Staining or Painting Trex

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Old 03-13-08, 10:53 AM
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Staining or Painting Trex

Hi -

Our deck is almost 6-years old, and the contractor who built it suggested we use Trex as a cost alternative. Since that time (and two claims which were denied to us by Trex) the company has discontinued the color ("Natural") we have because "the mold was too visible".

Maybe it's the vintage we have, but it is truly awful stuff, in our opinion, and we are very unhappy with the the product and the company that puts it out.

We would like to know if anyone has any experience with painting or staining Trex. I will do it in a heartbeat if it's worth the trouble just to make it look a little nicer.

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 03-13-08, 11:08 AM
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Hi,

Go to this page, it's from Trex on painting or staining their product:
http://www.trex.com/technicalinfo/painting.aspx
 
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Old 03-13-08, 11:10 AM
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Can't the mold/mildew be washed off?

I've never stained/painted any trex but I'm sure a sastifactory job can be had. The only downside would be it would need recoating and certain intervals to keep it looking nice.

Whenever I have any questions about painting a substrate I've never painted before I ask the paint rep at the store - a real paint store, not dept. They should be able to advise you as to the best coatings for both your deck and desired result.
 
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Old 03-13-08, 11:16 AM
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Thanks, Connie

Thanks very much for the info - Dave
 
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Old 03-13-08, 11:22 AM
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Hi, Marksdr -

The mold can be washed off, yes, but the Trex itself is just a gawd-awful color. The mold is better since I pulled up all the boards and re-gapped them. Now, the deck can drain off water. According to Trex, the contractor did not install the boards correctly (he gapped at 3/16, they specified 1/4). In any case, after a coupled of years, some of the boards had swelled so much that they were pushing against each other and lifting.

Whenever I hear someone is putting in a deck, my immediate response is "Don't use Trex if you know what's good for you".

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 03-14-08, 07:59 PM
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Dave,

I've been dealing with Trex warranty issues for the past 3 or 4 years. When was the last time you talked to Trex about replacing the decking?

Yes, Natural had a HUGE problem with spotting. It's not mold -- it's tannin acid that is causing the spots to appear. That color has long since been discontinued, for just that reason.

Since your deck is Natural, a 3/16" gap was fine when it was installed. The spacers they gave us 5 years ago gave us the choice between 1/8" and 3/16". The ones we have now are either 1/4" of 3/8".

PM me -- I'll put you in touch with a rep at Trex and you WILL get the decking replaced.
 
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Old 03-17-08, 06:41 AM
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Thanks, but not expecting any help from Trex

Hi, Lefty -

Thanks for the offer, but really I'm not expecting one bit of help from the people at Trex.

The last time we contacted Trex (the second time) was October 2006. This was regarding the swelling of the boards. The deck wasn't draining, and all the gaps had closed. I looked at the letter I sent to Trex after contacting the guy who put it in. He told me he gapped it at 3/16th of an inch, and Trex told me the guy did it wrong, and they were not going to help me.

So, at the beginning of last summer, thinking that because the deck wasn't draining it was contributing to the mold problem, I pulled up all the boards and laid them back down, with a 1/4-inch gap. This was when I found out the color had been discontinued, because I needed more boards. Some were finally found about an hour from me at a lumber yard (actually Trex DID help me find them, so they actually did something for me).

By the way, the stuff still looks like crap, that's why I'm thinking about staining it.

Do you need my email address, or can you put me in touch with Trex through this forum?

Thanks again - Dave
 
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Old 03-17-08, 08:47 AM
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Paint tends not to hold up well on horizontal surfaces. Deck stains and sealants tend to be preferred. As I recall past discussions, Cabot's and Sikkens' were most favored here.
 
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Old 03-17-08, 11:08 AM
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Thanks

I kind of knew ahead of time it would have to be a solid stain, but asking about paint was so I didn't limit anything. Also, I didn't think a semi-transparent stain would work in this case, because we are trying to cover up the real ugliness of the Trex. Thanks.
 
