The Ultimate Guide To Trex Composite Decking [+5 reasons they are eco-friendly]

There’s no place like the back deck for a relaxing evening! 

Your deck serves as a place to gather, host, or just kick back and chill. 

However, that quality chill-time comes at a price. Some decks take a lot of maintenance to stay in good shape. 

At DG Builders, we understand you want the chill time without all the work! 

Thankfully, there is a solution: 

Composite decking materials are a durable, attractive, and low-maintenance alternative to wood or vinyl decks. You can say goodbye to staining, sealing, and repainting!  

Want to know who first came up with the idea for composite decks? 

Trex came up with it in 1996.     

For years now, Trex has been one of the leading manufacturers of composite decking materials - ever since they had their brainwave back in 1996.   

We’ve put together a guide to answer some of your questions about Trex and their products.   

Let’s take a look!

Table of Contents
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    1. What Is Composite Decking?

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    2. Everything You Need To Know About Trex Products

What Is Composite Decking?

If you have ever owned a wooden deck, you know wooden decks have some problems. 

Over time, your wooden deck might:

  • Splinter
  • Crack
  • Warp 
  • Rot
  • Become insect-infested
  • Need repainting or restaining

However, there is an easier solution: Composite decking materials. 

In simple terms, composite decking materials are a blend of recycled plastic and wood fibers - it’s both wood and plastic. This combination makes for a strong, resilient material. 

Composite decking materials are from plastic and wood

Sometimes manufacturers make their boards by molding a composite core and then capping it with a vinyl sheath to make it even more durable. Others make the whole board out of composite materials. 

Composite boards aren’t just for decking. You can also buy outdoor furniture, outdoor structures, and outdoor games such as cornhole. 

Why should you buy composite decking? 

There are several reasons why you should install a composite deck: 

  • Composite decking will not splinter, rot, warp, become infested, or need any refinishing. 
  • Composite decking is easy to clean. All you need is soap and water.
  •  Composite decking is long-lasting.  
  • Composite decking is mainly composed of recycled materials. It’s completely environmentally friendly! 


Now that we know more about composite decking, let’s look at Trex - one of the most popular composite decking manufacturers. 

Trex: An Overview

Trex is the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking products. Let’s find out how the company started.   

Trex's History 

Roger Wittenberg was the first person to try combining wood and plastic to make a new material. In 1998 he made a park bench from sawdust and plastic bags. 

In 1996, Mobil Chemical Co. acquired Wittenberg’s technology and formed Trex LLC.

Trex became the first composite decking manufacturer

After that, Trex went wild with this new technology! 

The result? 

The most durable, sustainable, low-maintenance decking material we know today! 

But it didn’t stop there. 

In 2010, Trex came out with their “game-changer”: Trex Transcend decking. 

Trex Transcend was the superman of decking materials. It could resist damage without chipping or cracking and stand up to the elements without fading. Today, it’s still known as the toughest composite decking on the market.  

Since then, Trex has become a trusted, reliable brand, not only in America but all over the world. 

Manufacturing of Trex Products 

Trex composite lumber is made using a co-extrusion process. In this process, raw materials are combined and then put into an extruder that melts everything together and forces it through a ‘die’ that forms it into the shape of a board. 

After this process, some manufacturers cap the board with a tough shell of polypropylene or vinyl. 

This cap fully bonds to the wood/plastic core to prevent delamination. The cap further protects the board and makes it more durable. 

During Trex’s manufacturing process, color is integrated throughout the entire board, which means scratches and chips won’t show up. The hard outer shell contains UV inhibitors to help prevent fading.  

Trex composite decking is colored the whole way through

Here’s a bird’s eye view of Trex’s manufacturing process: 

  1. Sawdust and plastic film are purchased
  2. The plastic film is cleaned and ground into granules.
  3. The plastic film and sawdust are combined and heated. 
  4. The mixture is mixed to a soft, pliable consistency.
  5. The mixture is formed into boards using profile dies.
  6. Boards are cooled and cut to length. 
  7. Boards are inspected for defects.
  8. Finished boards are wrapped and shipped. 

