A brand that is synonymous with composite is Trex. One of the first to offer low-maintenance decking and is still the dominant composite decking manufacturer.
But how does Trex perform and compare to the many other decking brands?
That is what I will try to answer with this review of Trex composite decking.
- What to Consider Before Buying Composite Decking
- Brief Introduction to Trex as a Company
- Trex decking Lines and Colours
- Trex's Decking Profiles
- What is Trex Composite Decking made of, and how does it perform?
- Cost of Trex Composite Decking
- Durability and Warranty of Trex Composite Decking
- In Conclusion, for Reviewing Trex Composite Decking
What to Consider Before Buying Composite Decking
There are many things to consider when selecting composite decking. For this review, we will focus on 4 aspects that I think are the most critical.
- Colour (Appearance)
- Durability & Warranty
Colour is the number one reason you will choose the decking you do. As much as all the other factors are important, the look of the decking makes all the difference.
There is a wide variety of colour options with composite decking, from decking that attempts to imitate wood with streaking, wood grains, and colour variation to the more economical solid decking colour.
Traditional composite decking comes in 4 colour shades Blonde, Brown, Greys and Red. But the variations in these are huge.
Traction is the difference between being comfortable walking on your deck or always looking for the closest railing. There is a wide level of slip resistance between composite and PVC decking.
Price possibly should have been first because if you can’t afford it, it really doesn’t matter if you love it.
But the opposite is also true. If you buy the cheapest decking but cringe every time you look at your deck, you will never enjoy spending time outdoors.Making all that money savings a waste.
Fortunately, composite decking has a wide variety of cost, allowing you to find the look you will love at the price you are comfortable with.
Durability as reflected by their warranty. We all want our decking to last, and every brand claims their decking is the most durable.
Not having a time machine to know which one will, warranty is often the next best thing.
A warranty that covers the things that worry you and is long enough to ensure that you will always be covered is the easiest way to know if the decking is durable. And if it does fade, stain or break, you are not paying to replace it.
These 4 things will serve you well in evaluating composite decking. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s back up a little and start with Trex’s as a company and brand.
Brief Introduction to Trex as a Company
Trex is a composite decking manufacturer founded in Winchester, Virginia, that was one of the first to produce composite decking. In 1996, they invented and manufactured their first board in two colours, Saddle and Winchester Grey. The company’s original colour product line was created in 1998 and has since expanded to include four lines and 20 different colours of decking.
“To enhance the lives of people by engineering what’s next in outdoor living.”
Trex was one of the first companies to create composite decking, which made use of recycled materials. This helped to reduce waste and create a more sustainable product. Trex is still a leader in recycling, and they continue to find new ways to use recycled materials in their products.
Trex decking Lines and Colours
Trex does a wonderful job in grouping their decking.
Telling you right off the bat what level of decking you are considering. Within these lines, there are 24 colours to choose from.
Their Good line is Trex Enhance®.These are your entry-level boards in price with a more basic offering of colours. Trex further divides this line into Basics and Natural.
Trex Enhance Basics Colours
- Beach Dune
- Enhance Saddle
- Clam Shell
Trex Enhance Naturals Colours
- Foggy Warf
- Rocky Harbor
- Toasted Sand
- Coastal Bluff
Trex Select® is their Better line. The Trex Select line comes in five nature-inspired colours that will perfectly match your home.
Trex Select Colours
- Pebble Grey
- Winchester Grey
- Select Saddle
- Woodland Brown
The Best, is Transcend®. It has the best-looking colours of all of Trex’s decking with a deep wood-grain texture. With its multi-tonal colouring and streaking. Transcend has 3 collections of colours, Lineage, Premium Tropical and Classic Earth Tones.
Premium Tropical Colours
- Island Mist
- Tiki Torch
- Havana Gold
- Spiced Rum
- Lava Rock
Classic Earth Tones Colours
- Gravel Path
- Rope Swing
- Vintage Lantern
Trex’s Decking Profiles
Trex decking profiles vary by line. All lines of decking include square and grooved boards. Allowing you to use hidden fasteners for the centre decking and finish off the ends of the decking with a non-grooved board.
|0.94” (24 mm)
|0.82” (20 mm)
|0.94” (24 mm)
Now that’s all the technical dimensions, but as a carpenter, the easiest way to think of it is.
Transcend is Trex’s best decking, is a solid, practically 1″ thick decking.
How do the others differ from their premium line for profile?
Select is thinner. Still a completely solid board like Transcend, just a 1/8″ thinner.
Enhance is the same thickness as Transcend, but the bottom is scalloped.
