With composite decking, you have a lot of choices. From colors, to board styles and even brands. TimberTech is one of the leaders in composite decking, known for their durability and stain resisting boards. Trex may be the most popular brand currently available and offers a wide range of line ups and options.
This article will review both Trex and TimberTech composite decking to give you a side by side comparison of the two brands. We will cover the board and decking options as well as look at what you should look for when choosing composite decking for your next project.
Best TimberTech and Trex Product Lines
- 1 Best TimberTech and Trex Product Lines
- 2 Who is Trex?
- 3 Who is TimberTech?
- 4 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Composite Decking
- 5 Trex: Composite Decking Review
- 6 TimberTech: Composite Decking Review
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 Conclusion
Each brand offers multiple product lines, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are the best lines from each brand.
- Trex Transcend. Made from 95% recycled material and stain and weather resistant.
- TimberTech Azek. Extremely durable and comes with a 50-year stain and fade warranty.
- Trex Enhance. 25-year warranty and hidden fastener system for easier seamless install.
- TimberTech Pro. Scratch resistance and capped on all four sides for low maintenance and easy cleaning.
- Trex Select. Low maintenance, easy cleaning and affordable pricing.
- TimberTech Edge. Priced for all budgets with easy install and simple maintenance.
Who is Trex?
While owning the largest market share in North America is great, what is even better is the innovation and technology they bring to your backyard. Sporting three major lines and a nationwide network sales force, there isn’t a design out there you can imagine that Trex can’t deliver.
Who is TimberTech?
Timbertech offers three expansive lines of composite decking to match all budgets and opens the gates to exploration. If you have a dream design for a deck, either in unusual colors or patterns, TimberTech can make it happen.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Composite Decking
Composite decking boards are made of several parts. The core is the biggest factor using waste wood and recycled plastic. Trex and TimberTech both get their waste wood from mills and furniture manufacturers. The wood scraps are pulped into dust.
For the plastics, Trex uses most #2 and #4 plastics (milk jugs, plastic bags, cartons, etc.). TimberTech also uses these plastics but also incorporates more hard to recycle plastics like #5 and #9 plastics (think plastic cups, Tupperware, etc.).
When you are shopping for your decking, remember that the boards need to be secured. This requires more than just nails. Unlike natural wood, you don’t just nail the boards to a frame. Instead, you need joists, hangers, composite board screws, and even hidden fasteners (biscuits or claw type).
These will need to be accounted for and you need to ensure you have enough to finish the job. While these pieces won’t break the bank, they can add an unexpected few hundred bucks to your project. Plan accordingly.
Decks are one of those projects people either love to do themselves or must have hired out. With composite decking, you can do either. As a DIY project you can expect a long process that will generally take about 5 or 6 hours per 25 square feet.
This will depend on your plans, designs or patterns and comfort with the tools, of course. A professional install can usually be done much faster, but you will need to hire a contractor to do the job right.
To get the highest quality contractors at the best prices in your area, we have a free contractor finder tool you can use right now.
All composite decking boards have a flat walking surface, but it is in the profile where you can save time and money, or add strength and durability. You can expect to find 5 different profiles when doing your research.
- Full board. As it sounds, this is a solid piece of composite that has two usable sides and a full core with no gaps or cuts. Average durability is 2.5 pounds per foot of board.
- Slotted board. Similar to a full board in all aspects with the exception of two slots running the length of the board on the sides. Slots are used for hidden fasteners. Average durability is 2.5 pounds per foot of board.
- Scalloped board. Similar to a full board, but only one usable side. The bottom is grooved to lighten the board. Average durability is 2.2 pounds per foot of board.
- Hollow board. Hollow boards resemble cinder blocks from profile. With two usable sides, the center is hollow with a center ridge for support. Average durability is 1.9 pounds per foot of board.
- Open board. Open boards are similar to hollow boards but do not have a bottom. Lightest of all options but also lowest strength. Multiple attachment options available. Average durability is 1.7 pounds per foot of board.
When you plan your deck one thing that is common is to plan for decking designs. From squares to patterns and even curves, you can use composite decking boards to create a lot of designs.