Installation of Trex Products 

You can install Trex composite decking lumber over substructures of timber, steel, or aluminum. You need a frame that lasts as long as your deck, so at least pressure-treated wood is necessary. 

You can fasten Trex composite lumber with quality composite deck screws or with Trex’s line of hidden fasteners if you want a screw-free finish.  

If you are handy with tools, it’s pretty straightforward to install Trex decking yourself. But if you don’t want to do the installation, find a Trexpro installer near you! 

Trexpro installers are a selection of contractors and installers that Trex has hand-picked as part of their Trexpro Platform. These installers are experienced with all Trex products and have completed product training and installation. They will give you top-notch service and access to all the best Trex products and warranties.  

At DG Builders, we are a part of this league of experts. Give us a call, and your deck will be in good hands! 

Trexpro installers are contractors who install composite decking

Maintaining Your Trex Products 

Your Trex deck should be straightforward to maintain!

You never have to paint it, stain it, or refinish it, and since the color goes all the way through every board, small chips or scratches barely show up. 

Simple soap and water works great for cleaning your deck, with a pressure washer for a deep clean every once in a while. 

The one scenario that may prove challenging is if you have to replace one board. Most composite decks use hidden fastening systems, as opposed to screws driven through each board. While these systems are easy to install, even for beginners, they are harder to work with if you need to replace a board later. 

Different Trex Products 

Trex products aren’t limited to just decking boards! 

Since the company’s birth, its range of products has grown and grown. Today, Trex offers a wide range of outdoor living resources. 

outdoor furniture made from composite material

Trex composite lumber products include: 

You can expect all of these products to be high-quality and durable! 

As far as decking materials go, Trex has 3 main categories: 

1 - Trex Enhance 

Trex Enhance is the basic budget line of decking materials. It’s designed to be price competitive with treated lumber. 

There are two categories within Trex Enhance: 

  • Trex Enhance Basics - The most basic version of Trex materials. Budget-friendly and durable. Comes in three traditional colors.
  • Trex Enhance Naturals - Also basic and budget-friendly. Designed to give the appearance of natural wood. Comes in five multi-tonal, nature-inspired colors to look as authentic as possible. 

Trex Enhance is your best bet if you want solid quality for a budget price. The boards come with square or grooved edges and are scalloped underneath to make them lighter. 

What is the difference between square-edged and groove-edged boards? 

Groove-edged boards are compatible with Trex hidden fastener systems, whereas you can only fasten square-edged boards by driving screws all the way through the boards. 

2 - Trex Select 

A step up from Trex Enhance, Trex Select comes in five rich earth tones. You can get square or grooved edges, and the boards are not scalloped underneath. You can also get heavy-duty 2” square-edged boards with Trex Select. 

3 - Trex Transcend 

Widely known as the most durable composite decking material on the market, Trex Transcend is the best of the best! It is the most expensive and highest quality type of Trex decking. 

Trex Transcend comes in 8 premium colors, from earth tones to tropicals. The boards come with either square or grooved edges, and like with Trex Select you can get heavy-duty two-inch square-edged boards.  

three types of Trex decking boards

Trex’s Commitment to Protecting the Environment 

Are Trex products eco-friendly? 

You bet they are! 

Here’s why Trex products are 100% green: 

1 - They use reclaimed wood 

Trex uses reclaimed wood odds and ends to make their lumber. This wood would otherwise have ended up in landfills - instead, it ends up in Trex products! Also, because they use reclaimed sawdust, Trex doesn’t have to cut down a single tree to make their material.  

2 - They use recycled plastic film 

Trex combines their reclaimed wood with recycled plastic from various sources. The plastic in Trex decks comes from grocery bags, cleaner bags, sandwich bags, the overwrap on paper towels, and other post-consumer waste. 

