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

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

Zuri has 6 colours vs Trex’s 24. Trex’s boards are stronger, but Zuri boards will be stained less while providing additional traction but are almost matching in warranty. The most significant difference between Zuri and Trex is appearance. Zuri looks like hardwood, Trex’ painted decking.

But that is just a quick snapshot of the two deckings. There is a lot more to be said to understand better which decking is right for you? What the differences are and what difference they make.

To start. Who are Trex and Zuri as companies?

Trex and Zuri as Companies

Both Trex and Zuri make composite decking, but as companies, they are very different. From approaches, where they are sold and focus of the company.

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.”

TrexOpens in a new tab.

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 Zuri [Royal Building Solutions]

Zuri is not a stand-alone brand but is part of a much larger company, Royal Building Solutions, which is also part of a larger company Westlake. Westlake Company is the second-largest producer of PVC in North America and the third largest worldwide.

Back to Royal Building Solutions. Originally started in Toronto in 1970 as Royal Plastics but has grown significantly over the years along with transformations of names.

Currently headquartered in Woodbridge, Ontario.

Royal Building Solutions manufactures many different exterior products, including vinyl siding, shingles and composite stone, to name a few. With a significant focus on low maintenance, durable products made from PVC.

Zuri decking is one of their offerings, a low maintenance durable product to enhance the exterior of your house.

Trex vs Zuri – Decking Differences

When comparing Trex and Zuri decking, we must first acknowledge we are not comparing apples to apples.

From the core material to how it is finished, Trex and Zuri have taken two very different approaches.

Yes, they are both decking.

Yes, they are both low-maintenance synthetic decking.

But after that, the similarities are less. They really are two different products. Fortunately, you are trying to decide on the best decking for you. Not the best composite decking, which would eliminate Zuri.

Let’s start from the core and move our way out.

Decking Core

Trex is made from a 95% blend of recycled plastic and wood fibresOpens in a new tab.. Similar to other composite decking, a roughly fifty percent blend of wood fibres and low-density polyethylene, extruded into deck boards with a polymer cap.

The plastic helps to protect the wood fibres minimizing maintenance requirements. Creating a beautiful, long-lasting decking requiring minimal upkeep. 

Rather than wood fibres and plastic, Zuri is formed from PVC plastic that contains no organic material. Resulting in nothing in the decking that can rot, grow mildew or mould.

Not only is the PVC more resistant to rot it also is better on hot days. PVC is naturally cooler than composite.Opens in a new tab. Zuri decking is even cooler than wood decking, making hot summer days even more enjoyable on the deck.

DeckingHeat Build Up
Pressure-Treated Pine71

They did not test against Trex decking, which is a shame.

But I can tell you from my own personal experience. Trex decking is hotter to the touch in the sun than pressure treated decking.

So by reason, if Zuri is colder than pressure treated. It is definitely cooler than Trex.

These are two big advantages over Trex, less potential for rot and cooler decking.

But we are only getting started. Then there is the cap.

Decking Cap

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

Trex’s Transcend line is their most durable and attractive cap. Transcend is more scratch-resistant of all their decking lines. On top of that, Transcend has more vibrant colours and variations than their budget boards.

If you are looking for the best-looking Trex decking, buy Transcend.

But one thing that Trex is consistent with is all their boards are wrapped 3 sides. Regardless of the decking line or price. If you buy Trex decking, it will be capped on the top and sides with an uncapped bottom.

Zuri decking is finished similar to laminate decking. You have the core, extruded PVC, covered with photorealistic wood image protected with a clear acrylic coating.

This acrylic is similar to what is used to protect kayaks, recreational vehicles and even optic lenses. Not exclusive to decking but a tried-and-true product to protect against life’s bumps and the UV destroying rays.

It is 30% harder than conventional non-wood decking and five times more resistant to wear than composite decking.

It is just one hard, durable cap.

Which sets Zuri apart from Trex.

Trex vs Zuri Decking Options

What does all this capping do for the appearance of the decking? How many options does each brand give for finishing your deck?

Trex Decking LineNumber of ColoursDecking Profile
TranscendOpens in a new tab.12Solid
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 wood-grain pattern and luxury colors create a premium, ageless look that leave other composites in the dust.”

