TimberTech Vs. Trex: A Composite Decking Comparison 2022

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timbertech vs trex

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.

By the end of this article you will understand what your deck needs, how TimberTech and Trex can help and which is a better fit for you.

Best TimberTech and Trex Product Lines

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.

TimberTech Azek Vs. Trex Decking

azek vs trex decking

Appearance and Texture

When it comes to board appearance, Trex offers only two profiles. You can choose a solid board for a more traditional installation with nails or wood screws. Or you can opt for a grooved board to use a hidden fastener system.

What they lack in board profiles, though, they make up for in color options and embossing features. With a 16-inch joist spacing requirement, you will find that the boards cut just like lumber, and the grain pattern embossing only repeats every 39 inches.

There are 8 colors in the Transcend line to choose from and a combined 20 colors between the four series options. Azek offers 17 main colors on their four lines, but the porch boards come in all colors to complement and match the other three main decking choices.

Like Trex, you will find solid and grooved board profiles, but they come in more than one width, thickness and length. You can mix and match the boards as they all share the same profiles, and your color patterns can create some intricate detailed installs.

With the embossing pattern repeating between 22 and 38 inches it isn’t quite as detail oriented as Trex. However, you won’t really notice as long as you use normal installation methods and keep your boards separated, picking from different piles each time.

Fading, Staining and Upkeep

Composite decking and PVC decking are close in their abilities, but there is a slight edge to one, based on your expectations and needs.

Trex is a composite decking made from sawdust, wood pulp and plastics. The combined materials offer a durable, resilient material that won’t splinter or crack like natural wood. It also has a through-dye coloring process that helps minimize fading and resists mold, rot, insects and staining.

Because Trex is a composite material the upkeep is minimal. You won’t need to stain, paint or seal the decking ever. However you will need to keep it clean. This means removing debris like fallen leaves and sweeping the deck often. You also need to wash it down with a garden hose once a month or more to maintain the appearance.

On the other side of the decking world is Azek, which doesn’t use the wood pulp or composite core and instead is a PVC decking option that offers more fade and stain resistance. Like composite, the Azek boards won’t splinter, crack or rot.

Azek is also resistant to insects and doesn’t require painting, staining or sealing either. The dipped-dyed process is just as thorough and long lasting as Trex’s paint process and with capped PVC they can last virtually forever. Azek only requires a garden hose and broom for cleaning and upkeep.

Denting, Scratching and Damage

Aside from being stain and fade resistant, both Trex and Azek deck boards are also resilient. You can have a deck for years without any noticeable denting, scratching or damage that requires repairs.

With Trex, there is a wood element so it doesn’t scratch as easily as PVC plastic. However, because of the through-color design of their boards, scratches are harder to repair. You may also experience some denting with heavier objects over time, but this is more rare than it seems.

The biggest downside is that not all mats or padding are conducive to composite decking. You want to stay away from rubber mats and only use vinyl backed or woven mats for traction and decoration.

Azek is about the same, but the scratches that may occur can be more visible. Partly due to the coloring process and partly because of the lack of UV penetration from the outer layers. After some time, though, the scratched color differences will even out.

Heat Retention and Weather Resistance

One negative side effect is the heat retention of composite and PVC decking. While all decks will get hot in direct sunlight, natural wood will absorb and disperse the heat. Composite and PVC decking, though, will retain the heat making it hot to walk on barefoot.

Depending on your climate and amount of shading around your deck, or direct sunlight hours, it can be a toss up as to which one gets hotter.

Aside from heat retention, though, bit brands offer superior weather resistance. Water is not absorbed by either material and it falls off easily. Neither Trex or Azek will rot, mold, mildew or crack due to weather and even under some extreme situations will hold up just fine.

Azek Vs. Trex Cost and Warranty Coverage

azek vs trex cost and warranty coverage

The cost is generally listed per linear foot, but you will buy whole boards in various lengths. It also depends on the color, style, board profile and even where you shop.

Trex is available online through their website or through local contractors. You can also pick up all four lines Trex offers through Home Depot stores. The average price for a 12 foot board ranges between $30 and $70 up to the 20 foot boards that range between $50 and $120. Azek ranges between $70 and $125 for their boards, making them slightly more expensive than Trex.

Both brands, though, are more expensive than natural timber and other decking materials. The trade off, though, is that there will be minimal upkeep and no additional fees down the road, the cost evens out over time.

For warranty coverage the type of coverage between the brands is about the same. There is coverage for wear and tear, installation (professional), labor, scratch and dent and even damage. The main difference is the coverage length.

