Trex vs NewTechWood, Which Composite Decking is Right for You?


When choosing between Trex and NewTechWood composite decking, there are several things to consider. Things like available colours, durability, traction, price and warranty of the decking.

Noticeable differences between Trex and NewTechWood are where the companies are based, Trex in the US, NewTechWood in China.

Regarding their decking similarly warrantied, priced and traction level, Trex has had more third-party testing done for durability and performance. Distinctly different is their decking appearance, Trex with more extensive and deeper embossing but NewTechWood with a more delicate and detailed pattern along with dual-sided boards.

But we should go into the details a little more to determine whether NewTechWood or Trex decking is right for you.

Starting with an introduction to the companies, getting to know NewTechWood and Trex a little better.  Who are they, and where did they come from?

A Brief Introduction to Trex

Headquartered in Winchester, Virginia, Trex hails as the world’s largest composite decking and railing manufacture. 

Trex was one of the first innovators of composite decking, inventing and manufacturing their first board in 1996. This single colour board was patent in 1998, and they have since developed four lines and 20 colours of decking.

“To enhance the lives of people by engineering what’s next in outdoor living.”

Trex

One of their original big pushes was to take material that was otherwise headed to the landfill and innovate a useful product. They are still a huge player in the recycling industry. Trex decking is manufactured from 95% recycled content.

The primary focus of their decking is its long life and low maintenance compared to traditional wood decking.

A Brief Introduction to NewTechWood

NewTechWood the producer of UltraShield composite decking was established in 2004 from its parent company Huidong Meixin Plastic Lumber Products Manufacturing Co. Ltd based in the People’s Republic of China.

NewTechWood started with and continues with a focus on manufacturing exterior products made from recycled material.

In 2010 research began for the innovation of NewTechWood UltraShield®. With a goal, to make an attractive, low fading and resistant scratch composite deckingOpens in a new tab..  

Trex vs NewTechWood – Materials and Capping

As already noted, both companies have a focus on using recycled content in their composite decking. Both Trex and NewTechWood manufacture their decking with a 95% blend of recycled plastic and wood fibresOpens in a new tab.. But this may be where their similarity in material and capping ends.

Trex, one of the first innovators of composite decking and an early adapter of capping, is the standard we look to when thinking about composite decking and cap.

Same with the core of composite decking. Trex’s decking is a 50/50 plastic and wood fibres blend extruded into decking. Which, when comparing composite, is our reference. We are often comparing the blend and composer with Trex.

Decking Material Core Difference Between Trex and NewTechWood

A quick glance at the decking end reveals some difference.

The most obvious is the difference in technique to reduce weight and costs.

Trex’s Enhance boards bottoms are scalloped, removing material from the decking underside.

NewTechWood’s Voyager Series has six hollow cylinders through the centre of the board. They make the board much lighter without impacting the outside look of the decking except for cut ends.

With Trex, you can easily spot the wood fibres that the composite is blended from. NewTechWood also includes wood fibres but are not as quickly seen composed of finer wood dust.

There also use a different polyethylene in their composite decking. The plastic part of the decking.

  • Trex uses low-density polyethylene.
  • UltraShield is made with high-density polyethylene.

Setting the two apart. Not as drastic as PVC vs Composite deckingOpens in a new tab., but still a different composite of material.

Difference in Cap Between Trex and NewTechWood

Like almost all composite decking companies, Trex uses the decking cap to protect the decking core and improve its appearance. Which has done wonders in improving the performance of composite decking while reducing mould and mildew. In fact, the aesthetic improvement alone is worth the extra cost.

Trex only caps the top and the sides to the top of the groove. On square boards, the cap runs just past the bottom corners of the decking. Creating a finished look for picture framed decksOpens in a new tab. while still allow the bottom of the decking to breathe.

NewTechWood takes an entirely different approach. UltraShield is capped top, bottom, sides and even into the groove. Or as they say it, 360°. It is a complete wrap.

Going one step further with the cap. UltraShield’s cap has two different finishes. On one side, you have a brushed finish with little distinct markings. The reverse side is embossed with a woodgrain pattern with variated colour. Providing you choose with the look of your deck and level of traction.  

Trex vs NewTechWood Decking Options

The finish of the cap defines the appearance of the decking and what wil often determine which board we install. From colour, embossing and texture. Its all in the cap.