In fact: The average 500-square foot Trex deck contains 140,000 recycled plastic bags! Those bags would otherwise have ended up in landfills. Trex is one of the largest plastic bag recyclers in the US. 

3 - Their factories operate efficiently and responsibly

Trex’s manufacturing process is clean and green! They use processing methods that eliminate the use of smokestacks and recycle nearly 100% of all factory runoff and refuse. Trex products have a smaller carbon footprint than wood. 

Trex's manufacturing process is clean and green

4 - They work with a sustainable supply chain 

Trex works with supply vendors operating ethically and responsibly. Approximately 95% of all Trex’s vendors are based in the US. Trex also conducts supply chain assessments and in-person interviews to ensure responsible business practices and work with suppliers to reduce environmental impacts. 

5 - They look at the big picture 

Trex, alongside other US Green Building Council members, works to improve the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated with the goal of creating responsible, eco-friendly spaces that improve quality of life. 

Some fun facts: 

  • Trex is one of the largest plastic film recyclers in the US. Every year they save over 500 million pounds of plastic and wood from landfills. 
  • A standard 16-foot Trex board contains recycled material from approximately 2,250 plastic bags.
  • The entire Trex decking portfolio contains 95% recycled material.
  • Trex products can contribute up to 5 LEED points to any structure. LEED is a point-based system created by the US Green Building Council and is designed to honor building projects incorporating safe, green products. 

Cost of Trex Products 

One of the most common questions people ask about Trex is, “How much will a Trex deck cost?” 

Let’s find out:Trex estimates materials for a 300-square foot deck made from Trex Enhance Basics decking (with a previously existing substructure and no railing) costs approximately $1,600. 

What does a 300 square foot Trex deck cost

The substructure costs more than the decking itself. A wooden substructure for a 300-square foot deck can add up to $3,000.  

For most professionally installed projects, materials make up about a third of the total cost. So after paying for installation, the cost will be higher. However, Trex is fairly easy to install yourself, so if you have some experience, DIY-ing your deck will save you some money. 

The bottom line? 

If you already have a substructure and install your decking yourself, the cheapest Trex decking materials costs a little over $5 per square foot. Higher-end types of decking will cost more. 

If you need a substructure and an installer, costs do increase. Accessories like a railing, lighting, stairs, or fancy designs also raise the price. 

Other factors come into play as well, such as geographic region, terrain, time of year, and the complexity of your design. 

If you would like to see what it might cost to make your unique vision a reality, punch some numbers with the Deck Cost Calculator on Trex’s website. 

Trex Warranties

Trex has several different warranties covering different products: 

  • Trex Limited Warranty - This warranty covers virtually all Trex products. It ensures Trex products will not rot, splinter, crack or become termite infested within 25 years. 
  • Limited Fade and Stain Warranty - In addition to the Trex Limited Warranty, Trex decking and fascia products come covered with this warranty, which guarantees that under normal circumstances, they will not fade or stain within 25 years. 
  • Warranties for Licensed Products - Licensed products such as pergolas, rain drainage systems, and outdoor furniture come with their own sets of warranties. 
  • Trex Signature Warranty - Limited warranty for Trex Signature and Trex Reveal railings.
  • TrexTrim Warranty - Limited warranty for TrexTrim trim products. 
  • TrexPro Labour Warranty - This warranty states that if a TrexPro contractor installed your Trex products, then Trex will pay for any labor needed to replace faulty products. 

There you have it! 

Now you know more about Trex, its products, how it manufactures its products, and why its products are good.

If this article has inspired you to make your backyard vision a reality, give us a call today at DG Builders! 

We are a TrexPro contractor and can get you access to all the best Trex products and warranties. 

It’s easy to work with us: 

  1. Give us a call
  2. Schedule an on-site design consultation
  3. Let us install your deck for you! 

Give us a call today! 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

DG Builders is a Trexpro contractor in South Carolina