Composite decking is the latest craze for deck builders and homeowners across the country.
Composite decking is more durable, longer lasting and has more fade and stain resistance than most other decking materials, plus it usually costs less.
Best Reasons for Choosing Composite Decking
- 1 Best Reasons for Choosing Composite Decking
- 2 Fiberon or Trex: Buyer’s Guide
- 3 Trex Vs. Fiberon
- 4 Composite Decking Pros and Cons
- 5 Composite Vs. Other Decking Options
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 Trex or Fiberon – Conclusion
Composite decking offers a lot of benefits over traditional materials. Here are the top reasons you should consider composite material for your next decking project.
- Recycled materials. One of the most green solutions on the market, composite decking is made up of recycled plastics, wood and aluminum. Up to 95% of all boards and railings are recycled materials.
- Long life. Unlike wood planks, composite boards are resistant to fading, staining and have a longer life expectancy of at least 25 years.
- Low maintenance. Easily cleaned with a sweep and spray from a garden hose, you won’t have to fight mold, mildew or grease stains with composite wood.
- No insects. Because composite wood is made of recycled plastics and wood pulp, it is denser and less desirable for insects. You have a much lower chance of infestation or bug damage with composite materials.
- Overall cost. Composites brands like Trex or Fiberon may have a higher initial cost than some wood options, but with lower cleaning and maintenance costs and a longer life span, the overall costs of your deck are significantly lower.
Fiberon or Trex: Buyer’s Guide
The overall size of your decking project is an important measurement to know and understand. Not only will it help you determine the size and length of the boards you need, but will also help you understand joist spacing, construction and drainage needs.
Having a detailed outline of your project will determine the amount and type of materials, tools, labor costs and other factors, too. You will also know if you require extra products such as railings, steps, cladding or others.
Some homeowners are very hands on and like to take on these projects as a DIY option. In many cases this is done easily enough with some knowledge of the process and the right tools.
Aside from the deck boards themselves, you will need other materials too. Joists, frames, support legs, deck posts, stairs, rims and even railings all need to be considered, planned and budgeted.
Other Deck Options
In addition to the deck itself you may wish to install other deck options. These can include a spa or hot tub, pergola, deck games, grilling equipment, cladding and much more. If you do decide to use these items, you will need to include their specs in your budget and planning.
Styles and Colors
One big advantage composite has over standard wood is the style options. You can choose your decking to be textured or smooth, with embossed wood grain patterns and dyed in almost every possible color imaginable.
With wood decks your ends need to be sanded, treated and sealed. Composite decks need finishing, too, but have many different methods to do that. You can use end caps for hollow boards, trim, vinyl and even paint. With more finishing options, your deck is sure to stand out and be the centerpiece of your home.
Price and Warranty
As mentioned before, composite decks range in a wide variety of prices. Depending on color and style options, board widths and lengths as well as the number of planks needed, the initial cost can get fairly high. It is important to budget accordingly and make sure you know what you are getting into.
However, the long term savings compared to standard deck materials is substantial and will end up saving you money as well as time over the life of your deck. This is why it is also important to understand the warranty that comes with your deck.
Trex Vs. Fiberon
In this section we will rate, compare and review both brands side by side.
However, it is important to note that there are two Fiberon lines we will not cover here. The Fiberon Paramount series and Promenade series are full PVC decking options. PVC is not a wood composite material.
Because Trex only has composite options, we won’t add the PVC series to this comparison.
When it comes to board selection and type, Fiberon offers more options.
You will find there are 4 different composite series including Concordia, Sanctuary, Good Life and ArmorGuard. Two of these lines (Concordia and Good Life) are further split into color sub-categories known as Symmetry and Horizon for the Concordia line up and Escapes or Weekender for the Good Life series.
All told, though, there are 21 colors to choose from and the important thing to note is the quality level. For Fiberon, Concordia is the top-tier and best series they make. ArmorGuard is the budget-friendly option that is lower quality and much more affordable.
Trex on the other hand, offers three series or categories. These collections are known as Transcend, Select, and Enhance. The Enhance line is further broken down into two sub-categories, Naturals and Basics.
