Trex Composite Decking 2022 – Reviews, Pros, Cons and Costs

Last Update:

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Learn more

trex composite decking

When it comes to composite decking, Trex is a name known the world over.

As one of the most popular and leading brands, Trex knows what it takes to build a deck.

This article will examine the Trex brand, the composite decking options they offer and help you decide if they are a good fit. We will also cover the good and the bad, along with cost estimates so you know exactly what you are getting.

Top Trex Composite Decking Lineups

Trex offers only 4 lines, but based on looks, maintenance levels, and price, there is a line for just about everyone.

How do the collections stand up against each other? Let us take a quick look at the three primary collections, side by side.

ColorsCappedProfileWarrantyPrice Range
Transcend8YesSolid25-years$$$
Select5YesSolid25-years$$
Enhance7YesScalloped25-years$

Trex Transcend Vs. Select Vs. Enhance

Trex Transcend Vs. Select Vs. Enhance

Below, we will look at the four Trex series of composite decking. Each one reviewed and compared so you know what to expect.

1. Trex Transcend Composite Decking

Transcend is the top line of the Trex composite decking family. They are the strongest, most durable boards and come with plenty of options and sizes to choose from.

This line offers 8 color options, which is the most of any line. Among the colors are classic favorites like Havana Gold and Spiced Rum. It also includes more exotic options like Rope Swing and Lava Rock.

The Transcend series also offers a hassle free maintenance system. The boards clean up with soap and water and a little light scrubbing. You can also use a pressure washer and a broom, keeping clean up and maintenance to a minimum.

A 95% recycled content also makes these planks among the most green composite options in the market. If you are looking for a green solution, Transcend is among the best.

On top of all that, you get the Trex 25-year warranty. This covers normal wear and tear on the boards, manufacturer defects. It also includes 25 year protection against staining and fading, as long as you complete the proper cleaning and maintenance.

2. Trex Select Composite Decking

Trex Select is the second best line offered by the company. There are 5 options to choose from in vibrant colors like Pebble Grey and Madeira. The colors are deep and through-colored planks stand the test of time.

These boards have extreme fade and scratch resistance, like most of the other options. However, the capped planks are only capped on three sides. Trex does this under the moisture principle.

Trex believes that eventually moisture will get inside any cap and boards that are capped on all four sides don’t allow the moisture out. With an open bottom board, the moisture can naturally evaporate.

It is hard to argue with logic and the proof comes in the 25-year warranty against moisture retention, mold and other issues.

The Trex Select line is best for those looking for great composite decking but don’t want or can’t afford the best of the best.

3. Trex Enhanced Naturals Composite Decking

For those on an even tighter budget, the Trex Enhanced line is a solid option. Being the most affordable, you can choose from four natural colors such as Foggy Wharf or Toasted Sand.

The colors themselves are more muted and natural looking, giving the planks and the finished deck a look that doesn’t scream plastic. While most of the competition gets shiny and plastic looking with their lower-tiered options, Trex does not.

The embossed caps have a grain pattern that repeats only every 39 inches. This is much longer between repeats than almost every other brand.

When looking at the cross-section, the boards are scalloped. While this means you can only use one side of the board. It also means the boards are lighter and easier to maneuver, making install faster and usually cheaper.

4. Trex Enhanced Basics Composite Decking

The second line of the Enhanced line is the Basic series. This line is the cheapest offered by Trex and comes in only 3 colors.

You can select between Saddle, Beach Dune and Clam Shell. The three colors are still embossed with the 39-inch repeat pattern. It isn’t as deep as the other lines and there is a slight plastic appearance to the planks in the right lighting.

Other than this slight variance and color choices, the Basic series and Naturals series are the same. They both come with the 25-year warranty against scratch and dent resistance.

There is a small chance of excess fading with the Enhanced line compared to the other series options.

However, with diligent upkeep and cleaning that won’t be a problem either. For a less expensive option that will still  hold up to the test of time, Trex Enhanced is a viable choice.

Transcend Vs. Select Vs. Enhance Comparison Board

TranscendSelectEnhance – NaturalsEnhance – Basics
Textured YesYesYesYes
Solid BoardYesYesNoNo
Scalloped BoardNoNoYesYes
Scratch ResistanceHighMediumLowLow
Color Options8543
Average Price Range$70 – $120$37 – 63$30 – 50$30 – 50

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Composite Decking Material

buyers guide trex

Choosing composite decking is much more than simply picking a brand. You should understand what all there is in that decision and the following factors will help. Each one is described to help you figure out what to look for and what you need.

