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Trex composite decking: what you need to know

Mat on Trex Transcend Island Mist

This year has seen the demand for Trex composite decking continue to soar as installers and homeowners alike increasingly recognise the benefits of this alternative to traditional timber decking. From its sustainability credentials to the ease of installation it promises, it’s easy to see why more people are choosing Trex.

Although the summer decking season may now be coming to a close, many installers across the UK still have decking projects lined up. If you’re thinking of using Trex for an upcoming project, here’s everything you need to know.

Is Trex better than traditional timber decking?

Yes, when comparing performance and durability Trex is far superior. It won’t splinter, rot or twist and you’ll never need to paint or stain the boards – backed by the industry-leading 25-year Trex limited residential warranty. What’s more, Trex is manufactured using up to 95 per cent recycled materials, making it as sustainable as it is durable.

What materials is Trex decking made from?

Trex composite decking is made using a range of recycled materials, including plastic food packaging and plastic bags. Essentially every 50-square meter deck created with Trex contains 140,000 recycled plastic bags.

Trex decking boards also contain reclaimed timber and sawdust, as well as recycled plastic – saving upwards of 200 million kilograms from going into landfill each year. This makes Trex one of the biggest plastic film recyclers in the U.S.

Why is Trex more expensive than timber if it’s made from recycled materials?

Whilst Trex decking boards are made from 95 per cent recycled materials, these require careful processing in order to maintain the highest quality and performance.

Although the initial cost of Trex may be more expensive than traditional timber decking, costs are saved throughout the deck’s long lifetime thanks to the elimination of annual maintenance costs – meaning it’s actually better value for money.

What is Trex Joist Tape?

TrexProtect® joist tape is one of the simplest ways to make your decking last longer. The tape is Butyl-based which helps deck screws hold longer and works more effectively than acrylic or asphalt-based tape – and it even has a 20-year warranty. It’s easy to use: simply stick the joist tape to the top of your substructure and protect against moisture penetration.

All approved TrexPRO installers use TrexProtect joist tape for each Trex deck they install.

What is the Trex high-performance shell?

Decking boards in the Trex Transcend® and Trex Enhance® ranges are manufactured with a high-performance shell. This shell encompasses the board in order to protect from the outdoor elements, while still letting the board breathe. Using this shell technology also prevents the boards from any staining, scratching, mould and fading.

Using the high-performance shell allows Trex to add better aesthetics to the boards, including more refined grain detail and richer colour palettes. This shell also makes maintenance incredibly simple – an occasional pressure wash or soapy water will be enough – and it also provides fade and stain resistance.

It’s because of this shell that Trex is able to warranty its boards for 25 years when fitted by TrexPROs – even with the minimal maintenance required.

Is Trex composite decking hot in the sun?

Any surface in the sun on a hot day can easily become too hot to walk on and Trex has invested in a range of studies to test this in relation to other materials. When comparing darker coloured composite boards with pressure treated timber stained the same colour, it was found that the timber became even hotter than the Trex boards.

Colour is the biggest factor to consider in terms of how hot the deck will get in the sun: lighter coloured boards will retain less heat.

Can Trex decking be specified for commercial projects?

Yes – Trex has an incredibly versatile range of materials which will often fit the needs of most residential or commercial projects. Trex has been used in many projects around the world that are in public and high foot traffic areas. These include Mount Rushmore, Dubai resorts, and even replacing the pier and boardwalks in Philadelphia and Jersey Shore following the damage left by Hurricane Sandy.

Is Trex heavier than timber decking?

When directly comparing Trex decking with timber decking, you will find that Trex boards are approximately 50-70 per cent heavier. Trex Enhance does however offer a lighter alternative thanks to its scalloped underside finish.

Can I use Trex Decking structurally?

Trex composite decking products are not structural, and must be used for intended design purposes such as walking surfaces.

How do you make grooves in the sides of Trex boards?

You can create grooves in the sides of boards with the Trex Groove Cutter which is designed to accept the recommended secret fixings. You can however make things even easier by using the pre-grooved Trex boards, which use the Trex Hideaway® Hidden Fastening System.

Can you rip down/cut Trex boards?

While the board thickness should not be ripped, you can cut the boards width-wise. Provided the installation instructions can still be followed, the warranty will still be valid but please note that pre-drilling may be required to fix ripped down boards.

Can you glue Trex boards?

Glue should not be used as a primary fastener but if you’re using Trex fascia, glue can be used as a secondary fastener. You can see fascia instructions in the Trex Installation Guide.

Can I use any fixings for Trex decking?

Trex does not endorse using any non-recommended fixings as this will impact the warranty. Further information on fixings can be found in the Trex Installation Guide.

Can you install Trex decking over a solid surface?

Yes, you can only install Trex decking over a solid surface unless using a specialist system such as a sleeper system. More details on sleeper system guidelines can be found in the Trex Installation Guide.

Should I paint or stain my Trex composite decking?

Trex Transcend and Trex Enhance both share the high-performance shell, which means there is never any need to stain or paint the boards. The colour and protective finish are engineered into the shell by Trex during the manufacturing process, and this provides the 25 year warranty.

Can you sand or jet wash Trex decking?

Never sand Trex, as this will ruin the protective surface and void your warranty.
You can however jet wash Trex composite decking. Make sure you use up to 3100 psi as this will remove any dirt and grime, and don’t use a fan tip any closer than 20cm during jet washing.

Is Trex composite decking UK no maintenance?

Like most things left outside, the boards will get dirty over time. However, one of the many benefits of using Trex composite decking is that the only maintenance you will need to carry out is a simple wash with soapy water or a jet wash.

How can I melt ice on my Trex decking?

You can use rock salt, also known as calcium chloride, to melt snow and ice on your decking during the colder months. Once the conditions are safe you should then rinse off any left-over salt.

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