Opinions on Trex

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Old 06-03-13, 06:05 PM
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Opinions on Trex

My daughter wants to replace her 5/4 PT deck with Trex. She is looking at Trex Enhance at HD. My only Trex experience is a deck I installed on our cottage about 10-12 years ago. I wasn't impressed. It stains easily and the color has faded. The plus side is that it hasn't rotted and is probably as sound as when I put it down, The literature for Trex seems to indicate that those problems have been solved. Supposedly this new stuff is better. Anyone have an opinion?

Question #2 - The Trex we looked at is rabbeted for a pricey hidden fastener system. Are the Trex hideaway fasteners worth the price? We like the idea of not having the visible screw holes.
 
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Old 06-03-13, 06:35 PM
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IMO, and you know I am not a carpenter, I would use wood. I researched all this when I did my two decks, and I am glad I did not waste the money on trex.....

Composite Decking vs Wood

I am sure Larry ( chandler) will agree.....
 
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Old 06-03-13, 06:47 PM
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Does she know this is going to cost at least 3 times as much as wood?
 
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Old 06-03-13, 06:51 PM
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They also have the screws that counter sink and you fill the hole with a matching plug.
 
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Old 06-03-13, 10:03 PM
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I have lived in my current house since December of 1999. I have a deck that was built with pressure treated wood that was in place when I bought the place. Other than one plank that has a rot hole about an inch in diameter the wood is completely sound. It had been treated with some kind of preservative prior to my buying the place but nothing since. I'll admit it does look a bit worn and dingy but would probably clean up nicely with a pressure washing and sanding.

So, figure my deck is at least fifteen years old and I live in an area prone to wood rot and decay from all the moisture. I would say that real wood is the most economical, especially if you do the maintenance every couple of years.
 
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Old 06-04-13, 03:00 AM
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I keep losing posts. Maybe they are being deleted for some reason. I have had clients ask for trex decking. Their reasoning was that it would last "forever". I explain to them trex will last as long as the PT subframing lasts. Then it all comes down. The expense factor is another one. Once they get the sticker shock, they usually go with #1 premium PT.
 
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Old 06-04-13, 03:16 AM
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Hidden fasteners are great until you have to remove a board in the middle of the field because of some issue. Then you have to peel back the whole deck to replace one board.

Like most things, tile comes to mind, buy an extra stick and tuck it away. They are changing sizes, profiles, composition etc and you probably won't find a match if you need to buy more down the road.

Composite does not mean maintenance free. It expands and contacts at a fairly decent rate. I have seen it shear off fasteners, and I have seen it buckle from being spaces too close together.
 
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Old 06-04-13, 04:30 AM
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I have a deck that has trex and another that is #1 pt. they are the same age. The pt requires maintenance every few years. the trex needs none. The trex is so hot with the sun on it you cannot walk on it with no shoes. I prefer the wood.
 
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Old 06-04-13, 06:26 AM
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I appreciate the input regarding the hidden fasteners and the hot Trex. That's new information to me.

My kid has PT that's about 10-12 years old. It has some minor problems with a couple of cupped boards, some splintering and it's looking a bit tired. Price doesn't seem to be a high priority, she didn't flinch when I gave her an estimate. I think appearance is the driver. She went to a cook out at a friend's house where they had a new Trex deck and she was impressed.

I have a PT deck that's 25 years old and would choose wood again, but she's looking for low maintenance and good looks.
 
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Old 06-05-13, 09:21 AM
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I've done quite a bit of research about Trex since I wrote the OP. We also visited a couple of her neighbors that have Trex decks. My daughter has decided on Trex Enhance sold at big orange. I agree with her choice. Like everything else in life there are pros and cons. The biggest con is cost. I've read differing opinions regarding the surface temp of Trex. One blog I read mentioned a test that showed there was little difference between the temp of Trex and that of other deck materials of a similar color. Most of the complaints about hot deck planks were from people in AZ.
Mike, the link that you posted is filled with outdated information and some of it is just plain wrong.
 
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Old 06-05-13, 10:49 AM
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I've built decks with Trex as the boards, and had to get on the knee pads by 11 am due to it being too hot (you can see waves of heat rising) . And they were built in an area known to hit 100 degrees. If you can provide shade, it would help. But I have also seen too many houses with Trex in poor condition. It tends to fade away, and think of concrete with rock salt on it -- that's how the trex looked. Maybe if it's shaded it would last better. And I have done the hidden fasteners, it looks good, but if you have to pull up a board, depending on where the board is, then I'd just cut out the bad one and surface nail the new one.
 
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Old 06-05-13, 11:08 AM
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I think trex is a mistake wayne... But just my opinion.

I would ask chandler for specifics...

But if you decided then its a done deal....
 