Price and Warranty
Both Trex and TimberTech offer competitive pricing for their composite decking materials. The prices will vary depending on the type of board, length purchase and of course, the numbers of boards you buy.
Both companies will run between $4 and $8 per square foot on average. Choosing the more premium lines and longer boards will raise the price. If you are looking for a more economical approach look for the lower-tiered options and limit the colors and design patterns.
Trex: Composite Decking Review
Trex knows what works and keeps things simple. While they only produce two board profiles, you get a lot of color and embossing options. Along with the planking, you can also trust Trex to have the railings, butt caps, hidden mounts, facings, steps and more.
Trex brings you three line ups to choose from. The budget-friendly Trex Select. These boards come in five Earth-tone colors for a more natural look. These composite decking boards come with a 25-year warranty against staining, fading and pests.
The Trex Enhanced line is split in two, with the Naturals and Basics taking up the spots. Both offer several colors to choose from, with Enhanced being more natural wood colors with Basics being Earth-tones and brighter options. The 25-year warranty is present here, too and maintenance is low with easy cleaning and care solutions.
Finally, the Trex Transcend comes as their premium style with deeper and more realistic embossing and more colors. The same Earth tones are available, but Transcend comes in many new tropical colors, too. Again, the 25-year warranty, simple install options and low maintenance are present. The price is higher, though and larger projects can get costly quickly.
Board Types Offered
No matter which line you go with, Trex has two board types to choose from. You can get your boards as a full board or scalloped options. Both come with screw or hidden fastener installation and are heavy enough to sit in place, requiring a 16-inch joist spacing for mounting.
All Trex boards are wood grain embossed or smooth style. The embossing is a repeating pattern that lasts for 39 inches. This is a great length to help the repeating pattern not be as noticeable. Other brands offer embossing patterns at 20 inches or less which stands out as a pattern when installed.
While Trex grain patterns aren’t hyper realistic, the Transcend line offers some of the most realistic embossing you will find in the industry.
Trex is popular for many deck designs and there are enough colors and board lengths to make almost any pattern you can imagine.
The most popular, of course, is a standard parallel pattern, where each board is laid next to each other from one edge of the deck to the other. Some installs will see a center line board perpendicular to the deck planks on either side as an eye catching offset.
Another popular design is squaring, where the two center lines are laid making a giant “plus sign” and boards are laid in an ever-decreasing square pattern in the four areas between the center boards.
With the full board and scalloped boards from Trex you have multiple installation options. The most popular is using decking screws or “Trap-ease” screws with the left handed threads at the top. These threads push the plastic and PVC back down into the hole when you finish screwing them in.
You can also use hidden fasteners to secure the boards to the joists is you want to keep the top smooth and even.
Trex composite decking has different price points based on the type of board and length of the boards. The chart below gives you an estimate for pricing based on non-customized boards per series and length. Note that location, availability, special order and customization will alter prices.
Trex Pros and Cons
With the good, you must take the bad, or so they say. Trex has a lot of upsides, but there are some negative aspects as well.
|What We Like||What We Do Not Like|
|Extremely low maintenance||High initial costs|
|Won’t fade, stain, splinter or crack||Some sets place the screws close to the edge|
|Resists termites, pests and molds||Trex fasteners can get expensive|
|No sanding or finishing required||Lower warranty than most other brands|
|Uncapped bottom allows moisture to escape||Only two profiles available|
|93% recycled material|
|Free samples available|
TimberTech: Composite Decking Review
TimberTech uses harder to recycle plastics and focuses on their environmental approach to sell decking, and it works. The company is one of the largest suppliers next to Trex and has a footprint in over 55 countries. Like Trex, they also have three major lines.
The TimberTech Azek is the high end line, sporting a 50-year fade and scratch warranty, these are some of the best boards out there. You can choose from several different colors and all boards are capped on all 4 sides.
Next is the TimberTech Pro line. This grouping is split into different categories such as Terrain, Reserve and Legacy. Reserve has added slip resistance on scalloped boards while Terrain and Legacy are full board profiles. Each comes with a 30-year fade and scratch warranty and all categories have multiple colors to choose from.
