When it comes to Trex vs. wood, there's more to the story than the upfront price. While wood may be cheaper on day one, it could end up costing you far more by day 365 (and well beyond). Trex means quality, beauty and minimal maintenance, saving you time, money and everything that comes with a call to the handyman. Plus, the high-performance composite shell of Trex decking resists rotting, staining and cracking.
Please refer to the Decking and Railing section of this FAQ for details on all of our product lines, and to explore the difference between our early-generation and newer-generation decking. Unsure if your deck is made with Trex? Start by reviewing our decking product lines to compare your decking against our collection. If you're still unsure, contact us over the phone.
Trex decking is designed for a low-maintenance experience. A simple soap-and-water clean is all it takes. For more details, refer to our Care and Cleaning section.
Trex products offer superior durability and performance that you can't get from wood. Trex decking resists termites, won't rot, warp, or splinter-and never needs staining or painting. What's more, Trex decking is made from 95% recycled materials: That's an eco-friendly decking choice you can feel great about. To learn more please review our Trex vs. Wood page.
While most of the raw materials used in making Trex are recycled, these materials are carefully processed to ensure the highest level of quality and performance. The end result is decking that performs better than wood, lowering your cost over time through lesser maintenance. To learn more please review our Always Green page.
With pressure-treated wood decks, maintenance costs add up over time. Although Trex costs more initially, you'll never have to sand, stain or paint your Trex deck. Over the life of your deck, those reduced maintenance costs add up to a greater value than wood—not to mention the value of the added time spent enjoying your deck rather than working on it.
Understanding the differences between early-generation Trex decking and new high-performance Trex decking is an important factor in understanding what to expect from different kinds of decking. You'll notice a few key differences in performance and longevity, but there is one benefit both products have in common: Each is made from 95% recycled materials.
If you've noticed any staining, scratching or fading over the years, it's likely you have early-generation decking. While our early-generation decking was groundbreaking for its time, spills and scuffs can still leave a mark. Newer-generation decking is easy to spot because of its resilience. Today's Trex decks resist blemishes with an innovative, high-performance shell that wraps around three sides of our deck boards.
Early-generation composite decking (Trex Origins®, Trex Accents®, Trex Profiles®, Trex Brasilia® and Trex Contours®) represented a breakthrough for low-maintenance and durability. While wood decking inevitably suffered splinters, warping and rotting, and required considerable maintenance, early-generation Trex never had to be stained and did not rot, warp or twist like wood. Periodic cleanings with a composite deck cleaner were far easier than the dreaded sanding and staining required to maintain wood decks. As the category evolved, this early-generation composite was offered in additional colors and with grain patterns that reflected a more natural appearance. Even so, all early generation wood-plastic composites, whether Trex or a competitor's product, were not stain, scratch or mold-free, and did fade slightly in color as they naturally weathered. To address these issues, Trex introduced a new kind of high-performance decking in 2010. As of 2014, Trex no longer manufactures any early-generation composite decking.
Newer-generation Trex deck boards (Trex Transcend®, Trex Enhance®, Trex Select®, Trex Contour®) are manufactured with a high-performance shell that wraps around three sides of the composite board to protect it from the elements, providing resistance to fading, staining, scratching and mold. In addition to improved performance, the shell technology offers:
Yes, a groove can be cut in the side of Trex decking by using our Trex Groove Cutter to accept our recommended hidden fasteners, a system that enables deck installation without visible screw heads on the walking surface. More conveniently, Trex decking is also available in pre-grooved profiles, ready to install with our Trex Hideaway® Hidden Fastening System.
Wood or gas fire pits should not be placed on top of Trex decking. However, gas fire pits may be installed beside or between deck boards with a protective wall made of stone or other fire-resistant material used for insulation.
Wood burning fire pits should not be placed on top of Trex decking unless installed with DeckProtect™, a product designed to temper extreme heat and loose embers. For more information, please visit their website.
The unyielding shell of our high-performance decking—Trex Transcend, Trex Select and Trex Enhance—means it never needs painting or staining. The rich color and protective finish are engineered right into the shell, and the shell is designed to remain free of rotting, splitting, splintering and insect damage for 25 years. Not to mention, painting Trex decking may void your warranty. However if you are interested in painting the ends or underside of Trex decking please refer to the Paint & Stain Technical bulletin.
Most area rugs aren't a problem with Trex decking, but we do recommend cleaning underneath them regularly. In rare cases, rugs made of plastic or viscose materials may bleed, drawing colorant out of the decking or making them difficult to remove. Always allow your decking to fully dry before fitting a rug into place.