Trex offers a total of 20 colors, only 1 less than Fiberon. Like Fiberon, though, Trex has a quality line, a mid range and budget lines. The Transcend series is the most durable and highest quality line up, with Trex Select and Enhance being mid-range and more affordable. The Trex Enhance Basics line is the budget-friendly option here.
Styles and Colors
Sounds confusing? Let’s break down each of the collections for you side by side.
|Fiberon Concordia (Symmetry & Horizon)||8||High||High|
|Fiberon Good Life (Escapes & Weekender)||6||Mid||Mid|
|Trex Enhance – Naturals||4||Mid/Low||Mid|
|Trex Enhance – Basics||3||Low||Low|
Availability & Installation
Aside from price and performance, availability is quite important. There is no worse feeling than planning, budgeting and becoming excited about your new deck, only to find out the options you have chosen aren’t available locally.
In this regard, Fiberon is a little lacking. They sell exclusively through contractors and dealers that will perform the install for you. These authorized dealers aren’t located in every town or city, either, so you may have to do a lot of digging and research to find one.
With one exception, Fiberon ArmorGuard, Fiberon is notoriously hard to find. The ArmorGuard line is the budget-friendly line up and is available at Home Depot exclusively. For the DIYer and the budget conscious, you can find everything you need through Home Depot.
Trex, on the other hand, is notably easy to find. They sell all of their lines through contractors and dealers which are much more localized. However, they also sell all four series decking through both Home Depot and Lowe’s.
While not every store will carry every option, you can order through Home Depot or Lowe’s and get the exact style and color you want, usually delivered to the store or your home.
When it comes to installing the decking, once you have your order completed, professional installation is the way to go. Neither Trex or Fiberon will penalize you through the warranty for doing the install as a DIY project, but with the training and expertise needed, professionals are a smart choice.
You can use our free app to help. When using the app from our partner Networx, you will get instant, local and well vetted professionals returned. Each contractor is fully checked, rated and reviewed so you only get the best nearby pros.
Care & Maintenance
One of the biggest advantages of composite decking is the lack of maintenance required. It is standard to only need a broom and a garden hose for your entire maintenance needs.
As long as you follow the care routine outlined by the brands, you won’t have any problems.
However, those instructions are crucial. For example, you should only use a certain type of floor mat, protect the legs of tables and deck furniture with pads and prevent water from staying on the deck for long periods of time.
The warranty coverage is critical to the enjoyment and longevity of your new deck. Trex makes it quite simple and offers a blanket 25-year warranty coverage. This includes stain, fade and damage protection as well as normal wear and tear.
By contrast, the Fiberon boards are slightly more durable, offer better scratch resistance and can potentially last longer than Trex. For this reason, their decking is covered based on the type of board (collection). The ArmorGuard has a 25 year warranty, 30 years for Good Life, 40 years for Sanctuary and an unprecedented 50 years of warranty coverage for Concordia.
Trex also offers a Trex Pro labor warranty, but it is based on the experience and professionalism of the installer. There are three ranges of certification, TrexPro, TrexPro Gold and TrexPro Platinum. This is a range based on the length of time being a Trex installer, their overall rating and performance evaluations.
The better the professional and the more experience they have, the longer your labor warranty. Each tier offers 1, 3, or 5 years (respectively) of coverage.
Price (Updated 2021)
Obviously, price is important and you need to know that your money is being spent wisely while giving you great value. Both Trex and Fiberon offer optimal value choices and each has their own advantages and disadvantages, as we have covered above.
In short, Fiberon has a more durable decking material with a better warranty coverage. Trex offers better scratch resistance on the top tier brands and an easier installation. But the budget is important to note.
For example, Comparing the two top end collections, Transcend and Concordia, the overall winner is Concordia. It is a better board, more wood grain realism and better color options. Transcend is still great, though, with plenty of colors and a “real enough” wood grain embossing.
Only you can decide if the cost or the overall look is more important.
What People are Saying
Trex and Fiberon composite decking brands are easily two of the best. When looking for reviews and ratings, the two brands continue to be at the top of most lists and have plenty of great reviews posted.
While there are negative reviews sprinkled in for both brands, most come down to selection, lack of proper maintenance and even installation issues.
