When it comes to trying to decide what material you should go with for your home’s new decking, it can be a daunting decision to make.
Many people often struggle with having to decide between wooden and composite decking, and there are so many different brands out there, it has never been harder to find the exact decking that is going to suit your wants and needs.
One of the most popular composite decking companies on the market at the moment is Trex, who are well known for their durable and rugged decking that is also aesthetically pleasing.
However, just like any other decking company, Trex decking isn’t without issues, so it’s important to consider these before you buy.
A common question asked by many people is whether or not you are able to install Trex decking touching the ground, and the answer is often somewhat vague.
So, if you want to know whether or not Trex decking can touch the ground, then read on, and we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know!
What Is Trex Composite Decking?
Before we begin to evaluate the complexities of composite decking, and the debate around whether or not composite decking, such as Trex decking, is able to touch the ground, let’s start off by better understanding exactly what composite decking is, as this will help you to understand better whether or not Trex decking can touch the ground.
Composite decking is usually composed of multiple different materials, mainly out of plastic, also known as polyethylene.
As well as a filler, which tends to include organic wood fibres, but bamboo fibres and rice hulls aren’t uncommon either. The goal of using fillers is to help increase the overall strength and performance of the decking while keeping the cost as low as possible.
Trex in particular is made from roughly an equal blend of recycled plastic and wood fibres.
The filler used in the composite decking material you want is ultimately what determines whether or not it is able to touch the ground.
Can Trex Decking Have Contact With The Ground?
Unfortunately, if you were planning to install your Trex decking directly onto the ground, then you’re out of luck, as it is highly recommended that you avoid your Trex decking from having any form of contact with the ground whatsoever.
There are a number of reasons why Trex decking, as well as other composite decking, shouldn’t touch the ground, which we’ll explain later, but the initial problem for those who are considering installing their Trex decking touching the ground is that this actually is in violation of the warranty that Trex provides you with when you purchase their decking material.
According to Trex, those who install their decking improperly will not be covered by their limited warranty, which includes people who ignore Trex’s installation recommendations.
As standard, all Trex decking is to be installed on a subframe, which elevates the decking off the ground by a 1 ½ inch from a hard surface like a rooftop patio or concrete patio,
But for installation above ground, you must have a minimum of 6″ of clearance. This is fairly universal advice for most composite decking, so installing your Trex decking directly touching the ground is never a good idea, especially if something ends up going wrong and you need to use the warranty in order to provide replacement materials!
If you want to learn more about why you should never let your composite decking touch the ground, then the next section explains in more detail why your decking touching the ground can damage your decking!
Why Shouldn’t Trex Composite Decking Touch The Ground?
So, why can your decking having direct contact with the ground be such an issue? Well, allow us to explain the issue in a little more detail.
The problem doesn’t lie with the decking touching the ground, but more with what is in the soil that the ground is laid on.
Soil is full of moisture, fungi, and a whole host of insects and bugs, all of which can cause serious damage to your decking when laid directly on the ground.
And while many people believe that the moisture from the soil won’t have an impact on the decking, the reality is that composite decking may be water resistant, but it certainly isn’t waterproof. There are exceptions which we will get to.
If the decking contains organic materials in its filler, which it usually does, then these organic materials can begin to rot due to prolonged exposure to moisture when laying on the ground.
Another common issue is that insects and bugs might begin to infect the organic material inside your composite decking, and having the decking laid directly touching the ground is only going to increase the risk of infestation even more.
So, as a general rule, if your composite material decking touches the ground, then it is going to become prone to a lot of different issues which will end up damaging and ruining your decking permanently, which is why so many companies, including Trex, will recommend the use of a ground cover under your decking, alongside a subframe, in order to prevent any rotting or infestation.
There are some types of composite decking that can be installed touching the ground, even slightly buried if you desire, however, Trex isn’t one of them.
So if you’re wondering whether or not your Trex decking can touch the ground, then the answer is absolutely not.
What Composite Decking Can Touch the Ground?
If you want to have a low deck in contact with the ground, don’t give up hope. There is composite decking that can be installed in contact with the ground. The number is limited but here are a few brands that can touch the ground.
- Deckorators Mineral-Based composite
Each one can be installed in contact with water and dirt, but for different reasons.
Deckorators is a combination of mineral and plastic. Removing all organic material thus is not affected by moisture.
MoistureShield has a unique process of encapsulating its wood fibres. So it still contains organic fibres but they will not absorb water or rot. Making it safe for ground contact.
WearDeck similar to Deckorators uses fibreglass fibres to reinforce its composite decking. Not only makes it one of the strongest composite decking on the market but also safe to install at ground level.
Interestingly all three brands are also top-performing composite decking for docks. A harsher environment than ground contact but does involve high levels of water contact.
To summarize, Trex decking should not touch the ground in any circumstance, and doing so is a violation of their limited warranty, which means your decking won’t be protected if you have any issues or problems with it.
So, you should always make sure that the composite decking material you use is appropriately elevated off of the ground, taking into account any potential for debris buildup that might occur, especially if your decking will be near trees!
We hope this helped, and thanks for reading!