Trex does not endorse the use of any non-recommended fastener. If any condition occurs which is attributable to the use of a non-recommended fastener, such conditions would not be covered under the Trex Limited Warranty. Please see our Installation Guide for more information.
Trex offers a wide variety of decking options and railing configurations capable of being custom curved. When considering a deck with these characteristics, utilize the “find a builder” tool to determine which professionals in your area work on curved profiles. When planning curved railing, visit our Trex Signature® Curved Railing page for design and ordering guidance.
Trex can only be installed over a solid surface when using a sleeper system; see the sleeper system guidelines in our Installation Guide.
Glue cannot be used as a primary fastener for Trex decking. When using Trex Fascia, glue can be used as a secondary fastener-see Fascia instructions in the Installation Guide for more details Installation Guide for more details.
Trex products should not be ripped to reduce thickness, but can be ripped to reduce width. As long as the board can still be installed per the installation instructions, the warranty will be valid. Please use care when fastening ripped boards, as pre-drilling may be necessary.
Like many other outdoor surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt, beach sand, wood decking, other brands of composite decking, etc., Trex decking can get hot due to weather and sun exposure. On such days, care needs to be taken to make sure skin does not have extended contact with the surface of the deck, especially with young children and those with special needs. Please note also that the darker the color, the hotter the deck will feel. For hotter climates, consumers should consider choosing a lighter color.
How well your Trex deck endures Mother Nature depends upon what type of Trex you have. Early generation composite decks - such as Trex Accents®, Trex Origins®, Trex Profiles®, Trex Brasilia® and Trex Contours® - do not have the high-performance shell with enhanced fade, stain and mold resistance. As such, these traditional composites will fade naturally over time, achieving their weathered color after 12-16 weeks. For Natural Weathering Information, click here. Newer generation high-performance composites - Trex Transcend®, Trex Enhance® and Trex Select® - have the protective shell technology that provides superior fade and stain resistance.
Trex boards are 50-70% heavier than comparable lumber sections.
The cost of a Trex deck typically runs from $9 to $16 per square foot. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for. Initially, Trex decking and railing does cost more, board for board, than wood decking and railing. However, the payoff you get over time in decreased maintenance costs and increased leisure time provides compelling value-so much so, that you'll often see Trex decks referenced in the listings of homes for sale as an indicator of quality and value that homeowners and real estate agents tout when selling a home. Of course, the real value is in the time that you enjoy spending outdoors on your Trex deck. Our Cost Calculator will have your closest estimate for materials costs.
All Trex products, when properly installed for approved applications, are either code compliant or are undergoing rigorous code compliance review for the International Residential Code (IRC) and/or the International Building Code (IBC). Check with your local building code department for jurisdictional requirements.
Nothing is more important than your safety outdoors. At Trex, we do everything we can to ensure it. Our Transcend and Select decking lines retain a Class B fire rating, while our Enhance decking lines retain a Class C fire rating; however, they are not fireproof.
Trex wood plastic composite products are not structural and should only be used for intended design purposes such as walking surfaces, guardrail systems, fencing and trim.
The breadth of the Trex lineup means that there are Trex products to suit nearly any residential or commercial need. Trex decking is widely used in commercial and public projects throughout the U.S. and around the world, ranging from a landing at Mt. Rushmore and a resort in Dubai, to a pier in Philadelphia and New Jersey-shore boardwalks replacing those destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Of course, Trex is more than just decking. The sleek profile of Trex Signature® railing works as well for commercial and multi-unit residential complexes as it does for your own backyard, while Trex Outdoor Furniture™ can be found in many coastal resorts under Trex Pergola™ installations.
Trex high-performance decking and railing products combine low-maintenance upkeep and designminded style—all backed by our 25-, 35- and 50-year limited warranties. The protective shell technology means all of our deck boards resist staining, fading and cracking, with the highest level of scratch resistance available from our Transcend Earth Tones and Tropicals decking lines, followed by Select Earth Tones, Enhance Naturals and Enhance Basics. Beyond that, Trex offers a variety of high-performance railing choices to meet different levels of style, performance and affordability.
Trex decking is made from 95% recycled materials, including reclaimed wood and sawdust as well as recycled plastic from many common household items, such as the plastic overwrap on packaging for paper towels and toilet paper, dry cleaner bags, newspaper bags, grocery and shopping bags. Trex annually salvages and keeps more than 500 million pounds of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills. That makes Trex one of the largest plastic film recyclers in the U.S. In fact, the average 500-square-foot composite Trex deck contains 140,000 recycled plastic bags. To learn more, please visit our Always Green page.
Calcium chloride or rock salt can be used to melt ice and snow on Trex decking. Care should be taken to rinse off when the weather makes this practical. Use plastic shovels (never metal) to remove snow and ice. A metal shovel can possibly chip the decking surface and void the warranty.