This matters if you are a picture framing your deck or installing a breaker transition board. If your budget is tight, an option is to use the lower-costing Enhance decking for the field boards and dress up your deck with a fancier colour Transcend board. Which looks amazing.
But this cannot be done with Select boards. Select boards can only be combined with other Select boards. No mix and Match.
What is Trex Composite Decking made of, and how does it perform?
Beyond the colour and size is the material and performance of Trex decking.
Trex’s Decking Core
Trex is constructed of a 95% recycled plastic and wood-fibre mix. A roughly fifty percent combination of wood fibres and low-density polyethylene extruded into deck boards with a polymer cap, like other composite decking.
Decking Cap of Trex Decking
Like many composite decking brands, Trex uses a protective covering over the deck core to improve its appearance. Improving the look of composite decking while minimizing mould and mildew growth. The cap does increase cost of production but is more than compensated for by the improved performance and beauty of the decking.
Trex decking is capped on 3 sides. Regardless of the decking line or cost. With Trex decking, you can expect the top and two sides to have the additional cap, but the bottom is left unfinished.
Trex’s Decking Traction
I only have a third-party report of Trex’s Premium (Best) decking line Transcend for traction. My experience is that Select and Enhance lines are similar for traction with a similar design and capping.
|Slip Resistance (Dry)
|Slip Resistance (Wet)
Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) considers 0.5 as acceptable. When wet and dry, Trex falls below this bar, but they still consider this acceptable for most applications.
Compared to other composite decking for traction, Trex’s is in the middle. With a decent amount of slip resistance but is low compared to most PVC decking.
Cost of Trex Composite Decking
Overall, Trex is priced to be affordable, but the price of their decking varies by line.
Enhance Basics. Their most economical line is priced to compete with pressure-treated decking. You can expect to pay around $2 a lineal foot for a single-coloured board.
Similarly designed but with the addition of streaking, Enhance Naturals is around $3 a lineal foot. Expect to pay the same amount for their slightly thinner board Select.
Trex’s best board Transcend’s price jumps up to around $5 a lineal foot. Their premium board is solid full 1″ thick, with colour variation and streaking. Protected by their most durable cap.
Compared to similar quality decking, Trex will often cost less regardless of which line.
Durability and Warranty of Trex Composite Decking
Trex’s warranty has long been considered the standard for composite decking. Including warranty.
In 2023 has changed with Trex playing a little catchup with other brands’ warranty of composite decking.
Trex now has 3 tiers of warranty.
- Transcend 50 years
- Select 35 years
- Enhance 25 years.
All 3 are pro-rated with 100% replacement for the first 10 years. But then decreasing in proportion to the warranty length.
Transcend roughly 10% every 6 years. So by year, it will still pay out 30% of the cost of the decking.
Enhance with a much shorter warranty, drops 20% in year 11 and then continues dropping 20% every 3 years. With the last 3 years paying 10%.
Select, with its slightly longer warranty, drops 20% every 4 years. Paying out only 10% for the last 7 years. Slightly better than Enhance’s warranty but only marginal.
Fading and Staining
Trex warranties against fading beyond 5 Delta-e for the time of the warranty. Similar to Timbertech and many other top brands.
Included with fading is staining, which, if cleaned up within a week, Trex’s warranties against common spills like ketchup or wine. The one exception is suntan lotion which is not good on almost all composite decking.
Often labour will match the cost of installing composite decking. Which can make faulty decking a double hit. First, you have to pay for it to be installed and then again to replace it if it fails.
Not so with Trex. If you use a Trex-qualified installer, they include labour with the warranty.
- TrexPro 1 Year
- TrexPro Gold 3 Years
- TrexPro Platinum 5 Years
It is shorter than the material warranty and depends on the installer’s volume of decking annually, but still, it’s a good deal.
In Conclusion, for Reviewing Trex Composite Decking
With a good selection of colours, Trex’s can complement almost any home.
Plus, it’s one of the most readily available brands on the market. Making buying Trex an easy task.
It doesn’t really stand out of the crowd for its other features. Blended from similar material as many other brands with a good warranty but not the longest.
Traction is not stellar, either. Again, there are better boards for traction like Deckoroators, but it’s no worse than many other brands.
Despite its average performance, it’s one brand I regularly install. And that is because of price.
Trex is one of the more affordable low-maintenance deckings on the market.
Unlike many cheap, knock-off brands. Trex is the real McCoy but will generally cost less than others. Making it a good option for more budget-sensitive outdoor living spaces.
You can save a few dollars installing Trex without a huge sacrifice in performance. This is why I install so much Trex decking.