Is Trex better than wood?
Do you get what you pay for?
I recently helped a friend who had a problem with her trex deck. She paid around $3,000 for her deck to be installed 7 years ago, when she built her dream home. She knew she could get a wood deck for less, but the promise of a maintenance- free product seemed to be the better choice. She had no idea that she would be in need of replacing her deck in less than ten years. When I inspected her deck, it was literally fading and crumbling to pieces.
She did have a 20-year warranty, so she called the manufacturer. She lives in a very rural area, so it took a few weeks for the inspector to come out. She was out of town when he finally called-- so we met with him. He inspected and assessed the damages all within a 30 minute visit. He later contacted my friend with the results. He said that because the deck depreciates in value over time, that the total amount she would qualify to be compensated for would be $1,000. She was shocked. Seven years before the purchase of this product, she was told it had a 20 year warranty. No one explained that in as little as 7 years the value would be worth only one third of what she paid for it. It was going to cost more than $1,000 to replace the material.
Weighing the options.
She obviously was not going to purchase the same materials, or anything similar. Her faith in composite products (synthetic wood) was lost. It was winter, and she needed a quick solution. She researched a few options at the home improvement store, and found a way to cover the ugly deck. She found a stamped rubber tile called Eco-Tile (see photo below). It is very thick, durable, and comfortable to walk on. It looks just like stamped concrete squares, but it is flexible and comes in a few diffrent colors. After we swept the eroded decking out of the way, we simply laid the 18"x18" tiles down. We did have a hard time cutting down some of the pieces to make a perfect fit. The only tool we found that worked for us was a table saw. We had to replace the $30 blade, but all in all it didn't take more than six hours to get it done. She is hoping this will protect the composite decking from pealing any further. The tiles were designed to drain the water off the deck, so she is hoping it will work. This didn't fix or replace the faded railing issue at all, but she hopes it helps the floor. She is not sure if this was the best route, but it did save her time and money vs the expense of building a whole new deck. It looks and feels wonderful to walk on a cushioned non-slip surface. It has been a few weeks since the new tiles were put down. So far, the snow seems to melt off quickly. Time will tell if it will do the job...
To make a long story short!
If she would have had all the facts before purchasing the composite decking, she would have used good old fashioned wood (the real stuff). Even though it is something to be coated and maintained, it would have made more sense. The moral of the story, do your homework. You need to read those boring warranties in detail. The extra time it takes to get the details is worth it when it comes to investing your money into your home. It could also save yourself the trouble a good friend of mine just had. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is...
Something to Consider?
The Trex decking we have reviewed, was manufactured seven years ago. This being said, it is possible for a company to improve their product over time. If you are still interested in using composite products, make sure you read the warranty. You would also be wise not to be the first person to try it. Look for reviews from prior customers. We all expect a product to be what it claims to be, but the truth is, you never know what your going to get....