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Old 03-17-08, 02:43 PM
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Dave,

I "PM'ed" you. Scroll to the VERY TOP of the forum and on the right side you'll see "Welcome dbruno". Right under that you will see that you have one unread Private Msg. Click on that and you'll be able to read it.

Lefty
 
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Old 04-02-08, 08:26 PM
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someone else in need of direction

Originally Posted by lefty View Post
Dave,

I "PM'ed" you. Scroll to the VERY TOP of the forum and on the right side you'll see "Welcome dbruno". Right under that you will see that you have one unread Private Msg. Click on that and you'll be able to read it.

Lefty

Could you please share the same information with me. Trex sent someone out who took pictures and measurements for over an hour months ago -- no word since. Thank you
 
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Old 04-03-08, 07:08 PM
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jmomrb,

Welcome to DoItYourelf.com and the Deck forum.

If somebody came out and measured and got pictures of your deck you should have a Trex claim number (TX-...)

Have that with you and call Trex at 1-800-BUY-TREX (289-8739). Ask to check the status of your claim.

I have had Trex deny a couple initially for whatever reason. I just had to explain the details they were unclear about and the claims got approved. I have yet to have one totally denied.
 
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Old 04-04-08, 06:09 AM
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Don't Expect a Miracle

Thanks, Lefty, for the other contact at Trex. I got a quick email from her, telling me she would pass it along to Customer Service.

But, I'm not expecting anything from them, and will probably go ahead with staining the deck. I am worried however, that if I stain the deck and then Trex decides to come out (ha ha), absolutely nothing would happen, because now I've changed the material.

Dave
 
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Old 10-12-08, 10:36 AM
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Trex

Originally Posted by lefty View Post
jmomrb,

Welcome to DoItYourelf.com and the Deck forum.

If somebody came out and measured and got pictures of your deck you should have a Trex claim number (TX-...)

Have that with you and call Trex at 1-800-BUY-TREX (289-8739). Ask to check the status of your claim.

I have had Trex deny a couple initially for whatever reason. I just had to explain the details they were unclear about and the claims got approved. I have yet to have one totally denied.
I just installed a brand new deck with trex and the color has faded / stained horribly in just 4 months - installed 6-1-08.

Do you have any suggestions. It looks so bad I plan to stain it but am livid that I have to do this so soon after installation when the reason I choose this material was the color & lack of maintenance....very ironic.

Any advice appreciated.

Marshall
 
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Old 10-13-08, 04:53 PM
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mlongtin,

Welcome to the forums Marshall.

Slow down a minute. Are you complaining about the Trex fading, or about it staining? What color did you install?

Trex has spent literally 10's of millions of dollars to show what their product will look like about 12 to 16 weeks after it is installed because they KNOW it will fade. You're retailer (if you installed it yourself) or your contractor (if it was installed by a pro) should have made you aware of that, and should have sold it based on the color it BECOMES, NOT based upon what it looks like when initially installed.

STAINING is a whole other issue, and I'm in the middle of dealing with several of the decks that I have installed where the customer is complaining about it staining. If that's is your complaint, PM me. (Click on my name and send Lefty a Personal Message.) Then we can exchange e-mails and I'll see if I can get you hooked up with a Trex rep. in the Seattle area.
 
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Old 10-14-08, 06:47 AM
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Don't Expect a Miracle

Hi, Lefty and Everyone Else -

Once again, Lefty, I say many thanks for trying to help me. The first rep you put me in contact with left the company shortly before I sent her an email (I think we discussed this privately). The second rep was very helpful, at first, saying she would have the Warranty Dept. review my situation. When no response came after a couple of months, I sent another email to the rep, who said she couldn't understand why they hadn't contacted me, and told me she would take care of it right away. She did, but what came in her next email was another "Customer-Concern Packet", and was basically the same old stuff that I had filled out the previous two times I sent a complaint in, but this time it was much more in detail.

I threw it in the email trash bin. I'm done with them.

I never did get around to staining the deck, but washed it a couple of times and lived with it. I did get a chance to stain a spare piece, and it really didn't look so hot, but admittedly I did not give it a second coat. Maybe next summer.

