Trex Decking Questions, Please

Hello,
Thinking of TREX for an outdoor (uncovered) Deck re-do. They have a nice site, but still have a lot of questions.
Thought I'd ask you experts here:
a. General thoughts and comments regarding Trex ? Pros & cons, etc. ?
b. Exactly what is this "stuff" of Trex made of ?
c. Does it need to be stained also ?
d. 1" thickness adequate and typical for Deck ?
etc. ?
Much thanks, Bob
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I used trex when I rebuilt my deck about 3-4 years ago. Other than power washing it every spring, it's very little maintenance. I didn't stain mine, and don't plan on it. I really like it. I'm not sure what's its made of, but I think it is some sort of resin mixed with sawdust. The 1" thickness seems to be adequate as I haven't had any issues with it sagging. It's a little bit pricy, but I think it's worth it. I went with their railing system as well and it went up easily. I would recommend them.
Rob
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On 7/14/2012 8:40 AM, rlz wrote: ...

I've wondered--how do you think it compares to wood decking as far as heat retention? In a very hot climate w/ high sun, I've always wondered given the comparison of the synthetic turf to grass as a (granted somewhat distant) example.
I know if it ain't white, the tables/chairs are worse than a relatively dark wood one as far as touching/sitting because the heat transfer is so much better. Similar to the wood floor feels so much colder in winter than carpet...
--
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I find Trex to be hotter underfoot than some other composite decking products. It's one of the main reasons I rarely use it for an entire deck. When it's really hot people go barefoot and that's when the stuff is the hottest. Not a good equation. Of course the lighter colors heat up less, but I think it's the density of the stuff that makes the deck-to-foot heat transfer objectionable to some. It's roughly akin to walking on a black sand beach. If you've ever done that you quickly discover that all sand is not created equal.
I like Correct Deck. The installation is a little different, cost more or less comparable, but it has some decided advantages. http://correctbp.com
"How does temperature affect CorrectDeck CX? CorrectDeck CX is manufactured in Maine where harsh freezing winters have put it to the test. As far as the heat, CorrectDeck can get up to 210 F without any distortion or sagging between joists. The deep wood grain and thin profile of CorrectDeck CX combined with IR-reflective pigments help to keep the product cool underfoot even on those hot summer days."
R
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Wood chips and some sort of plastic. It also has a plastic (vinyl, I think) coating on top for better protection and longer life.

No, it comes in various colors. In the past though, they did have some complaints of sun bleaching. UV is tough on things like that.

Check the specs on joist spacing. I think they require 16" and you may have 24" on the existing deck.
It does require periodic cleaning, but not much else.
Do some research on the pros and cons http://www.doityourself.com/forum/decks-patios-porches-docks/386548-trex-minimum-spacing.html
I chose to use tiger wood instead of a composite. IMO, you just can't beat real wood.
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Trex or any composite is not a drop in replacement for wood. The minimum spans are shorter. Usually if you have 5/4 lumber, you need 1.5" Trex.
It is a little hotter on bare feet but not unbearable for people who go barefoot a lot. Trex is sawdust and milk bottles. There are pure milk bottle composites that wear a little better but that usually just comes up with boat dock construction in salt water. I think the spans are the same. There are some variants that have a scalloped bottom and more depth to give them more span capacity for the same weight.
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On 7/14/2012 11:59 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I'd personally like to see how well the stuff holds up after 20 years.
Have you ever seen what a milk bottle looks like after being in the sun for a year? It usually disintegrates.
I cannot find the answer but am pretty sure it is a composite of recycle polyethylene and saw dust with color and stabilizers added. If the color is throughout, you won't ever need to stain or paint it.
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I have about 10 on my Timbertech. Looks identical to the day it was installed.
I wouldn't be surprised to see it last 100 years or more.

All I do is power wash it. Once a year. I'm guessing I wouldn't have to do it that often if the area wasn't surrounded by trees.
--
Dan Espen

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On 7/14/2012 1:11 PM, Dan Espen wrote:

Good to hear. I'd still be brand conscious because polymer chemistry could be different. Polyethylene falls apart in sunlight but polymers like PVC are nearly impervious. We all remember the polybutylene pipe fiasco a few years ago.
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Over a real long time period it might lose some of it's smoothness. polyethylene does break down without uv inhibitors. Tyvec is not for the sun.
Talk about decks, mine is made out of styrofoam cups. Well, just styrofoam really. Mine can stain with oils. Transfer of heat depends on weight and density, and color.
Greg
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On 7/14/2012 11:42 AM, Frank wrote: ...

It'll be interesting w/ longer time indeed methinks -- it's been about 20 yr since its introduction I think and I presume they've probably made some improvements based on early product as they've gone along.
I just looked at their web site though; interestingly enough, the warranty of 25 yr is valid _only_ for original purchaser and for a residential consumer--the contractor-built deck where he supplies the material is only a 10-yr warranty. Plus, the only thing that is warranted is gross mechanical defects and termite/other insect-like damage--absolutely nothing is warranted regarding surface weathering, fading, etc., etc., etc., ...
It certainly has UV inhibitors and is far more resilient to weathering than are the untreated plastics from which it is manufactured so comparing to them is meaningless. Nevertheless, most have at least some damage and time will gradually tell how long it will last in general.
The web site says its manufactured from recycled shopping bags and waste wood products including junked pallets...I think there is one that manages to reuse at least a fraction of the milk jugs, etc., but apparently that one is not Trex...
One thing I've observed in town here in W KS is many of the vinyl fences that looked so good when new have sagged severely in the hot summer sun...of course, they're not Trex--just an observation about structural plastics in hot climates...
--
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On Sat, 14 Jul 2012 12:42:40 -0400, Frank
Our parks department jumped on the band wagon 15 years or so ago and the deck they put down is still OK in a public environment. (1.5" decking)
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Trex is made of old shopping bags and sawdust. I used Trex Transcend for my front porch several years ago and it is great. Follow the framing recommendations and 1 inch is plenty strong enough - and no staining is required. The base Trex DOES support mildew growth, like wood, while Transcend does not. It costs a bit more, but it is extremely simple to keep clean and looking good.
I used the "slotted" transcend for all but the outermost board, so the fasteners are all concealed.
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I love my Trex deck, I did all the work myself, just followed instructions for sppacing between boards and spacing of joists underneath. I power wash it every2 -3 years, and enjoy it all ywear round, summer and winter. No stain.
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

The manufacturer of Trex specifies a rather low pressure limit to use for power washing (low enough that I decided not to buy a power washer). I tried a eco-friendly cleaner and a brush last year, and that didn't give good enough results (for removing light algae). I've got some less eco-friendly stuff to try next--standard deck cleaner, mostly bleach I think.
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