TrexOpens in a new tab.

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.

Zuri Decking LineNumber of ColoursDecking ProfileCapped Sides
ZuriOpens in a new tab.6Solid3

Zuri is limited in colour. Especially when compared to Trex, Transcend alone has more colour options than the entire lineup of Zuri.

The biggest difference between the two is what they are trying to accomplish.

“Decking that looks as amazing as exotic hardwood can also be high endurance and low maintenance.”

ZuriOpens in a new tab.

They are not trying to have lots of colours but real wood options for the deck. Without all the maintenance. With names like Chestnut, Walnut, Pecan, Brazilia, Weathered Gray, and Hickory.

Most are names of hardwood trees or hardwood finishes.

Compare this to Trex, Spiced Rum or Havana Gold. Nice colours, not wood types.

Trex provides a great range of colours.

Zuri a variety of hardwood.

Which is what you are choosing between the two.

Colour vs Wood.

Which would you rather see out the back door? A hardwood floor or painted deck. 

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

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

Trex vs Zuri – 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.

Decking Staining Comparison

Capped in two different ways, with two different results.

Trex with a polymer cap will clean up easily from accidental spills, preventing most staining. Wipe it up and give it a quick scrub, and you won’t have a problem.

But as their warranty states, care must be taken to wipe up the mess immediately. After a fun evening barbequing on the deckOpens in a new tab.. A quick scan and wipe of anything that may have dripped on the deck will prevent staining.

Zuri also needs to be wiped off.

In thirty days!

Zuri does not test their decking stain resistance if immediately cleaned up but after 30 days. After the spill has dried out on the decking, it can still be easily wiped off.  From crusty ketchup, sunscreen and wine. All of it can be cleaned off after 30 days with out leaving a mark.

Decking Fading

Trex’s cap is pretty impressive, with only slight fading after 25 years of sun. If it fades more, the warranty has you covered, but we will get to that later.

Unlike Trex, Zuri colour is protected by transparent acrylic. The first line of defence cannot fade. Similar to putting a baseball card behind glass as opposed to left un-covered. The ability of the UV to fade the colour is limited.  Resulting in less fading.

Decking Breakability

On the rare occasion, you will actually test the decking’s ability to break. With both, it will take a lot of force to break the decking, especially when supported with joist at 16″ (400mm) o.c., which is required. In fact, Zuri, as with most PVC decking, suggests 12” (300mm) providing even more strength.

But how much can you pack unto the deck before the boards break under the weight? How heavy of furniture is too much?

Modulus of Elasticity (MOE)
Trex TranscendOpens in a new tab.2 980 MPa432 212 psi
ZuriOpens in a new tab.1 731 MPa251 007 psi

Well, the lab testing is that Trex Transcend is stronger than Zuri. Not quite twice, but close enough.

As I already said, the joist spacing will have a greater impact on the deck strength, but it is one more number to compare.

Trex vs Zuri – Traction

Traction is importantOpens in a new tab., when it’s sunny out, raining or snowing. You don’t want to end up on your rear while enjoying your deck.

 Slip Resistance (Dry)Slip Resistance (Wet)
ZuriOpens in a new tab.0.82- 0.86 0.89 – 0.97
Trex TranscendOpens in a new tab.0.43-0.520.32-0.39

Not surprisingly, Zuri has better traction than Trex’s best, Transcend.

As I discovered when researching for Best Composite Decking in SnowOpens in a new tab., PVC decking as a group provides better traction than most composite decking.

If traction is key on your deck, look to PVC deckingOpens in a new tab. it will perform better.

The same here between Zuri and Trex.

Trex is composite with poor traction rating.

Zuri with a PVC core provides excellent tractionOpens in a new tab..

Trex vs Zuri – 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 Zuri and Trex decking. At least in comparison to each other.

Zuri Decking LinesLineal Price
Zuri$5.00 – 7.75

With a single line, or should we say no lines, Zuri has one price point.

Zuri does not have entry-level or budget decking.

To build a Zuri deck, you will be paying a premium price. Even compared to other PVC deckings like Fiberon or AzekOpens in a new tab., Zuri is expensive.