Board Size

Each board option is different in size, length and width are important, but it is also worth noting the height. When selecting your board styles, you can mix and match board sizes to create patterns.

However, it is important to note that not all styles or colors come in all sizes. You need to ensure that the pattern or design you want to make can be accomplished with the planks size that is available.

Color/Style

Composite decking comes in a variety of colors and style options. Unlike natural wood, there are more colors. But don’t expect an unending choice pallet. Even high end brands only offer 4 to 6 colors on average.

With Trex, Enhance Basics offers three colors, with Enhance Naturals and Select give you four and five options (respectively).

You also get eight options with Transcend. Note, though, that many of the colors are the same between series’ but some have different names.

Installation Method

Another factor to consider is how the decking project will be installed. Trex decking isn’t a difficult install. Once you have your posts cemented in place and the framing set, laying the boards is fairly straightforward. You can save a lot of money with a DIY install.

Professional installation is, of course, an option. If you don’t have time or knowledge for deck building, it may be the only option. Professional installation will add between $3 and $8 per square foot, but composite decking, especially Trex, is less costly than other brands or styles.

Board Type

Composite boards come in several board types. The most common are square edge boards. These usually have caps on all four sides allowing you to use either the top or bottom without discrepancy.

Other styles include scalloped edged boards which save weight and cost. You can also find grooved edged boards that allow for hidden fastener systems. Trex has 4 different board styles, including 1 and 2-inch thick square edges boards, grove edged boards and scalloped boards.

Project Size

The size of the project is also going to play a major factor in your final decision. Larger projects need more materials and will cost more. This also applies to decks built on second stories, in odd shapes or around other amenities like pools.

Knowing how large your project will be before you make a brand or style decision will help you understand your budget and where you should be shopping for the best fit.

Cost & Warranty

Finally, the cost and warranty of the boards will come into play. Along with all the other factors here, the initial cost of the boards will be the biggest decision factor.

With Trex, you can expect to pay between $9 and $16 per square foot. This cost includes the boards, framing, stairs, fasteners and professional installation.

The Trex warranty is two fold. First, you get the 25-year warranty that covers damage, defects and other standard problems that arise with normal use.

Trex Select and Transcend also include a 25-year fade and stain warranty that protects your investment against stains or fading as long as you follow proper cleaning and maintenance routines.

Trex Composite Decking Pros and Cons

trex pros and cons

As with all brands and products, there are ups and downs. Trex has a lot of advantages, but they are not without their downsides. Let’s examine both sides to get a better understanding.

Advantages

  • Termite resistant. Composite boards are not good food for termite, so they aren’t attracted to the decking, either are any other wood-borer insects.
  • Low maintenance. Trex composite decking doesn’t need much more care than a garden hose or a broom. While there is a bit more to it, general maintenance is much lower than traditional lumber.
  • Easy installation. Trex decking allows for hidden fastener install or deck screws like lumber.
  • Style and color options. Unlike other brands that only have one or two color choices, Trex offers up to 8 different colors and embossed, hand crafted or smooth finished caps.
  • Longevity and durability. Trex composite decking can handle weather and foot traffic without complaint for at least 25 years.
  • Scratch and dent resistance. Composite decking from Trex is highly scratch and dent resistant and backs up their claim with up to a 25-year warranty.
  • Matching components. Trex offers many different aesthetics that match their decking. The list includes railings, fascias, cladding, fencing and even cornhole games.

Disadvantages

As mentioned above, there are some downsides. Most owners can easily overlook them, however, some may break the decision.

  • Price. The biggest downside is the initial cost. Trex does cost much more than pressure treated lumber, traditional lumber and most other decking materials.
  • Color fast. Once you choose a color, that is it. Composite decking cannot be painted or stained.
  • Treated lumber is still needed. Framing and posts for your new composite deck still need to be made from treated lumber.
  • Doesn’t raise resale value. While a new deck of any material can (and usually does) raise the value of the property, composite, even with higher initial cost, doesn’t add extra value.