Trex offers the same warranty with all of their options, sizes and fishes. The coverage term is for 25 years with Trex and it doesn’t require professional installation to activate. Azek, on the other hand, doubles the coverage of Trex with their 50-year warranty.

What Others Are Saying

Online rating and review systems will see a lot of negativity when it comes to decking, regardless of brand. Many of the complaints are from DIY owners that didn’t follow exact instructions or from contractors who rush through jobs.

This doesn’t mean the negative reviews are wrong, but some of them could have been avoided. Make sure you read through all the lines to understand what is actually wrong and what caused the negative review.

For example, Trex has a very low rating through Consumer Affairs, who collect ratings and reviews for thousands of products all over the internet. Many of the 1 star reviews complain about Trex not honoring the warranty coverage or making the homeowner try many repair methods first.

You can find many TimberTech Azek reviews that say similar things, or complain about the color, included materials and overall aesthetics looking too fake or plastic. Most of the issues reported with the Better Business Bureau have been listed as resolved, though, which is a good thing.

At A Glance

Let’s take a look at all the lines side by side to see what they offer and how they compare to one another.

SeriesColor optionsBoard WidthsBoard LengthsWarrantyCost (per board average)
TimberTech Azek162.5, 3.125, 5.5, 7.25 inches12, 16, 20 feet50 Years$70 – $125
Trex Transcend85.5 inches12, 16, 20 feet25 Years$70 – $120
Trex Select55.5 inches12, 16, 20 feet25 Years$37 – 63
Trex Enhance – Naturals45.5 inches12, 16, 20 feet25 Years$30 – 50
Trex Enhance – Basics35.5 inches12, 16, 20 feet25 Years$30 – 50

Trex Vs. Azek Decking Problems

trex vs azek decking problems

There are a few notable issues with each brand and they can make or break your final decision. For example, Azek, as a capped PVC, is much more durable than Trex, but scratches more easily.

The scratches can sometimes be repaired with a heat gun, but it takes a skilled hand and a lot of time. Balancing between a deck that is easily repaired versus one that doesn’t scratch as easily is a choice you have to make.

Likewise, Trex decking can become damaged with rubber matting and high pressure power washers. It is recommended to only use a garden hose and push broom to clean as anything else can cause visible damage to the surface.

Another factor is that ice can be difficult to remove without damaging the surface of a Trex deck, especially when using scrapers and chemicals. In drier climates, you won’t have the ice issue, but Trex decking also has a tendency to create static electricity which has its own obvious issues.

Who is Trex?

Trex is a composite decking company started in 1996 and made public in 1999. Since then, they have grown to be the world’s largest composite decking brand with annual sales topping $750 million.

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 is the outdoor portion of the Azek Building Products empire. A world-wide corporation that focuses on innovation and sustainability. While the recycled content of their capped boards may not be as high as other brands (80%) it is made of the hard to recycle plastics that other companies ignore.

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

buyers guide decking

Choosing the best brand for your composite deck is important. However, you also need to understand what you are getting with composite decks. Before you select the brand, think about the following factors.

Composition

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.).

The wood and plastic are melted together to form the core material for the planks and boards. These are then capped with PVC plastics, and grains are embossed before the board cools and hardens.

Parts Required

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.

Installation Method

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.

Board Profiles

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.

Designs

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.

One thing to note in your design or pattern is the use of color. Composite boards come in a lot of colors and you can mix and match to suit your needs. One thing to note, though is that when choosing colored boards, make sure you get the same profile so your connectors and attachment methods are the same.

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

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.

Popular Options

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.

Installation Types

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.

Cost

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.

Line12-foot16-foot20-foot
Enhanced Basic$30$40$50
Enhanced Naturals$30$40$50
Select$37$50$63
Transcend$70$95$120

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 maintenanceHigh initial costs
Won’t fade, stain, splinter or crackSome sets place the screws close to the edge
Resists termites, pests and moldsTrex fasteners can get expensive
No sanding or finishing requiredLower warranty than most other brands
Uncapped bottom allows moisture to escapeOnly two profiles available
93% recycled material
Free samples available

TimberTech: Composite Decking Review

timbertech

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.

Popular Options

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.

Installation Types

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.

Cost

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.

Line12-foot16-foot20-foot
Azek$70$100$125
Pro$70$95$115
Edge$30$40$50

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 installHigh initial costs
Up to 50-year warranty and fade resistanceBoard movement is greater than other brands
4-sided caps to prevent moisture accumulationLower recycled content percentage than other brands (73%)
Deep embossing for added textureMore plastic looking than natural
Offers matching railings and supplementsSome lines limited in options
High scratch resistance
Extremely low maintenance

Frequently Asked Questions

faqs composite decking

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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

Conclusion

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.

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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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