Trex vs. Plastic Decking

WHAT IS PLASTIC DECKING?

Plastic decking (also known as PVC decking) is lumber made from 100% plastic. Plastic decking is often confused with composite decking, which contains plastic film, but isn't quite the same thing. Learn more about the various types of plastic decking, the pros and cons of these materials, and how plastic decking stacks up to Trex® composite decking.

TYPES OF PLASTIC DECKING

Two of the most popular choices for building a deck are plastic decking and composite decking. But not all decking material is created equal. There are some important differences between the two:

COMPOSITE

Composite Decking

Composite decking—like Trex—is a blend of plastic film and wood fibers. The plastic film that goes into composite decking can include polypropylene or polyethylene. These plastics work well with wood fibers to create a strong, resilient material that is more stable than 100% plastic decking.

PLASTIC

PVC Decking

PVC decking is made completely from synthetic materials. PVC consists of polyvinyl chloride, a type of vinyl typically used for outdoor siding and fencing.

COMPOSITE

PVC-Wrapped Composite Decking

PVC-wrapped composite decking is a plastic-coated board comprised of a composite core wrapped with a vinyl shell.

PVC vs. composite decking

Both PVC and composite have a clear advantage over wood. Both are resistant to insects and aren’t prone to mold or rot. There isn’t much difference in price between PVC and composite decking, either. PVC, also called plastic decking, can run between $9.38 and $12.40 per square foot, while Trex composite decking can cost between $11 to $15 per square foot.

Here are more ways these two types of decking differ:

PVC DECKING

Heat Resistance

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In warmer climates or if you’ve built your deck in an area that gets a lot of sun, PVC can absorb and radiate heat. This can make walking barefoot on your plastic deck uncomfortable.

Cold Resistance

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PVC decking is resistant to moisture and rot because synthetic fibers are not absorbent. However, it can expand with heat and contract with cold. This can cause it to crack and make your deck potentially unstable.

Fading and Scratching

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Some PVC decking materials can fade or peel as a result of exposure to the elements.

PVC DECKING

Heat Resistance

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In warmer climates or if you’ve built your deck in an area that gets a lot of sun, PVC can absorb and radiate heat. This can make walking barefoot on your plastic deck uncomfortable.

Cold Resistance

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PVC decking is resistant to moisture and rot because synthetic fibers are not absorbent. However, it can expand with heat and contract with cold. This can cause it to crack and make your deck potentially unstable.

Fading and Scratching

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Some PVC decking materials can fade or peel as a result of exposure to the elements.

IS TREX PLASTIC?

Nope. Although Trex contains plastic, it’s a composite decking material. As a result, you get the the eye-catching look of rich wood with the durability of a composite. Backed by a 25-year limited warranty, it’s environmentally friendly and designed to remain free of rotting, splitting, splintering, insect damage.

See the Trex difference for yourself.

HOW LONG DOES PLASTIC DECKING LAST?

Composite decking requires minimal upkeep and can last between 25 and 30 years. On average, plastic decking has a similar lifespan to composite decking and can last nearly 30 years. Geographic location and weather patterns can play a role in its lifespan since plastics can expand, contract, and crack with extreme weather conditions.

No matter where you live, Trex composite decking is backed by a 25-Year Limited Residential Warranty. It’s engineered to stand up to harsh weather and decades of foot traffic.

IS PLASTIC DECKING RECYCLABLE?

Some plastic decking is recyclable. Others are not. PVC decking is typically made from virgin plastics, which can be recycled after use. Although Trex decking cannot be recycled due to the mingling of wood fibers and plastics, it can be repurposed into new decking materials. Even better, it contributes to less trash in landfills and on the planet.

Trex composite decking is made from 95% recycled materials
Trex uses recycled plastic film and reclaimed wood to build a better decking material.
Trex saves 400 million pounds of recycled materials from landfills each year
As one of the largest plastic film recyclers in the U.S., our eco-friendly approach contributes to a healthier environment.

Composite decking vs. wood

Composite decking has a clear advantage over wood:

LIFESPAN

Wood decking has an average lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Composite decking can last over 20 years with the proper care and maintenance.

WEATHERS ALL WEATHER

Composite holds up better under hot or cold weather shifts.

RESISTS THE ELEMENTS

Composite is resistant to rot, mold, and termites, which can take their toll on wood decking materials.

LOW-MAINTENANCE

Composite does not require as much upkeep as wood.