Chris the Trex is a great product as pretty much all the composite decks are. However if your in an area where there are a lot of trees, the man made stuff tends to easily stain from them during the fall weather. So be sure to keep the deck leave free or you will find all sorts of stains in the spring.
Also many composite decks tend to be hotter under foot then wood. There are a few manufactures that claim to be cooler under foot so that is something you need to consider. Personally I prefer mahogany that is stained and sealed. It is a fairly hard wood and if properly maintained will last a lifetime. Does not tend to splinter nearly as much as treated lumber so it also is more kid friendly.
They also make metal decks made to look and feel like wood. The do not rot, rust and are very strong. However those are the top of the expense line.
The bottom line is you need to determine what exactly the deck is going to be used for. How long your planning to stay in the home where the deck is to be placed and how much maintenance your willing to spend keeping it in nice shape.
Many low maintenance decks, such as the Trex brands are expensive and are hotter under foot. While wood requires more maintenance, it is easier on the foot as its not quite as hot. Trex decks require closer floor joist separation to prevent droop between the joists while 5/4 wood decks will work fine with larger spaces between the deck joists.
There is really no perfect deck material that meets every demand. The deck is chosen by your needs instead of what some believe is better then another.
Hi Chris, being a deck builder, I get asked this question often. The answer comes from asking a few questions like, what is more important lower initial cost or long term lower maintenance. While most wood decks like pressure treated wood (pine treated with a preservative to increase its rot and insect resistance), or cedar ( wood with natural oils that make it resistant to insects and rot) have lower entry costs, capped composite and PVC decking like Trex, Timbertech and Azek have deck boardss that have long lasting color retention, scratch resistant, stain resistant, and fade resistant and will need much less maintenance.
Please be aware, not all "Trex" (or other brands) are the same, There are different types of alternative deck boards. In simple terms, lowest cost is the original "composite" decking (a blend or wood sawdust and plastic) which lasts a long time but will require yearly cleaning of mold and mildew. Alternatively, PVC decking and "capped composite" decking have more of a durable shell with composite or PVC cores which means they are much easier to maintain, clean, and will look better for a long period of time.
This one is easy and obvious to me...
Synthetic decks are mostly made from plastic (whether this is recycled or not) all plastics are petroleum based. To me this is not eco-friendly. Ipe is a natural wood that is sustainable and can last 60 to 100 years. When the long term cost / lifespans are factored in nothing will beat it.
I have seen people rip out "trex" type decks because they were starting to look crappy after about 10 to 12 years. My ipe deck is 15 years old now and still looks nearly brand new.
Well I guess I will play the odd-man out, but until TREX can prove that they have their manufacturing issues solved (that plagued them a few years ago) I won't risk my name using their products. Timbertech & Azek are two great names, then you have your IPE's, redwoods, etc... which last quite awhile. In some cases due to budgets, etc... Pressure Treated it is.
If you do end up going with PT, consider upgrading your railings to a vinyl or composite - staining a deck isn't bad at all - staining the railings is the biatch.
While the covering is good to think about, it doesn't matter if you put a "lifetime" product over a structure that will fail - build it right & consider going with steel framing (in this case I will say the TREX system is pretty good though limited)
My final recommendation - if you are hiring this out, I would start by checking out NADRA & the members in your area http://www.nadra.org/
Thank you all for such wonderful information! What a great forum.
Chris,,,,,,,,I'm not a deck builder......but if your budget allows I would use Ipe, as KMS recommends. If you have budget constraints, I would use Number 2 PT 2 X 6 or 5/4 X 6 deck boards....let it dry for 4 to 6 months and finish the decking and railing with Restore deck finish. It requires two coats and finishes with a non-slip texture finish.
Restore requires gentle cleaning every year, BUT the finish should last up to 10 years (as per the manufacturer)
I used Restore last year on our 20 year old deck,,,,,,,and it looks like new this year.
Even my wife is happy with the look.......and trust me, she not that easy to please.
Restore is available at both HD and Lowes and can be tinted to your favorite color.
Here's the link to my post of last year.
Thanks @LandlightS !
Hi @Chris, Are you wanting to use more wood-looking traditional products, such as, IPE or Trex? Or are you wanting a more modern deck? It really depends on what type of look you want for your deck, that will help you make the decision on what deck board is best for you. Wahoo Decks does offer both IPE Decking and also aluminum deck boards. The aluminum deck boards, AridDek, are waterproof and your area under the deck will stay dry. Or you could even use your own choice of traditional decking like IPE or Trex then use our deck drainage system, DryJoistEZ or DryJoist, for installing a waterproof deck! I hope you'll take a look at our website and feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also check out our blog to learn more about our products. Hope you find what you are looking for! Keep everyone updated on all your decking adventures. :)