Trex Decking LineNumber of ColoursDecking Profile
TranscendOpens in a new tab.8Solid
SelectOpens in a new tab.5Solid
Enhance NaturalOpens in a new tab.4Scalloped
Enhance BasicsOpens in a new tab.3Scalloped

Trex composite decking is simply arranged with Best [Transcend], Better [Select, Enhance Natural] and Good [Enhance Basic]. With the same core and capping, the main difference is the aesthetic appearance of the cap.

Transcend has a more natural-looking wood pattern with more distinct grains and distinct colouring. Also, the more durable and scratch-resistant of Trex’s decking.

Transcend decking’s deep woodgrain pattern and luxury colors create a premium, ageless look that leave other composites in the dust.”

Trex

Basic is precisely that. It has a more basic wood pattern, not ugly, but you know it’s a budget offering sitting beside Transcend. Basic is about getting a deck without all the maintenance, not about looks.

NewTechWood Decking LineNumber of ColoursDecking ProfileCapped Sides
Naturale Voyager Series4Hollow4
Naturale Cortes Series6Solid4
Naturale Magellan6Solid4

At first glance, it would seem that NewTechWood has less decking options.

But this isn’t entirely true.  

First, with the boards capped on both sides, you have twice the options in finishes.

Secondly, not sure on the pricing, but NewTechWood offers 22 custom colours which can also be ordered. Of course, with everything custom, greater lead time will be required, and there may be more limitations with delivery and quantity size.

But if you are going to order NewTechWood from Home Depot, these are the colour options available.

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

This rings true with decking as much as art. Trex and NewTechWood boards have a distinctly different look and feel. Ultimately this might be what wins you to one company over the other.

Trex decking has more of a plastic look than NewTechWood. As its name says, it has a more wood finish look. Primarily due to the subtler colour variation and grain pattern.

Trex vs NewTechWood – Durability

Decks are built to be enjoyed, not just to be seen. Durable decking is valuable decking. Decking that wears well under constant foot traffic, the occasional pulling of chairs and spilling of ketchup, grease and beer on the deck. Not that you intend to, but accidents happen. The decking must hold up against all life throws at or drops on it.

Unfortunately, when comparing durability, NewTechWood has limited third-party testing reports available to compare. Making comparison a little more subjective. I don’t have the test equipment to do a thousand equal tests.

That being said, with samples in hand, let’s compare the two.

Decking Staining Comparison

For the accidental spills, the polymer cap makes all the difference. Allowing you to quickly clean up spills with a quick wipe or wash of soap and water.

Warranty wise both require immediate cleaning up of spills to prevent staining. The longer ketchup or anything sits on something, the more the potential of staining.

Decking Breakability

Both deckings require 16” (400mm) joist framing.

The high-density polyethylene of NewTechWood creates a more rigid feel compare to Trex. Potentially having less deflection and more consistent decking strength. But that’s based off of a simple hands test of the decking. It would be interesting to compare the Modulus of Elasticity (MOE) of UltraShield to Trex.

 Modulus of Elasticity (MOE) 
Trex TranscendOpens in a new tab.2 980 MPa432 212 lb

But currently, they don’t have a CCMC report doing exactly that.

Trex vs NewTechWood – Traction

If your constantly getting rain showers followed by sun, the decking you choose is critical for how safe your deck will be. Water on any surface increases the risk of slips and falls. Decking is no exception. The polymer cap of the decking repelling the water, creating potential slipping hazards.

Simply running your hands over each decking shows a difference in traction. NewTechWood’s finer embossing helps for a more natural wood-looking decking but reduces traction. Just like deep tire treads on your truck, increase grip. Trex’s Transcend to Enhance all have deeper embossing than UltraShield translating into better tractionOpens in a new tab..

Fortunately, we have a little bit more information from Australia. Trex Transcend also has the more standard CCMC report for comparing North America decking.  But there is a slight difference in reporting between Canada and Australia.

Slip Resistance (Wet)
Trex TranscendOpens in a new tab.28
Trex EnhanceOpens in a new tab.30
NewTechWoodOpens in a new tab.25 – 34 [P2]

With NewTechWood, we are only given a grade, P2, not the actual number. A little research shows that P2 is in the range of 25 – 34 in traction tests. Meaning roughly, they are both the same.

Not sure how much difference it would make if NewTechWood is 25 or 34 or somewhere in the middle. Either way, expect a little slip and slide in the rain on these deckings.

Trex vs NewTechWood – Pricing

Pricing is always a tricky one, constantly changing from region to region, fluctuating with the season. In fact, just crossing the street at times can save you a few hundred on a deck. But this should give you a sense of the cost of UltraShield and Trex decking. At least in comparison to each other.