But, to everyone looking to use Trex, I still stand by my original phrase: "Don't use Trex if you know what's good for you".

Dave
 
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Old 10-14-08, 07:49 AM
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Dave and Marshall,

Trex may or may not be "stainable", depending on what you use for stain.

A transparent stain won't work. Trex is 50% plastic, and plastic doesn't take stain.

A solid stain may or may not work, again because of Trex being 50% plastic.

Paint will cover it, because paint basically sticks to the surface with very little penetration into the material that you are putting it on.

Dealing with Trex has become increasingly difficult over the past 6 months to a year. I've noticed a lot of empolyee turnover with them.
 
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Old 10-14-08, 09:26 AM
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A latex solid stain [especially if emulsa bond is added] should adhere fine to the Trex...... but once you start applying a coating - you'll need to repaint as it wears away from traffic or weather.
 
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Old 05-06-09, 10:40 AM
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Cleaning Spotted Trex - my experience/suggestion

I use a high concentration of bleach (direct out of the Clorox jug) and a 'scrub brush on a stick'. After trying a series of other deck cleaners this was the most effect and cheapest. I have to do this at least twice a year or it looks like a leopard. We also have some boards that are just discolored since the beginning and look different than the rest - I have no solution for that issue.

I echo all the comments above about on how unsatisfactory the material is and how ironic the no maintenance claims have been. Very unhappy. If any one has more on best staining options please contribute.

BTW we have a (no) gap issue since the installer was used to wood shrinking. It seems that the only option pull them up. If we take these darn boards off I am not putting them back I will use wood. Is there anything cleaver that could be *safely* done with a saw or is that just crazy?
 
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Old 05-06-09, 04:30 PM
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dgorman,

Welcome to the forums.

Trex has had problems for several years, and the spotting that you are talking about was one of their first. That was most common on their Natural color, which has long since been discontinued.

I have seen Trex that has been painted and it seems to be holding up fairly well, without the spotting problems, and it seems to eliminte the 'disintegration' issue as well.

The lack of a gap could lead to other problems -- mainly disintegration of the deck boards. The saw kerf idea would work as far as giving you the gap, but doing it with a Skil saw will make an ugly mess. I doubt that you can get a REALLY straight line with a Skil saw. I can occasionally, but I go through about 150 blades a year and a Skil saw every 3 or 4 years.
 
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Old 06-28-10, 03:01 PM
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I know this thread is a little old, but I thought I'd chime in here.

I had a 20 x 24 Trex deck installed on my newly built house 11 years ago. Like everyone else is saying, it's a mess with the horrid, black spots. (I think it was the "Natural" color.) I've tried everything...Deck Cleaner, Corte-Clean, power washing and straight bleach. Nothing gets rid of the spots.

There is absolutely no gap between boards now, and I'm sure that's contributed to the problem. Water just stands in some spots. Ultimately I know I'll have to replace it, but if I could get it to last a few more years with looking like total crap, I'd like to do that.

Since these discussions, has anyone actually tried staining their decks?

Thanks.

Jane
 
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Old 06-29-10, 06:20 AM
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Hi -

I know this helps very little, but it does make me feel better that I am not the only one having problems with Trex.

I haven't done anything with my deck in a year, but now it's time to at least clean it, as it really looks pretty lousy.

My hope was to replace the Trex with something else, but now with two kids in college I don't think I can handle the expense.

I would still be interested in hearing from anyone who has painted or stained their Trex deck with even moderate success.

Dave
 
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Old 04-09-11, 08:49 AM
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Trex mess

I've got the same moldy spots on my deck. The first year it was not visible although the color did fade a bit. I used "Cayenne" for my color choice. The second year the deck was covered in black spots. I used a deck wash (essentially bleach water) and this did a great job of eliminating the spots. Unfortunately it also faded the color drastically. The deck looked decent for the rest of that year but the following year, of course, the spots returned. No surprise there. I know gapping isn't an issue as I used their proprietary invisible clips that gap it correctly. Not willing to fade my deck more, I just let the mess be. The color of the deck is still fading but the deck railing and balusters are essentially still original color. That is one helluva look! Really sad after being brainwashed that these decks were basically everlasting with little maintenance. Very pricey, too. Still beats getting splinters off cedar, though.
 