Trex should never be sanded. Sanding will change the appearance and protective qualities of the Trex material and will void the warranty with respect to any condition caused by sanding.
For our early generation composite decking (Trex Accents, Trex Origins, Trex Brasilia, Trex Profiles or Trex Contours), Trex does not recommend the use of a power washer. Use of a power washer will damage the decking surface and will void the warranty with respect to any condition caused by the power washing.
Trex high-performance decking (Trex Transcend, Trex Enhance and Trex Select) can be power washed. Use only a fan tip and up to a 3100 psi power washer to remove dirt and debris. The fan tip should be no closer than 8 inches (20.4 cm) away from the protective shell during use.
For color transfer issues (color transfer can happen when baluster spacers rub against balusters during installation), use Mr. Clean®, Magic Eraser® Original or Magic Eraser® Extra Power for spot removal. For small surface scratches, marks or scuffs, try Plexus® Plastic Cleaner. Never use acetone or other solvents on Transcend or Select railing.
A pressure washer with no greater than 3100 psi that has a fan attachment/adjustment and soap dispenser may be used to remove dirt, concrete dust, or other types of construction dirt. Spray deck with soap, and then follow by gently scrubbing each deck board with a soft bristle brush. Spray/rinse each individual deck board using fan tip no closer than 8" from the decking surface. RINSE THOROUGHLY. If dirty or hard water containing minerals is used for cleaning, a film-like surface may appear in spots after drying. Generally, these spots can be cleaned with white vinegar or a deck brightener product. On railing, they can be cleaned with Magic Eraser® or white vinegar. Refer to our Care & Cleaning Guide for more information on upkeep and warranties.
Trex decking requires far lower maintenance than wood decking, but does require some maintenance to keep it looking good throughout the years, much like washing your car. For early generation composite decking (Trex Accents), periodic cleaning with a deck wash is required. Trex high-performance decking (Trex Transcend, Trex Enhance and Trex Select) require less work - a simple soap and water cleaning is all that is necessary to maintain the beauty of the products.
Newer-generation Trex decking holds strong against potential damage. All of our decking lines are scratch resistant, protecting your space against nicks, cracks and splitting.
Trex DeckLighting is easy to install, and even easier to enjoy. Our plug-and-play setup is one of the most intuitive and simple lighting systems on the market. Refer to this video for the basics, and if you have any questions feel free to give us a call. We're happy to help you add lighting to your new (or existing) deck.
Trex requires that you use only the Trex transformer supplied with our lighting. Using any other transformer voids the warranty.
For small children and pets, our code stair kits come standard with in-between spindles, which provide less than a 4" spacing between verticals. In addition, you may want to use a gate at the top of the stair.
Many areas follow BOCA or UBC codes or variations of the BOCA or UBC codes. All Trex Spiral Stair products pass BOCA/UBC code requirements. We recommend that you contact your local building inspector to find out what code applies to your area and how that code is interpreted.
Installing a stair kit is a two-person job. For the typical do-it-yourselfer, the stairs can be installed without the help of a contractor. However, we do recommend that everyone (experienced or inexperienced) consult a qualified contractor. The contractor can help identify whether any additional structural support is necessary and required, and he or she can reroute pipes and electric lines. For two do-it-yourselfers, the spiral stairs can be assembled in about 6-8 hours. For all stair kits, you need basic hand tools and an electric drill. Before installing, we strongly recommend that you read the entire installation manual.
Galvanized stairs must weather before painting. Once weathered, contact your local paint store for the appropriate primer and paint for something that has been galvanized.
Trex Spiral Stairs offer all the space-saving advantages of traditional spiral staircases in two material choices and come with custom, high-performance composite treads made from Trex decking. Trex Spiral Stairs were developed by the leading spiral stair manufacturer in the country, The Iron Shop, under a trademark license agreement with Trex Company, Inc
A PDF of our installation manual is available here.
The following are available for Trex Spiral Stairs:
LA City Standard Plans for spirals:
Std Plan 111-T City of Los Angeles for CBC/IRC Metal Spirals for all Trex Spirals
Std Plan 111 has also been adopted for City of San Diego, Calif.
City of Los Angeles Licensed Steel Fabricator #1150 (City of Los Angeles conducts random inspections on our fabrication plant in Broomall, Pa.)
County of San Bernardino Licensed Fabricator
If you run into a problem, call Trex Spiral Stairs at 877-488-1906. Our kits are guaranteed for 25 years from date of purchase.
You will need to measure the exact height within .25" between the landing area and the top of the deck, including the width of the decking to ensure that your stairs end on the correct side.