Commercial Boardwalk Cost and Design Information - PermaTrak Blog 

Trex Composite Decking vs. PermaTrak Concrete Boardwalk (Product Comparison & Reviews)

Posted by Jason Philbin on 10/20/15

I wanted to discuss a topic that comes up often with landscape architects or engineers: composite decking. Specifically, we're going to dive into the pros and cons of Trex - the company and the decking materials they offer. 

Trex is the most well known wood-composite decking material on the market, and for good reason. The company controls ~35-40% of the composite decking market, using plastic bags to make the boards

If you have experience designing pedestrian bridges, trails, elevated boardwalks or fishing piers, you're probably already familiar with Trex. Today I want to share some lessons learned in the boardwalk industry to help you develop a deeper understanding of Trex's wood-composite decking.

We have found that our PermaTrak concrete boardwalk is a great fit for about half of the projects ideas we're approached with. The product can be cost-effective, save thousands in maintenance dollars and withstand heavy use over the long haul - but the project must be a good fit.

You might be surprised that this article is not meant to "bash the competition." Rather, it's intended to help you decide which boardwalk material is best for your project. It's intended to help you find that "great fit" between your project and the product/company you choose. 

Trex Composite Decking vs. PermaTrak Precast Concrete Boardwalk

Determining if Trex or PermaTrak is the right product for your project can be a lengthy evaluation - the answer depends on your project site, client needs, budget, timeline, engineering support, intended boardwalk usage, method of construction, and about 20 other factors!

Probably the most important factor to consider among all of these: commercial product versus residential product. Upfront you should know PermaTrak is best suited as a commercial product - watch this video to learn more about this.

In an effort to help you determine which material is right for your boardwalk project, you'll find a detailed comparison of Trex's composite wood decking products and PermaTrak's concrete boardwalk system below.

Here is how you can determine where your priorities lie and which boardwalk material best lends itself to your project. Let's dig in...

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Topics: Boardwalk Materials

Life Cycle Maintenance Costs: PermaTrak vs. Wood/Composite Decking

Posted by Carrie Parada on 10/20/15

Specifying a Commercial Product for the Long Haul

Without a life cycle maintenance analysis, how do you know if the product you specify makes for a smart investment?

An investment takes into account the long-term implications of using the product: how it performs over time and how much ongoing maintenance it will require for the product to function as designed. This applies not just for boardwalks- but for splash pads, benches, railings, playground equipment, etc. When these products are specified for commercial park or trail projects, designers who perform the research and analyze the life cycle costs are creating a value for their clients.

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Topics: Boardwalk Materials, Boardwalk Durability/Maintenance

How to Run a Cost Estimate For Your Commercial Boardwalk Project

Posted by Carrie Parada on 10/20/15

Are you running a cost estimate for a boardwalk or pedestrian bridge project? 

If so, keep in mind that the final construction cost will be based on more than the decking material. To get a sense for the "all in" price of your structure, pay attention to the following variables:

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Topics: Concrete Boardwalk Questions, Boardwalk Cost

6 Top Beach Boardwalks in the U.S.

Posted by Stephen Beach on 10/20/15

In honor of summer, we’re taking a look at a few places that are hard not to love. They’re packed with kiosks selling tasty confections, restaurants serving up seafood and French fries, roller coasters, carnival-style games and attractions and, really, just a whole lot of fun.

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Topics: News

Commercial Boardwalk Materials: An Honest Comparison [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Carrie Parada on 10/20/15

When it comes to the big three commercial boardwalk materials (wood, composite decking and concrete), the competition is steep. We realize it can be difficult to find reliable information through the plethora of sales pitches, discussions at trade shows, online or print ads. Sugarcoated or incomplete information can make more work for designers or owners researching their boardwalk or pedestrian bridge options.

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Topics: Boardwalk Materials, Boardwalk Durability/Maintenance

Boardwalk & Pedestrian Bridge Widths: 5' to 14' Clearance [Photos]

Posted by Carrie Parada on 10/20/15

If you are an architect or engineer designing a boardwalk or pedestrian bridge, you may have a specific clearance width in mind. The dozens of professional designers I talk with each week tell me, "I need an 8' clearance or a 10' clearance for my trail project." Does this sound familiar?

If you have reached the point of determining the structure's clear width requirement, you may be wondering, "What is the minimum width for a PermaTrak boardwalk?" or "Can a PermaTrak boardwalk be produced for a custom width?"  

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Topics: Boardwalk Design

Designing a Boardwalk for Heavier Loading Requirements

Posted by Jason Philbin on 10/20/15


Occasionally our engineering team here at PermaTrak works with designers who need to specify a trail or greenway structure that is designed for heavy loading requirements, above a standard pedestrian loading of 60, 90 or 100 psf. This is especially common with commercial multi use trail projects, wide boardwalks, pedestrian bridge segments and structures that must be built via top down construction. Here is some information on the heavier loading that has been incorporated into our PermaTrak concrete boardwalk designs.

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Topics: Boardwalk Design

Are PermaTrak Concrete Boardwalks ADA Compliant?

Posted by Jason Philbin on 10/20/15

Commercial Boardwalk Design: ADA Compliance

At PermaTrak, we frequently receive questions concerning boardwalk compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a boardwalk designer, I consult the ADA guidelines for horizontal gaps, vertical changes, boardwalk slopes, ramps, railing requirements, etc. on a daily basis. First for some ADA background information - 

Specific Requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act
In 1991 the Department of Justice adopted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. These standards required newly constructed and renovated places of public accommodation and commercial use to be designed in ways that prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability. In  2010, the ADA received revised standards concerning accessibility. 

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

I thought it would be helpful to summarize the 2010 ADA revised standards related to horizontal gaps, vertical changes, walking surface slopes, railing requirements, etc. for those of us designing ADA compliant boardwalks, pedestrian bridges, and other structures for multi use trails. 

I'd also like to post my answers to several common questions specific to PermaTrak and ADA compliance. As a new boardwalk system, these may be the first questions a designer new to PermaTrak may ask us: 

  1. Is the entire PermaTrak system ADA compliant? 
  2. Can PermaTrak's boardwalk system be used on applications where a slope is needed? If so, does it meet ADA requirements? 
  3. What is the max slope you can achieve with a PermaTrak boardwalk? 
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Topics: Boardwalk Design, Concrete Boardwalk Questions

Design Options for Road Shoulder Widening: Retaining Wall + Sidewalk or Boardwalk?

Posted by Jason Philbin on 10/20/15

As a landscape architect or engineer, you may have faced this situation before: where your client is looking for a solution to widen a road shoulder that has a steep slope off its side - in order to provide access for pedestrians and cyclists.

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Topics: Multi Use Trails and Greenways, Boardwalk Design

Which Is Harder to Run On? Concrete vs. Asphalt for Runners

Posted by Jason Philbin on 10/20/15

I recently came across an article posted on Facebook from a fellow Charlotte triathlete about concrete vs. asphalt paving surfaces for runners. This article piqued my interest for a couple of reasons:

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Topics: Boardwalk Materials

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About This Boardwalk Blog

The PermaTrak boardwalk blog articles are written for landscape architects, engineers, and agency or municipality professionals.

We aim to provide educational resources for designing and building boardwalks, pedestrian bridges, trail and greenway systems. 

By reading our weekly posts, you will deepen your understanding of boardwalk design, cost estimates, and construction practices. 

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