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Old 06-05-13, 11:34 AM
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Wayne has already stated that if it were his he would use real wood. But, it is his daughter's house.

Remember, you can always tell a woman, but you can't tell them much.
 
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Old 06-05-13, 12:28 PM
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Mike - not my decision, not my house, not my money. I tried to talk her into IPA - her response "I don't want wood, its to much work and it doesn't look good."

With that said I disagree with your opinion of Trex. Under the right circumstances I might even consider it for my own home and I'm a wood guy, my deck is wood. I've built or helped build a dozen decks - all wood.
 
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Old 06-05-13, 06:19 PM
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Pictures of Trex with hidden fasteners buckling under the heat from expansion. Like any flooring, you need to leave room for expansion. As far as heat, wood is the least likely to transfer heat and yes, composites are hot when subjected to direct sunlight.

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Old 06-06-13, 05:30 AM
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CZIZZi - I think the bottom picture is something other than Trex Enhance. It looks like a T&G product and it may even be wood.

Thermal expansion characteristics was one of the parameters that I looked at. Trex provides a temperature stability specification in their installation guide. The stuff appears to be relatively stable but you are correct when it comes for the need for proper spacing. I think the pricey hidden fasteners set the spacing automatically. In any case, I would give odds that it is more stable than PT wood.


My last word on Trex - and no I'm not a company shill. Trex sells decking at several price points. Their high end decking is not the Trex decking of a decade ago when Trex was the subject of several lawsuits and a lot of internet scorn. IMO cost is the biggest and maybe the only advantage PT pine has over Trex. With the availability of redwood and western red cedar very limited the options in my neck of the woods are IPA, PT and composites.
 
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Old 06-06-13, 11:24 AM
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Wayne, the wood that you are referring to as IPA is actually spelled Ipe although pronounced ee-pay.
 
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Old 06-06-13, 12:02 PM
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My first choice would be to enjoy an ice cold IPA on an Ipe deck. My 2nd choice would be a lager.
 
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Old 06-06-13, 01:36 PM
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Wayne - the pictures are definitely of composite deck as I torn the deck out and replaced everything. Whether it is trex or another company is another question. The back story is that the client wanted the deck waterproofed (open area underneath). I was busy so she hired someone else who did the following (it gets interesting) - They removed the decking, installed OSB (outside deck), Covered with ice and water shield rolled product, re-installed the decking, ran around 400 screws thru the ice and water shield and then put a vinyl beadboard ceiling up underneath. I got there after and it is when I took the pictures.

I found the beadboard ceiling sagging from water. The OSB was soaked and the decking was trashed from warping and twisting. There was also a 3rd story deck above this which they had supported by laying a 4x4 placed on top of the composite. The composite was hollow by the way supporting a deck above. Anyway, was a complete tear out and redo. Turns out the contractor was un-licensed and un-insured so the home owner had no recourse as they could not find him.

In case you think I may be making this up.....

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Old 06-06-13, 03:09 PM
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Oops. I've never used it but I read a lot of good stuff when I was researching Trex. I knew it was ee - pay so I must have ignored the spelling. I probably would have pronounced it wrong (ipe as in wipe) if I knew it was spelled that way.
 
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Old 06-06-13, 03:34 PM
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Czizzi - Nobody could make that sh*t up. Talk about a soup sandwich. That looks like the crappy product pictured in Mike's linked blog. I'm pretty sure the stuff isn't a Trex product. It amazes me that people will hire somebody without checking their bona-fides or even taking the time to educate themselves about what they are spending their hard earned money on.

My kid bought the Trex and decided to have it installed by the same guy that did her neighbors decks. He's giving her a pretty good deal since we're doing the demo this weekend and all he has to do is nail down the planks. He is trying to talk her into the Trex posts and railings though. According to the deck guy he's doing about 50-50 composite/wood. He also said he prefers wood because it smells better when you cut it.

I appreciate your input on this because she asked my advice and I didn't know squat about the stuff. I built a small Trex deck on our NH house years ago and while it was easy to install, it also stained and faded. That's my only Trex experience.

A small part of me is hoping that the Trex doesn't look too good because my 25 y/o PT deck is showing it's age. God forbid wifey decides that she wants one too.
 
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Old 06-06-13, 05:37 PM
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Wayne - The client said that a "friend" said he was good.....The thought of checking up on him never was thought of. I had done work for the family for years on one of their commercial properties, but for some reason she wanted the personal residential stuff done right away. Everything this Yahoo touched had to be rebuilt. Sliding Patio door - rebuilt, entrance door- rebuilt, 4 picture windows - rebuilt, it was unbelievable.

The house was well built and had 2 " of rigid foam attached to the sheathing before the siding was put on. It was lap cedar siding. Guess what size nails they used to put up the siding after they removed all to install the windows.......
 
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