Finally, there is TimberTech Edge. This is the most affordable option and also the one with the least amount of options. With the Prime + and Premier categories you get scalloped or full boards (respectively) and both categories only offer two colors. The boards are more affordable, but also have the lowest warranty of 25-years.
Board Types Offered
Like Trex, TimberTech only offers full and scalloped board profiles. Almost all of their collection is capped on all 4 sides with a few options being capped only on three sides, like Trex. The Azek Harvest line, one of the most durable and expensive planks on the market, is also capped on all 4 sides but uses an advanced, premium polymer instead of PVC.
The detailed embossing on all the boards gives you added texture (if you want it) and an intricate grain pattern. You can select from several different types of embossing, based on the categories in each line.
While the embossing is deep and only repeats every 36 inches, it still leaves the boards looking plastic and less realistic than even Trex. However, with their natural wood and Earth tone color options, the boards and finished deck are still beautiful and durable.
TimberTech takes deck building seriously and not only has everything you need from the planks and fasteners to railings and fascias, but they also love to help you design. You can bring your own design or use their near unlimited design styles, including herringbone, tile or boxed, or even a diagonal cut.
One of their most popular designs is the boxed look where boards are laid in smaller squares making the deck resemble a tile floor (just larger tiles). You can also mix and match colors to accentuate the pattern or alternate colors for a more checkerboard appearance.
Full board options can be installed with hidden biscuit fasteners or tiger claw fasteners. You can also use deck screws, nails or even the “Trap-ease” screws. They allow for 16-inch joist spacing, butt caps and end board installs, as well.
With the scalloped boards any of the above fastener methods are also approved, though tiger claw fasteners may not have enough edge to grip onto. It is advised you use screws for the scalloped boards.
TimberTech is competitively priced and will generally always be within $10 per board of the similar Trex styles. Other brands are also similarly priced and the entire market is fairly close in their costs.
TimberTech Pros and Cons
As with everything in life there are good sides and bad sides. Here is what we do and do not like about TimberTech
|What We Like||What We Do Not Like|
|Simple to install||High initial costs|
|Up to 50-year warranty and fade resistance||Board movement is greater than other brands|
|4-sided caps to prevent moisture accumulation||Lower recycled content percentage than other brands (73%)|
|Deep embossing for added texture||More plastic looking than natural|
|Offers matching railings and supplements||Some lines limited in options|
|High scratch resistance|
|Extremely low maintenance|
Frequently Asked Questions
Now we will answer some of the more common questions about Trex, TimberTech and composite decking in general. If you have other questions, feel free to use the comment section below the article.
Q. Does composite decking mold or mildew?
- It can, yes. Even wrapped and capped boards can grow mold or mildew. This is generally the result of leaving debris on the decking for a length of time. Leaves, pine needles and other debris that can hold moisture in place will allow mold to take hold.
Q. Do I need to paint or stain Trex or TimberTech composite planks?
- No. All composite boards are solid color design, meaning there is no need to sand, refinish or paint the boards. When shopping, select the color or colors you want and you are ready to go with no extra labor involved.
Q. How long to composite decks last?
- On average, across all brands and styles, you can expect the decking to last 15 to 25 years. Trex and TimberTech, though, which are considered premium brands can last much longer. Up to 50 years or more with proper care and maintenance.
Q. Are composite boards termite-proof?
- Technically no. Because there is wood pulp used in the construction, lower quality brands have been reported to get termites. However, if you stick with the premium brands like TimberTech and Trex, the likelihood of termites being able to burrow, nest or feed on the core material is near zero.
Composite decking is a great way to improve the look and feel of your deck space. With low maintenance, no need to seal, finish or pain and being highly weatherproof, composite decking is a win.
With the ability to hold up and look great without splintering or breaking, Trex and TimberTech composite decking can last over 30 years without much more than a broom or garden hose needed for clean up.
While the initial cost is much higher than a traditional wood deck, the benefits, longevity and lack of maintenance make it pay for itself over the long run. If you do decide to go composite, Trex or TimberTech will both serve you well.