the product wouldn't ooze any compounds that make up its structure or its coloration. You look at the ends of some of these boards and you can see some kind of brown gunk collecting on the end. After laying down what wasn't stained on a 16x16 foot deck, the rest of the product seems to be reacting with UV radiation and they too are starting to discolor.”
“I am experiencing the same issue with TimberTech xlm desert bronze. My project (I'm Folsom near Sacramento CA) was completed in April of 2010 and starting in about 8-9 months I saw some graying and became concerned. By mid spring with the warmer weather a rapid progression to black occurred which in some areas is now complete. I have a large wrap around front porch that has both frost and extensive (80%) blackening in some areas. I also have a back porch that has some frost and blackening on the ends of the boards.”
“Had TT Harvest Bronze installed in July, 2011. Immediately after washing off the deck after the contractors were finished, we noticed irregular blotches and spots that looked like diluted milk. We tried washing them off again, but no go. Contacted TT to inform them of the findings. They recommended using Krud Kutter cleaner. So, I pick this up at Home Depot and tried cleaning the blotches which were noticeable on about 50% of the boards. At first, it appear to have removed them, but after a day or two and rain, they were still there. All it did was cover them up. If the deck is wet, they are not noticeable.”
What Is the Class Action Seeking?
A class action lawsuit allows people who have faced the same problem to come together and seek compensation from a company. In this case, anyone who has TimberTech decking and experienced the discoloration problems caused by the alleged defect may be able to seek compensation for repair and replacement costs, among other damages. The suit is also asking TimberTech to reassess and re-audit all warranty claims regarding XLM decking, including claims that were denied.