Deckorators Vs. Trex: Cost, Durability and Pros & Cons

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deckorators vs trex

Composite decking is the new era of deck building.

With wood grain patterns and all the aesthetic benefits of natural wood plus none of the negative aspects, composite is a great decking choice.

The problem comes in deciding which composite to use, what brand to go with and which styles best suit your needs.

Two of the bigger names in the industry are Trex and Deckorators. Each brings their own style and construction to the mix, making your decision even tougher.

This article will explain composite decking in more detail and compare Trex and Deckorators to help you decide. We will look at the good, bad and all of the features of the two brands as well as highlight other decking options so you have all the information you need.

Benefits of Composite Decking

Composite decking has a lot of benefits and they can be the defining decision factor for you.

Let’s look at the top benefits of composite decking.

  • Doesn’t crack or splinter. Composite decking, unlike natural wood, can withstand heat and cold cycles without cracking or splintering.
  • Long life. The average composite deck should last at least 20 to 25 years.
  • Low maintenance. There is no need to seal or maintain the decking to the levels that natural wood requires.
  • Cleans easily. With a broom and garden hose you can keep your deck clean year round.
  • No painting. Composite decking is dyed through at the factory and never requires painting like wood decks.

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Decking Materials

buyers guide choosing right decking

There are several factors to consider and evaluate before you buy any decking materials. You want to ensure you get the best solution for your project and the following factors will help you narrow down your choices.

Project Size

The project size needs to be measured in both square feet and linear feet. Square foot measurements are used for planning and budgeting as well as getting quotes for install costs.

Linear foot measurements will help you understand how much material you need to buy.

Install Location

Where you install will be important as well. Elevated decks or second story decks will require different materials than those put in directly on the ground. Moisture, bracing, and even installation technique will depend on where (and how big) your deck will be.

Installation Type

Decks aren’t the easiest home improvement project to take on yourself. Even with composite decking making the process easier, you still need to build a proper frame, know spacing and alignment procedures and have all the needed tools and equipment.

Professional installation is always recommended, though it will add to your initial costs. The benefit though, is that you have a labor warranty and you know the project will be done correctly as well as on time.

Tools and Equipment

If you do decide to take the project on as a DIY deck, you will need proper tools and equipment. This includes the right fasteners for your boards, the right type of saw and saw blades to make even cuts and the proper joists and framing materials.

Each brand will have slight variances on their requirements, so make sure you read up and have everything you need before you begin.

Additional Accessories

Decking is a lot more than just frames and boards to walk on. You also have cladding, railing, lighting, stairs and more. Depending on your design, your accessories and extras will vary.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need and what is required when you are planning your budget.

Board Construction

Board construction will also vary. There are several types of boards including flat, grooved, scalloped and hollow. Each brand will offer different options for what they produce and you need to match your requirements with the brand offerings.

Price and Warranty

Your budget will be a huge factor, too. Your composite deck will have the most costs upfront. With lower maintenance and cleaning, plus the lack of sealing or staining needed, you won’t have many long term costs.

However, the initial costs need to be planned for. This includes installation and labor fees, materials and accessories. You should also pay attention to the brand’s warranty coverage including terms, conditions, registration and claim processes.

Deckorators Vs. Trex

In this section we will compare Trex and Deckorators. Both brands offer a lot for their customers, but one may be better for you than the other. Read on as we take a closer look at the two brands side by side.

Board Selections

When it comes to board selection, your biggest choice will come from Deckorators. They offer 8 board quality types in 8 different series lineups. Trex on the other hand has 4 board quality options in 3 different lines.

Both brands offer their lines in a good/better/best format which brings you higher quality (and higher pricing) as you go up the list. For the actual board construction, you can choose from solid, grooved or scalloped boards in both brands.

These give you the largest installation options as well as the most durable boards for your project.

With Deckorators you have two base options, either the traditional composite or their proprietary blend Mineral-Based Composite (MBC) boards. The MBC has enhanced durability and life expectancy, a longer warranty and is available in three of their highest quality line ups.

The Voyage, Vault and Frontier decking is all made from MBC. You will also find the porch decking options are MBC as well. For a more traditional and economical solution, the Vista, Trailhead, Tropics and Distressed lines up will give you what you are after.