Which sets it apart from Trex. Trex has multiple price points. Allowing you to set a budget and find the decking that will match.

But even if you choose Trex’s best, it will cost you less than Zuri. Zuri cost’s that much more.

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 has three price categories.

  • GOOD
  • BEST

Both Enhance lines are rated as good. The only difference is Basic is designed to be as affordable as possible. Their goal was to be competitive with the cost of pressure treated decking without all the maintenance. They are the lowest-costing quality composite decking.

Select is rated as Good. Priced between premium or Best and entry-level boards.

Transcend is Trex’s BEST decking. The most expensive of Trex decking but still under $5 a lineal foot.

When comparing with Zuri, Trex is the better-priced decking.

But we don’t all drive Fords. Sometimes a better performing or looking product is worth the extra money.

The same can be true with decking.

Trex is priced for almost any homeowner that is serious about having a deck can afford one.

Zuri is not. Zuri is priced to match its look. Few boards match the look of Zuri, and few match the price.

Between Zuri and Trex, budget alone may decide which decking you finish your deck with. If you do not have the money for premium decking. Zuri will not work for you. Trex has great boards at price points that will work better for you.

Trex vs Zuri – Warranty

Trex and Zuri both have 25-year prorated warranty. Hundred percent replacement for the first 10 years decreasing by 20% every three years after.

One significant difference between Trex and Zuri is their labour warranty.

Labour Warranty

This is a new development in composite decking warrantiesOpens in a new tab.. 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 warrantyOpens in a new tab. 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.

Not as simple as their material warranty but still of great value if their decking needs to be replaced soon after installing.

Zuri warrantyOpens in a new tab. includes labour for the first 24 months at their discretion. They will either pay for someone to replace or repair the defective decking or pay the equivalent money not exceeding the original cost.

Unlike Trex, Zuri does not limit their labour warranty to select deck builders. Except like any company that the decking must be installed correctly to start with. So, some hack who doesn’t know how to read an Installation Guide will not be covered.

Also, Zuri tops out at two years, where with a dedicated TrexPro, you can have as much as five years of coverage.

Fading Warranty 

Slightly worded differently, but both Trex and Zuri warranty against fading with the limit of 5 Delta-E.  Barely noticeable with the naked eye.

The one difference is prorating.

Trex’s fading along with the rest of its decking diminishes with time. The older the board, the less compensation if it fades.

Zuri provides 100% replacement value against fading for the full 25 years. If the decking fades excessively, regardless of how old it is, they will refund you the full amount. Now that quite a promise. If, for some reason, their decking does not have the vibrant colours that they had 24 years ago that you loved. Your money back. I can only imagine how long the colour will last if it hasn’t deteriorated in 25 years.

As noted, there are some slight differences between Trex and Zuri’s warranties but overall, being the same length with only minor differences, I would rate them equally.

You can disagree but I don’t see a big difference between warranties to favour one company over the other. Trex and Zuri are tied for warranties.

Trex vs Zuri – 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 vs Zuri for

  • Number of colours
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Traction
  • Warranty

As we have gone over all these, there is not a clear winner.

Warranties are similar. Durability is a toss-up with Trex being stronger, but Zuri is more stain resistant. Traction does go to Zuri, but you can walk on both.

Neither Trex nor Zuri is best.

But I feel the deciding factors between the two is.

Price or Appearance

If the budget matters, Trex will be for you. Not that Zuri doesn’t provide value at its price, but it simply will cost more.

Trex has many good-looking, low-maintenance, composite decking boards at a price you can afford.

But none of Trex’s boards come close to looking like real hardwood as Zuri. If you love the look of hardwood. Have a house that will be complemented by a beautiful wood-looking deck and can afford the little extra in cost. Zuri is the decking for you.

Slightly limited in decking options but more than made up by the realistic look of their decking. Zuri is a class to itself. 

Whichever you choose, I hope you have many summers out on your deck, enjoying the sun, friends and family. Few rooms are more inviting than a deck out your back door.

There are many composite decking brands. Click the link to see some of the best composite decking brands Opens in a new tab.on the market.

Ryan Nickel

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

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