For the most part, Trex is highly rated, affordable and has praise for longevity, beauty and ease of install.
With Trex you not only get decking, but also railing, lighting, cladding, drainage solution, joist protection, pergolas, furniture and deck kitchen equipment, conhole games and ornamental fire and water fixtures.
Fiberon offers the decking of course, but also cladding, lighting, furniture and railing. A far cry from everything offered by Trex, but a list that is complete in and of itself.
At a Glance
|Fiberon||4||21||25, 30, 40, 50 years||$2 – $6 per linear foot|
|Trex||4||20||25 years||$1.75 – $5 per linear foot|
Composite Decking Pros and Cons
Composite decking, as a whole, has plenty to brag about. However, there are some negative aspects about the decking material as well. Only you can decide which side of the coin is a deal maker or deal breaker. Let’s take a look at the ups and downs now.
|Lasts longer than other materials||Can have a plastic or “fake” appearance|
|Highly durable board construction||Color fading can be an issue|
|Multiple fastener and construction options||Costs more, on average, than natural wood|
|No need to paint or stain||Not 100% green (requires lumber framing)|
|All inclusive kits from deck to railings||Color choice is permanent|
Composite Vs. Other Decking Options
However, composite decking is relatively new to the decking industry. Natural and pressure treated wood still hold a large part of the market. There are other options as well, including aluminum and PVC decking which may be of interest to you.
The other options come dyed and cannot be easily changed, if at all, to another color. If you opt for composite or aluminum, the color you choose is the color you stay with. Wood decking also has the highest maintenance levels and can fade, stain or discolor more easily than other options. Composite wood is more durable than natural wood, but less durable than PVC and aluminum. However, unlike the other options, composite wood is the best at temperature retention, not getting too cold or too hot as easily as the other types. However, PVC does cost more than composite and doesn’t offer much more in terms of care, maintenance and durability. PVC does last longer, though, which adds to the overall value. In this section we will answer the most common questions about Trex, Fiberon and composite decking in general. As always, if you have further questions you need answered, feel free to use the comment section below. Composite decking offers you a lot of options, styles and colors. There are also several brands vying for your hard earned dollars. Of those brands, Trex is an industry leader, innovating and credited for the first composite decking board in 1996. Fiberon has also joined the ranks and become an industry leader, housing their own recycling plant for source material and responsible for over 1 million pounds of plastic recycling each year. Which one is best for your deck and needs comes down to longevity, cost and durability. Trex is more affordable up front but Fiberon tends to last a few years longer. With a better warranty and more durable options, Fiberon has a leg up. Trex, though, offers you a complete system, including games, that will complete your deck in one-stop shopping.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is composite decking worth the money?
Q. What is the life expectancy of a composite deck?
Q. Does composite decking warp?
Q. How far apart are the joists for composite decking?
Trex or Fiberon – Conclusion
The other options come dyed and cannot be easily changed, if at all, to another color. If you opt for composite or aluminum, the color you choose is the color you stay with.
Wood decking also has the highest maintenance levels and can fade, stain or discolor more easily than other options.
Composite wood is more durable than natural wood, but less durable than PVC and aluminum. However, unlike the other options, composite wood is the best at temperature retention, not getting too cold or too hot as easily as the other types.
However, PVC does cost more than composite and doesn’t offer much more in terms of care, maintenance and durability. PVC does last longer, though, which adds to the overall value.
In this section we will answer the most common questions about Trex, Fiberon and composite decking in general. As always, if you have further questions you need answered, feel free to use the comment section below.
Composite decking offers you a lot of options, styles and colors. There are also several brands vying for your hard earned dollars. Of those brands, Trex is an industry leader, innovating and credited for the first composite decking board in 1996.
Fiberon has also joined the ranks and become an industry leader, housing their own recycling plant for source material and responsible for over 1 million pounds of plastic recycling each year.
Which one is best for your deck and needs comes down to longevity, cost and durability. Trex is more affordable up front but Fiberon tends to last a few years longer. With a better warranty and more durable options, Fiberon has a leg up. Trex, though, offers you a complete system, including games, that will complete your deck in one-stop shopping.