Trex offers only traditional composite, but has higher quality materials in their core make up. With the Transcend line being in the best category, it is the highest rated and most expensive of the bunch.

You will also find options in the better range with Trex’s Select and Enhanced lines. Enhanced, though, is split into two sub-categories, Naturals (in the better grouping) and Basics (in the good group). 

Styles & Colors

When it comes to Good/Better/Best and the longer list of styles and line ups, it can get confusing. Let’s break it down in an easier to read format covering the line ups from both brands covering various important factors.
SeriesColorsDurabilityPrice
Deckorators Voyage5HighHigh
Deckorators Vault2HighHigh
Deckorators Frontier2HighHigh
Deckorators Vista4High/MidMid
Deckorators Trailhead3Mid/LowMid
Deckorators Tropics2LowLow
Deckorators Distressed1LowLow
Deckorators Porch 3MidMid
Trex Transcend8HighHigh
Tres Select5MidMid
Trex Enhance – Naturals4Mid/LowMid
Trex Enhance – Basics3LowLow

Availability: Where to Buy

One of the biggest challenges for decking is finding the exact style, brand and color you are after. Many brands sell through dealers and showrooms on a wholesale level. Other brands only sell through retail outlets.

With Trex, you don’t have much to worry about. Part of their popularity is that they don’t limit much where their products are sold. Not only can you shop online, you can also get Trex through any contractor, wholesaler or installer.

The best advantage, though, is that all four lines are available online and in store through Lowe’s and Home Depot.

This cannot be said for Deckorators. Most of their sales are done through wholesales, showrooms and installers. This is true for all of their lines, and only two series products are sold retail.

The Tropics and Distressed lines are sold through Lowe’s, but with only two options in a total of 3 colors, it isn’t a lot. Deckorators tend to push you through a contractor, which is great for additional warranty coverage and installation reliability. It does hurt the DIYer, though.

Installation

One common problem with a lot of smaller brands is that they will penalize you through the warranty if the deck isn’t installed by a licensed professional. Neither Trex nor Deckorators will penalize your warranty, though, so you won’t have to worry about that here.

It is still wise to read through the warranties (see below) to know what you are getting and the stipulations they do have.

When it comes to installing a composite deck, professional install is highly recommended. DIY install is possible, of course, but you will need to understand framing, joist spacing and have the tools and equipment to get the job done correctly.

If you need assistance in finding the right contractor for the job, we can help. We have partnered with Networx to help you find professionals for any of your decking needs. By using our free form, you can input your information and needs and get results of licensed pros in your immediate area.

Care and Maintenance

Both Trex and Deckorators offer low maintenance decking. You will need to keep the deck clean, which is the biggest portion of the care and maintenance of the boards. A sweep of the deck once or twice a week is usually good enough.

You do want to ensure wet debris is cleared as soon as you can. After a rain or early morning dew can soak leaves and pine needles which can leave dark stain marks if the moisture isn’t removed.

You also want to wash the decking every few months to keep the dirt and dust build up from making your decking appear dull. Composite boards, though, are highly durable, so you don’t need to be too concerned with cracking, splintering or breaking.

It can happen, though, and when it does, replacement is a lot easier than with natural wood. Using the quick fasteners, you only need to remove the damaged boards, drop a new one in and tighten the fasteners.

Warranty Coverage and Claims

When it comes to the warranty, Trex makes things really simple. They offer a flat 25 year warranty coverage for all lines, at all times. The warranty is not transferable, but aside from purchase registration no other components are required on your part.

For Deckorators they also offer a 25 year warranty that covers structure, stain and fading and removal and replacement aspects. However, if you go with the top tier models (the MBC models) the structural warranty is extended from 25 to 50 years.

The MBC is also rated for in or on ground and water contact. You won’t find a water and ground rating with Trex, so this may be important for your final decision.

Pricing

When it comes to pricing, composite as a whole is more expensive than natural wood and in many cases even PVC. However, where these two are fairly comparable priced.

The mid range options from both Trex and Deckorators are going to come in between $3 and $4 per linear foot. The pricing difference comes in the low tier and high tiers lines. Trex offers the more affordable decking in both options. On the low end, the difference is only about 25 cents, which equates to about $100 on a 12×12 foot deck.

