Both Trex and Azek are excellent decking materials such that most people find it hard to pick between the two. If you are experiencing the same dilemma, worry not. First, you are not alone; second, I’m here to help you out. If we look at a head to head comparison of Trex vs Azek, which one should you use for your deck?
Which of the two decking materials is better? Which one is more durable than the other, what’s the difference in the texture of the two, Which one is costlier? These two brands have their benefits plus limitations. Therefore, we’ll compare the two so that you can find it easy to choose the right one for your projects.
In recent years, an increasing number of people have abandoned the traditional wood decks and adopted the use of composite. Why is that? A wooden deck demands a lot of maintenance practices, which a disadvantage considering that they do not last as long as their composite counterparts.
Maintenance is the hardest part if you factor in cost and time, and most people are busy and would jump at every opportunity that saves them from maintenance procedures.
You must have a clear understanding between Trex and Azek so that you make only informed decisions. When deciding, ensure that your choice corresponds to your needs, climatic conditions of your region, among many other factors.
Composite decking is a manufactured construction material created using recycled wood fibers and plastics. Composite decking does not rot hence has a longer lifespan compared to wood decking. Additionally, these materials call for little to no maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about staining, sanding, or sealing as it is in the case of wood decking. Composite decking materials are available in many colors as well as sizes.
Types of Composite Decking
If you are also thinking of adopting the use of composite as a decking material, you are likely to choose between Trex and Azek. These two materials are excellent and will serve you for an extended duration without the need for serious maintenance than the standard cleaning. Let’s look at the two independently:
- Trex Decking
Trex consists of 95% recycled material. It looks and feels like real wood. Some of the materials used in the manufacturing of Trex include ground-up plastic, sawdust, plus reclaimed lumber. One thing that makes Trex stand out, especially if you compare it to other forms of composite or even PVC decking, is its natural look and feel.
We all love the natural beauty of the wood, I believe so; however, nobody, not even myself, would pass up a chance to work with an option that saves me the hassle of painting, sealing, and staining. All wooden decks require maintenance, whether it is pressure-treated wood, cedar, or redwood.
Trex guarantees you all the features of wood decking with an added advantage. It is high performing and environmentally sound material that can last years even on the outdoor environments without losing its vibrant color.
Every Trex board is created to mirror the subtle imperfections that you can find in real wood grain. Additionally, the boards have colors that give it a natural look. If you have worked, seen or touched a Trex before, you will notice that it has an outer shell that resists scratching, so even if you drag your chair over the surface or have dogs playing over it, it will remain intact.
Trex as decking material is available in three different varieties, Trex Transcend Composite Decking, which is the premium option, then there’s Trex Enhance and Trex Select, which are also high-performance composite decking materials. All these varieties of Trex have the company’s warranty and are available in multiple colors for flexibility.
- Azek Decking
In the manufacturing of Azek decking, a cellular PVC material is used. This material contains no wood fibers and therefore does not rot or take in moisture. Just like the Trex, this material gives your structure aesthetic beauty and further resists scratches, dents, and infestation by insects. Additionally, this material has an Alloy Armour shell containing UV protection that helps keep the color of your structure from fading for several years.
AZEK decking lasts longer than all the other composite decking materials. It gives your exterior structure a beautiful and natural look of hardwood. Its grains are as natural as the ones you’d see in the Trex decking. You will find this product available in multiple colors, which gives you flexibility in choosing your preferred color.
This product is available in standard, narrow, or boards with wide-width that allows you to come up with different intricate designs and looks. It is 100% synthetic with a natural look of hardwood.
Note: You can paint Azek if you wish to decorate it further.
Comparison of Differents Aspects of Trex vs Azek
Durability: The durability of composite decking goes beyond surface protection. Its components matter a lot. Trex has a core with 95% recycled material such as sawdust, reclaimed wood, and ground plastic, which is a lot more natural materials compared to Azek. Azek, on the contrary, is a product of artificial material-100%PVC.
Plastics are resistant to many elements and will take several years to rot. Therefore, it is better placed to withstand many environmental factors, and for that reason, the Azek is more durable than Trex.
Price: The cost of these to composite decking materials is also crucial when it comes to comparing them. As you’d expect, Azek is more expensive than Trex, and you can attribute this to the fact that Azek is more durable. Usually, you’ll find it about 20% – 30% more expensive than Trex on average. The other things, such as installation, railings, framing, and fastener costs remain the same. The comparison is only on the prices of Trex and Azek.
The Best Value Over Long Term: Having worked with these two materials, coupled with the many research that I have conducted on Trex vs Azek, I’d confidently say that Azek lasts longer and still maintains a better appearance over an extended duration, unlike Trex. You can attribute this longevity to its plastic core.
Plastics can withstand some elements that destroy the deck over time, Trex is not entirely plastic so that it will wear down faster than the Azek.