Here are some more things we found when using Trex:

We LikeWe Dislike
Deep grain textures for realismNot the best solution for icy climates
Not as shiny/plastic appearing as other brandsCan be slippery when wet
Long, full coverage warrantyMay bow or sag over time
Soap and water clean up
Unique colors available
In-person or online shopping
Insect and fungal rot resistant

Trex Ratings

  • Selection: 3.5
  • Warranty: 3.5
  • Durability: 3.5
  • Installation: 3
  • Price: 3.5
  • Quality: 3.5
  • Eco-Friendliness: 4
  • Overall Rating: 3.5

What Others are Saying

As with most brands of high-priced products and larger investments, there is a critical eye placed on ratings and reviews. For example, you can find a lot of negativity around the Trex name when searching through sites like Consumer Affairs.

The problem with these complaints and negative remarks, though, is that you don’t know the underlying cause or secondary reasoning for the remarks. Of all the bad things said online about Trex, there are just as many good things.

However, while Trex plainly states that warranty coverage is not valid with improper install, a negative complaint about their warranty coverage may mean the homeowner hired a contractor with less skill. Likewise, a fading complaint may be the result of excessive direct sunlight or improper cleaning procedures.

Of course, as you read through the complaints and compliments, you don’t know for sure. What we do know, though, is that a well maintained Trex deck with routine cleaning and maintenance and proper, professional installation will stand up and last at least 25 years with trouble-free service.

Where to Buy Trex Decking

Trex is found nationwide in a variety of online and retail outlets. With direct to consumer sales for their most popular lines, you shouldn’t have any problem locating a deal or vendor that can supply you with what you need.

Trex is primarily found in Home Depot and Lowe’s both in-person and online. However, some local stores may be a special-order only location. This means they won’t have any in-stock for you to take home today, but will place an exact order for you (and even be able to deliver it).

Other outdoor flooring retailers may also carry Trex decking and have a selection for you to choose from. However, this will vary by state and region and is based on supply and demand. You can check on Trex’s website which stores or shops offer which services, if there is stock or special orders available and where the store is located.

Trex Decking Cost Estimates

The cost of Trex decking will vary from state to state, and in some cases even between cities. It will also vary in availability, color options or board styles. The biggest cost variance will be on installation costs. Professional contractors will have different rates, and DIY installs will cost even less.

The chart below covers the cost of the various Trex options, board styles and general composition of the different styles. While the price estimates are average for the US, your individual costs may vary.
SeriesLengths (feet)Board StylesCapsPrice (per board)
Transcend12, 16, 20  (2×4 inch option 14 feet only); 1-, 2-inch Full, 1-inch Slotted3-Sides$70 – $120
Select12, 16, 201-, 2-inch Full, 1-inch Slotted3-Sides$37 – 63
Enhanced Naturals12, 16, 201-inch Scalloped, 1-inch Scalloped Slotted3-Sides$30 – 50
Enhanced Basic12, 16, 201-inch Scalloped, 1-inch Scalloped Slotted3-Sides$30 – 50

Finding a Professional Trex Decking Installer

trex decking installer

If you opt for professional installation, you will need to find a contractor that is licensed, insured, well reviewed and professional. You also should find at least three such contractors to get quotes.

While this can be time consuming and frustrating, there is an easier way. If you don’t know any local contractors, we can help. Our free professional contractor finder will give you instant results of local professionals in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

trex decking faq

In this section we will answer the most common questions about Trex composite decking. If you have other questions, please use the comment section below.

Q. How long does Trex decking last?

  1. With proper care, routine maintenance and cleaning up spills, grease spots and debris, a Trex composite deck can last a while. Most normal wear and tear will begin to show in about 20 years. The average deck lasts 20 to 25 years with some reports having decks lasting longer than 35 years.

Q. Can I paint or stain composite decking?

  1. While it is technically possible to paint and stain composite decking, there is no reason to do so. The color of the boards is a through-color, meaning it is constant all the way through. Because of the composite material and capping, there is no need or benefit to applying sealants and stains.

Q. Will Trex decking mold or mildew?

  1. If wet leaves or debris is allowed to stay for long periods on the decking surface, it is possible for mold or mildew to take root. While it is uncommon, it can happen. However, a little scrubbing with a mold remover or vinegar and water can remove the mold spores and prevent further growth.

Q. Is Trex a “green” company?

  1. Technically no, By definition Trex is not a green company. However, they do produce a green product. With over 94% recycled content and no degrading over its life, the Trex composite decking material is considered green.

Conclusion

Trex composite decking is one of the best solutions you can make. If you are looking for an affordable decking option, with a material that lasts, composite decking is it.

Whether you choose Transcend, Select or Enhanced, you will get a 25-year warranty, scratch, dent and fade resistance. 

Photo of author

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.

Leave a Comment

3 × one =