Select Page
trex composite decking

Trex Decking – Photo by Peter Alfred Hess, CC

Tired of sanding and staining your wood deck every year?

Replacing it with a composite decking material like Trex or TimberTech is a smart idea.

However, are you worried about making an expensive mistake and installing the wrong brand?


I’ll help you avoid buyer’s remorse and show you which composite decking is easiest to maintain and stays looking great years after you install it.

In this article we’ll compare Trex vs TimberTech, the leading composite decking brands, to help you decide which one is right for you.

We’ll look at price, maintenance, materials and warranties for both brands.

And after all that, if you still can’t decide between Trex and TimberTech, we’ll be here to answer your questions.

Price

In general, Trex and TimberTech composite decking materials are more expensive than pressure treated wood.

However, they require less maintenance than standard wood decking, making them cost less overtime.

Trex Prices

Trex decking is available in three different tiers from least to most expensive: Select, Enhance and Transcend.

The price of one 16 foot long Trex board ranges from $43 to $68 depending on the quality level. Prices also vary by the length of the board. Trex is available in 8 to 20 foot board lengths to meet your unique project needs.

Model Length Price per Board
Trex Select 16 ft $43.04
Trex Enhance 16 ft $47.84
Trex Transcend 16 ft $68.64

Source of price estimates

TimberTech Prices

TimberTech decking is also available in three different tiers from least to most expensive: Terrain, Tropical and Legacy.

TimberTech pricing is slightly higher than that of similar Trex products. Prices range from $65 to $91 for a 16 foot long board.

Model Length Price per Board
Timbertech Terrain 16 ft $65.28
Timbertech Tropical 16 ft $78.24
Timbertech Legacy 16 ft $91.36

Source of price estimates

Materials

Trex Materials

Trex composite decking is made up of two primary pieces: the protective shell and the composite core.

The protective shell covers 3 sides of each deck board: the top and sides but not the bottom. According to Trex, leaving the bottom unsealed allows the material to breathe and prevent surface separation.

Inside the protective shell is a composite core made up of 95% recycled sawdust and plastics. I was surprised to learn that a 500 square foot Trex deck can contain as many as 140,000 recycled plastic bags!

The density of the composite decking actually makes it heavier than comparable decking lumber, not lighter. In fact, Trex decking can be 50-70 percent heavier than pressure treated wood!

TimberTech Materials

TimberTech decking is similar to Trex in the fact that they also use recycled wood materials. However, they do not use it as a marketing point, stating only that their composite core is a proprietary design.

Unlike Trex, TimberTech surrounds the composite core with a protective polymer shell on all 4 sides. Potentially giving you more protection and a longer life span.

Maintenance

Both Trex and TimberTech offer similar maintenance benefits. Neither will warp, rot, crack or split overtime. They also claim that their products are mold and mildew resistant.

The protective shell around the composite core is designed to protect against fading, staining and scratching. As we will address later, the majority of the complaints about composite decking revolve around problems with colors fading.

You do not need to sand, stain or paint your composite decking. In fact, it is strongly discouraged as tampering with the protective shell could reduce its lifespan.

It is recommended that you occasionally clean your composite decking to keep it looking great throughout the year. Both Trex and TimberTech can be cleaned with soap and water.

In the event that you need more cleaning power, composite decking can be power washed.

Trex recommends only using a fan tip and setting the power washer to under 3100 psi. They also suggest to keep the fan tip at least 8 inches away from the surface.

Warranty

Trex and Timbertech offer almost identical limited warranties as well as fade and stain warranties. Trex offers a 25-year limited warranty and a 25-year fade and stain warranty.

Timbertech also offers a 25-year limited warranty that protects against material defects. However, unlike Trex, they offer a 30-year fade and stain warranty.

Besides the length of the fade and stain warranty, both companies have almost identical warranty restrictions.

Limited Warranty Summary

Both companies offer a limited warranty guaranteeing that 25 years from the date of original purchase their composite products will be:

“Free from material defects in workmanship and materials, and shall not split, splinter, rot or suffer structural damage from termites or fungal decay.”

In the event that there are material defects in their products they will:

“Either replace the defective item or refund the portion of the purchase price paid by Purchaser for such defective item (not including the cost of its initial installation).”

Fade and Stain Warranty Summary

One of the most common problems with composite decking is the possibility of fading from constant sun exposure.

Trex backs up the promise that their product is fade resistant with a 25 year fade and stain warranty. TimberTech offers a 30-year warranty.

When it comes to fade resistance, both companies guarantee that:

“The Product shall not fade in color from light and weathering exposure as measured by color change of more than 5 Delta E (CIE) units.”

I’m guessing you are like me and have never heard of “Delta E” before.

Well, Delta E (also written as ΔE) measures the difference between two colors. 1 Delta E is a very small difference between two colors and 10 ΔE is a very dramatic difference in colors.

Looking at the colors below, a board that has been faded by 5 Delta E is very noticeable. Although Trex and TimberTech offer a fade warranty, it is likely that your deck will noticeably fade and will still not meet the limits described in the warranty.

5 delta e comparison

Colors with a difference of 5 Delta E

Another common complaint about composite decking is that it can grow mold and mildew.

Both decking companies state that their products are mold and mildew resistant. However, they clearly point out in their warranties that:

“Mold and mildew can settle and grow on any outdoor surface, including this Product. You should periodically clean your deck to remove dirt and pollen that can feed mold and mildew. This warranty does not cover mold and mildew which is not properly cleaned as provided above within one (1) week of first appearance.”

If you fail to clean dirt and pollen off your deck weekly, there is a chance mold can start to grow on the surface of your composite decking. This mold growth is normal and is not covered by their product warranties.

Another important point to notice about both warranties is that they are on a graduated scale. Meaning they will only cover a percentage of the replacement costs that decreases each year after you reach the 10-year mark. See tables below for more information:

Trex Warranty Coverage

Year of Claim Recovery
1-10 100%
11 80%
12 80%
13 80%
14 60%
15 60%
16 60%
17 40%
18 40%
19 40%
20 20%
21 20%
22 20%
23 10%
24 10%
25 10%

TimberTech Warranty Coverage

Year of Claim Recovery
1-10 100%
11 90%
12 90%
13 80%
14 80%
15 70%
16 70%
17 60%
18 60%
19 50%
20 50%
21 40%
22 40%
23 30%
24 30%
25 20%
26 20%
27 10%
28 10%
29 10%
30 10%

Learn more here:

Conclusion

Comparing Trex vs TimberTech reveals a few important differences between the both brands. For example, Trex is considerably cheaper than TimberTech, likely because they are more popular and have lower operating costs.

Another distinct difference is that Trex composite decking has a protective coating on only 3 sides, whereas TimberTech provides coating on all 4 sides of their product.

And finally, Trex offers a 25-year fade and stain warranty, while TimberTech offers the same warranty over a 30 year period.

Both companies offer a great product, so when you have to decide between TimberTech and Trex you’ll have to make a few tough decisions.

The choice basically comes down to what is more important to you: low price or having 4-sided coating?