Trex® Composite Deck Boards vs. Wood

The Hassle-Free Alternative To Wood Decking

When you examine all the benefits that Trex® composite decking has to offer, a wood deck begins to feel like signing up for a second job. Unlike wood decks with all their maintenance requirements, Trex composite decking has superior durability, aesthetics, and requires very little maintenance. Factor in material consistency, long-lasting performance, and low-cost options on par with traditional wood, and composite decking has never been more appealing. Let’s review why Trex composites leave wood in the dust.

The hassles that come with wood

Redwood, Pressure-Treated Lumber and Cedar

Needs seasonal painting, staining or sealing

Becomes a safety hazard when it rots, splits and splinters

Fades and stains easily, showing every spill and scuff

Insects can cause extensive structural damage

Contributes to deforestation, cutting down trees that local wildlife depend on for food and shelter

Does Wood or Composite Last Longer?

Most wood decks are built from pressure-treated pine, cedar, redwood or from a few exotic species such as ipe. Depending on the wood chosen, a well-cared-for wood deck can last about 20 years. But many wood decks don’t make it that long because they require extensive upkeep to maintain and protect and those maintenance hassles become more than some homeowners can bear. If left untreated and uncared for, wood loses its luster, absorbs water, warps, rots and splinters. Therefore, to extend the life of the deck, homeowners must regularly apply stains, sealers or paint to protect it against the elements, requiring significant time and money.


In contrast, Trex composite decking is ready when you are. You never need to worry about sanding, staining or painting. Just an occasional soap-and-water cleaning is all that’s needed to maintain superior stability and beauty for decades. Trex’s high-performance, weather-resistant shell resists fading, staining and damage from sun, rain and insects. And not just for the first year, but for 25 or more.

Cost of Trex Decking vs. Wood

The initial investment to build a new deck depends on the size of the deck and its configuration, cost of materials and installation costs. Labor is typically a third of the total cost of the entire project. To receive a quote from a builder in your area, try our Find a Builder tool on

Since deck installation and labor costs vary from region to region, let’s compare the price of materials. Normally, a pressure-treated pine deck is your cheapest option, with material costs between $2.50 and $4.50 per square foot. Cedar, redwood or other exotic hardwoods cost more. With the cost of composite deck boards ranging from about $4.60 to $13.60 a square foot*, composites will run higher than pressure-treated lumber but less expensive than the higher-priced wood options. Keep in mind material costs increase with the addition of railings, lighting, benches and other deck features. Use our composite decking Cost Calculator for an estimated materials cost of your deck.

*Average price range excludes Trex Signature® decking, our luxury decking collection. Trex actual material costs and install costs can and will vary based on geographic area, site location, seasonality, design complexity, whether the product is stocked locally, and additional features such as stairs, angles, curves, lighting, etc. For most professionally installed projects, materials constitute up to one third of the total cost.

But don’t overlook the long-term costs. While the initial investment for a pressure-treated wood deck is less than that of a composite deck, a Trex deck saves you money in the long run because it lasts longer and requires less maintenance. Maintaining a wood deck with regular sanding, staining and sealing adds significantly to the overall cost.

For example, material for a 12’x16’ deck made of pressure-treated lumber costs about $1,757. When you add maintenance costs for painting, staining and sealing over 25 years, the long-term cost rises to about $4,557.

Conversely, a 12’x16’ deck made of Trex Enhance® Basics (Trex’s entry-level decking board) has a long-term cost of only $3,097. Because Trex composite decking never needs sanding, staining or sealing and only requires a simple soap and water cleanup, Trex will look vibrant for decades and perform in year 25 as well as it did when it was installed. Compare costs between wood and the three Trex composite decking collection with the Trex comparison tool and see for yourself how much less Trex costs than wood over the life of a deck.

Appearance of Composite Decking vs. Wood

Featuring high-definition wood grain patterns and rich, saturated colors, Trex composite decking looks and feels more natural than ever before. Color options range from deep earth tones to trendy neutrals, including tropically inspired boards that feature distinct the streaked look of hardwoods in designs that would fool even Mother Nature.


Wood decking that’s not regularly maintained loses it warm, earthy tones and turns a dull grey from years of exposure to the elements.


You don’t have to settle for the typical rectangular deck with Trex, either. Trex composite boards are well suited for specialty designs such as curves and inlays. Trex offers a wide variety of railing options capable of being custom curved, as well. To plan a curved railing, visit our Trex Signature® Curved Railing page for assistance in designing your deck and in ordering materials.


Eco-Friendly Decking

Building with wood contributes directly to deforestation, wiping out trees that local wildlife depend on for food and shelter. Alternately, composite decking provides the look and feel of real wood, but without the environmental impact.


The entire Trex decking portfolio is sustainably manufactured from 95% recycled content, including reclaimed industrial wood scraps and plastic film from common items such as mailer bags, shopping bags, newspaper sleeves and shrink wrap. In fact, Trex keeps more than 1 billion pounds of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills each year and has never cut down a tree in the making of its products. Trex pioneered eco-friendly composite decking in the early 1990s and continues to innovate in performance and aesthetics.


Consider all of the undeniable advantages that composite decking offers, the question really is why would anyone build a deck with wood anymore?


Unable to Add to Cart

You may order up to 4 free samples. To adjust your selections, remove what you do not need and then add your new choices.