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Old 03-12-12, 04:23 PM
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Unhappy Totally Disheartened With Our TREX Deck !!

I just joined "do it yourself". I am fasciated at the comments regarding the Trex product. We installed Trex (natural) almost 13 years ago to our back deck including the balisters and railings. We have had a terrible time trying to keep it clean with constant black spotting and mold problems. I have cleaned it twice a summer with deck cleaners and finally had to resort to straight bleach to get it to look 70% better. We have been very unhappy with the product. Our contractor used the metal brackets Trex sold to place the boards. 98% of the boards are swollen tight to each other, some buckled and the deck holds water on the top of the surface. Several years later we added a gazebo with a bridge that connects it to the main deck. We purchased what a Trex rep. said was the color we had used. It was installed on the 25 ft bridge and was a much darker color of grey or "natural". Trex said it would fade to match the natural we had on the main deck. It has been down for at least 10 years and is still the dark grey color it was the day they laid it. We are elderly and find this to be a sad situation. We are not able to afford to replace the deck and are afraid to paint it fearing it will look even worse than the ugly black spotting. Can you please offer any suggestions for us. We were so pleased to choose Trex as we needed a maintenance free product and we thought that's what we purchased in selecting Trex. My husband is disabled and it leaves the horrible cleaning attempts to me and I am weary with it. Thank you so much for any help you can suggest.
 
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Old 03-13-12, 06:21 AM
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Hi, dgorman -

I'm responding to your post at this time because I just saw that a new post came on the thread about Trex. You wondered "how ironic the no-maintenance claims have been". Not sure if I posted this in my original, but Trex Customer Service is probably the worst I've ever dealt with. Unlike most other companies that sell this type of product, getting a rep from Trex to come and look at a problem must be like moving heaven and earth. I gave up after two tries: the first claim, one I submitted because of the spots from mold and tannin bleeds, they sent me a "special" cleaning kit. The second claim, the one for the boards swelling and trapping the water, they blamed the contractor for gapping the boards at 3/16" instead of 1/4", and the claim was denied. I gave up after that.
 
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Old 03-13-12, 06:24 AM
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Hi, Sweetshot -

Just saw your post and unfortunately all I can tell you is I feel your pain. I have yet to try staining or painting my Trex, because the process will be a long one that will probably require at least 3-4 days in a row with no rain - a good cleaning followed by a drying-out period, then staining and hoping for a rain-day or two after that. I may try=this summer, but I live in the northeast, so getting a number of dry days in a row is hit or miss.
 
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Old 03-13-12, 09:17 AM
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Sweetshot,

Welcome to the forums.

You are probably not going to have very much success getting Trex to do much about your deck. They went through a period several years ago where they were providing the material along with paying for the labor, fasteners and disposal of defective decking. but that was done because of a class action suit filed against them, and it nearly bankrupted them.

painting it may be an option, but like dbruno said, wait for the weather to permit. It needs to dry thoroughly before you start (at least a couple of weeks of warm, dry weather) and stay dry for several days after you finish.

When your deck was installed (around 2000), the gapping that Trex recommended was 3/16" -- plus or minus depending on the temp. when it was installed. There were two spacers that Trex provided us with at that time. One was 1/8" and 3/16" and the other was 3/16" and 1/4". Since then they have come to realize that it needs more gap. The spacers we get now are larger (1/4" and up.)
 
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Old 03-14-12, 10:38 PM
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Several friends/acquaintences who make their living building decks have vowed never to use Trex again. Same problems as posted here, if not worse. Unhappy clients and poor product performance are never good for a small-time contractor trying to eke out a living. TimberTech is a better product (according to my sources in the business), and customer service by the manufacturer is taken seriously the few times it's needed.

A few years ago, I was surprised at how lousy the Trex deck looked that I helped install close to 10 years earlier--really shabby-looking. "Natural" color faded out to almost white, and many of the planks were swelled out of shape as well. So much for the 25-year warranty.
 
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