However, for the high end ranges (Trex Transcend and Deckorators Voyage/Vault) the difference is about $1.50 to $2 with Trex being less expensive. This translates to a $250 to $400 savings on a 12×12 deck.

What People Are Saying

Overall you will find raving reviews and happy customers with Trex. There are also negative remarks made, but for the most part it comes down to the installer and not the product.

You will find that Trex gets high marks on durability, resilience and ease of install. They also get great ratings for all the extras they include. Aside from decking they also offer fascia, cladding, lighting, games, railings and more.

Deckorators don’t have the extensive accessory lists, but do offer railing, fascias, cladding and lighting. They also get high remarks, though you will also find more negative reviews posted, too.

The negatives are down to availability and cost, but the durability of the MBC boards and the longer warranty are constantly rated high.

Overall, though, both brands are far more positive than negative. As long as you select the best option for you and pick the most qualified installers, you won’t have many issues.

At a Glance

Let’s take a look at both brands over all the important factors side by side. Note that the pricing will depend on your location, brand, type and style chosen. The listed prices are an average over all available and your actual costs will vary.

BrandCollectionsColorsWarrantyPrice
Deckorators82250/25 years$2 – $7 per linear foot
Trex42025 years$1.75 – $5 per linear foot

Composite Decking Pros and Cons

composite decking pros and cons

There is a lot to love about composite decking, but there are downsides, too. Let’s take a closer look at both sides of the coin to help you decide if the purchase is worthwhile for your needs and desires.
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Low maintenanceHigher initial cost than natural wood
Multiple installation methodsSome brands can fade in direct sunlight over time
Can be rated for direct-ground installMay show scratches more easily than wood
Various board construction optionsMay have a shine or “plastic” look
Through-dyed by manufacturerNot the most green solution
No sealing or staining required
All-inclusive kits available

Best Decking Options and Brands

Building a deck has options. From size and shape to the materials used. Composite is just one of those options. With composite, there are a lot of great brands, such as Trex and Deckorators. However, you also have other options such as TimberTech and Fiberon decking.

If you want to stay with wood, but not so traditional, ironwoods are a great option. Woods like Ipe for decking, or Cumaru boards will make a strong, lasting deck. But there are a lot more.

Aluminum decking, for example, is a great choice for those looking for lower maintenance and a life-long solution. VersaDeck and Nexan make great aluminum decking options, but they aren’t the only ones.

No matter what your outdoor flooring and decking needs are, you have a solution somewhere. If it isn’t composite (which it should be), there are many other styles, types and looks to go with. The choice is always yours, so make sure you find the solution that meets all of your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq deckorators vs trex

In this section we will answer the most commonly asked questions that people have about composite decking. If you have other questions, use the comment section found below.

Q. Is composite decking worth the cost?

  1. Composite decking, compared to natural wood, has a higher initial price point. However, the cost to value ratio is notably higher. Over time, the effort, money and personal time savings with composite rise more and more. This means you save time and money by not having to apply paint, sealer or make repairs. When a repair is needed it is easily handled with a few screws and a little effort.

Q. How are composite deck boards made?

  1. Composite decking is made from post-consumer content, meaning it is recycled. Up to 95% of the board is made from a wood pulp and plastic mix or a mineral based recycled content mix. The recycled material created a plastic-like or PVC-style solid that is formed into boards, planks and fascias for use in decking.

Q. Is composite a green solution?

  1. Composite decking is more green than sustainable wood decking. However, it still requires a pressure treated lumber frame and joists. Because it still relies on wood properties it loses some of it’s green appeal. While it isn’t the most green solution out there, it is near the top.

Q. How long will a composite deck last?

  1. On average, high quality composite decks can last over 25 years. The average life expectancy for most brands is 20 to 30 years.

Conclusion

Composite decking has a lot going for it and makes a cost-effective decking solution for many homes. If you are looking for a new decking material for your next project, composite may be the answer.

The difficult decision comes in finding the right brand to serve your needs. With names like Trex and Deckorators in the mix, that choice is even harder. Both offer you great value and outstanding decking. You just have to find the one that fits your needs better, and hopefully this article has helped with that.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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