NewTechWood Decking LinesLineal Price
Naturale Magellan$3.98 – 4.92  
Naturale Cortes Series$3.65 – 4.00
Naturale Voyager Series$2.85 – 3.20

Compare to Trex, purchasing NewTechWood is limited. Almost any deck company or building supply store sells Trex. The most recognizable composite deckingOpens in a new tab. brand.

The good news is both Home Depot and Lowes nationwide companies sell NewTechWood. Individual stores may stock differently, but online there are sold differently.

Home Depot sells many more packs, ranging from 4 boards to 49. The advantage is a lower lineal price if you use the entire pack. With a little planning and pre-designing, your deck to match the number of deck boards in a bundle will save you some money. Not planning will result in wasted boards and increased costs.

Trex Decking LinesLineal Price
Transcend$4.15 – 4.50
Select$2.65 – 3.10
Enhance Natural$2.05 – 2.50
Enhance Basics$1.85 – $2.20

Trex’s premier line, Transcend, is under $5 a lineal foot, but the cost quickly drops from there. Till reaching Enhance Basics, one of the lowest price composites deckingsOpens in a new tab. with a 25-year warranty.

If you are choosing strictly on price, Trex easily wins. With all their boards costing less than $5 a lineal foot, even their premium line.

On average Trex is priced better, being more economical. Especially on the low end, few quality composites can be purchased for less than Enhance Basics. Which is almost as cheap as pressure-treated, which requires regular upkeep.

Trex vs NewTechWood – Warranty

Overall, very similar warranties, 25-year prorated. Full replacement for the first 10 years and then diminishing 20% every three years after.

Two differences of note.

Labour Warranty

This is a new development in composite decking warranties. The labour to install decking is often as much or more than the cost for the material. Covering labour makes sure you are not on the hook for labour if the decking fails. Increasing the value of the warranty substantially.

Trex steps their warranty based on the contractor doing the work.

  • TrexPro 1 Year
  • TrexPro Gold 3 Years
  • TrexPro Platinum 5 Years

Trex goes into much more detail of what differs the companies. Simply put, the better the company, the more training and experienced the installer, the longer the warranty.

As a deck contractor, I like the idea of offering a 5-year warranty but support Trex’s approach. It just makes sense to have more faith in a more established company than one just starting out. A company with a good track record will do a better job, reducing the chances of failure.

Something that NewTechWood warranty does not cover, labour. If their products fails, it’s on you to pay for it to be removed and reinstalled.

If you never make a warranty claim, this is irrelevant, but it is just one way that Trex offers more protection.

Warranty Claims

To be upfront, Trex has been involved in large-scale warranty claims and class action lawsuits. But even after these, Trex has continued as a company, providing a warranty and seeking to improve their decking. Trex is not new to warranty claims and has a process in place to take care of you if the need arises.

How NewTechWood warranty claims are handled is something you should be aware of.

First, all warranty claims are to address to their warranty department in China.

Furthermore, any warranty claim or dispute cannot be put forth in a class-action lawsuit. Meaning it’s just you and Huidong Meixin Plastic Lumber Products Manufacturing Co. Ltd. You cannot come together as a group.

“5.1 The laws of the People’s Republic of China shall exclusively govern the interpretation of the Limited Warranty regardless of conflict of law principles.”

NewTechWood Warranty

On top of that, any claim that cannot be resolved, can only be settled in China. I am not a lawyer, nor am I familiar with Chinese law. But the pure logistics and cost of hiring a lawyer either at home or in China sounds insurmountable for a homeowner.

How big of warranty claim would you need to justify such action?

In short, their warranty for the average consumer is only as good as they are willing to make it. I have not had a warranty claim against them. They may live up to or exceed their warranty if their decking fails.

But the ability to enforce it, is practically zero. Your best warranty, in this case, is your personal evaluation of the product. If you think it will hold up, excellent. If not, the piece of paper will not be of help to you.   

Trex vs NewTechWood – Which is Better for You?

Now for the hard part, choosing which decking will be right for you for the next 25 or more years. Wow, that’s a long time!

Comparing Trex with NewTechWood

Warranties are similar, except Trex’s is enforceable.

Trex is priced slightly better with more purchasing options.

Traction is a wash, get it? Joking aside, both perform about the same, except Trex has deeper embossing.

Trex has more third-party testing results to prove durability than NewTechWood.

Appearance or colour options. Technically, NewTechWood with their duel sided boards and custom colour ordering options, have more choice. But if you are at Home Depot buying decking, Trex will provide more choice.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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