The Natural Appearance of Wood: If you compare the two, Azek and Trex decking, you will notice that Trex resembles the appearance of wood compared to Azek. It does not mean that Azek does not look like wood, but if you want something that looks more like real wood than go for Trex.
Azek comes with so much of a synthetic appearance because of the materials it is created with; even so, the newer models are designed to have a more natural look as the manufacturers keep making improvements on the product.
The Feel: Trex wins here, and you can attribute this to the fact that it is created using a mix of natural materials. It gives you a better natural look and feel of wood, unlike Azek, all PVC. One fascinating thing about Trex is that it does not pose any risk of splinters and requires no maintenance.
On hot temperatures, both materials will heat up. However, Azek gets a bit warmer, and that is because PVC does not disperse heat the way the natural substances present in Trex do so it can get a little less comfortable to walk on the Azek deck on sunny days with your bare feet.
These two materials are soft as long as your framing is equal, but if you compare the texture, Trex wins again.
Discoloration and Fading: If you are looking for a material that will last longer without losing the color, then Azek is the best choice. That does not mean that Trex is not resistant to fading. Low-cost Trex decking materials tend to fade faster than the premium ones. On average, Azek takes longer to fade.
Resistance to Slip: Who wants a slippery deck? Nobody, it is hazardous to have a slippery deck. Imagine having a fire pit or a hot tub on a slippery deck; it poses the risks of suffering burns to your kids. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have a non-slippery deck. As for the Trex vs Azek case, they are both resistant to slip; however, if I have to choose one, I’d go for Trex boards with a wood grain surface as they provide the best slip resistance compared to Azek boards.
Most people with Azek deck will agree with me that it does get very slippery whenever it rains. Icing is another problem that Azek faces, especially during the winter, it is poor during the winter season. Trex performs better during such weather conditions.
Resistance to Weather: Don’t get me wrong, both Azek Trex are very high quality, Azek, for example, is more resistant to moisture. Additionally, it expands and contracts more than Trex decking material.
If your structure is located in regions that experience hot summers and cold winters, I’d advise that you choose Trex over Azek. On the contrary, if you are coming from areas with a lot of rain, Azek is the better option.
Eco-friendliness: For people that are more inclined towards green, you should choose Trex, It is everything that you want to live. This product is 95% recycled material. These materials include sawdust, plastic, and reclaimed wood. Choosing to install a Trex deck does more than just benefiting you- it helps clean the environment, unlike the Azek decking materials, all of which are PVC and do not biodegrade.
How To Maintain Composite Decking
- Avoid Standing Water
Much as composite decking is resistant to water, you should avoid leaving standing water over its surface. Usually, after rain, you might notice some parts of the deck having pools of water. Ensure that you clear these pools and leave the place dry. Molds and mildew thrive in moist conditions, and it might not be long before you see them growing over your surface if you leave water pools on them.
- Use the Right Rugs
All rubber rugs trap moisture, so avoid using them on your composite deckings, whether it is Trex or Azek. Instead, go for the woven ones as they’ll allow for circulation of air into the surface of the deck.
- Tap or Redirect Downspouts
When it rains, water runoff from your roof can pour down on your composite decking; this is not a good thing for your deck’s health. Therefore, ensure that you tap the water into a tank or redirect it to pours away from your structure.
- Ensure Proper Ventilation of the Underside of your Deck
If you have free airflow in your deck’s underside, the material underneath will always remain dry and prevent things such as molds and mildews from growing on your structure. You can ensure proper circulation by having at least 6 inches space for airflow beneath your deck.
- Redirect Dryer Ventilators
The dryers in your house will need to ventilate the heat from them to the exterior of your home. In that case, ensure that the vent does not open closer to your deck. The heat from the dryer will raise the temperature of your decking material, resulting in organic decay in the long run.
- Reduce Mulch
It is normal to use organic mulch in your garden as it adds nutrients and keeps the soil moist. However, ensure that you don’t put them on your deck. If you have to put mulch around your deck, ensure that you use inorganic mulch or gravel.
Watch the video below on how to clean composite decking:
In a comparison of Trex vs Azek, many things come into the picture. If I can mention one very first it would be price, Azek is a little bit more expensive, and you can attribute that to the process involved in its manufacturing. Despite the high costs of Azek, it gives you a great long term value compared to Trex. If you go for the premium grade of Trex, you will find it very expensive, too; it is very durable with a more natural look as well as feel than Azek. Azek, on the other hand, gives you more resistance to fading. In the end, you realize it is a win-win situation for both. So…
Trex vs Azek Which one?
It narrows down to individual preference because you find that one product offers one thing that the other. So you choose which one to forego.
Do you have questions, opinions, or add on related to Trex vs Azek? If so, please feel free to reach out to me through the comment section below!