Hey everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays again. Today will be a short post about “Home Improvement”.
Like I said before, when I bought this house, I knew I was going to need to some work on the lanai (deck) within the next 3-5 years. Well, it’s been 3 years and we’ve saved up some money so I’ve started to get some quotes to either renovate or replace the deck. Most likely, we will also try to repaint the house at the same time.
However, I just wanted to share what I’ve learned about decks, in particular going with wood versus a composite (like Trex).
In general, wood decks were kind of the standard. However, in recent years, using a composite has become more popular. Trex has done a very good job of marketing themselves and whenever you hear about composite decks, the first thing that comes to mind is Trex.
What is Trex?
Well, it’s basically a composite and their claim is that it “looks like wood” but is more resilient against wear and tear compared to wood. Composite decking has some kind of plastic material, such as polyethylene and/or polyvinyl chloride, and wood particles. It doesn’t get wood rot, and does not require painting or resealing.
First things first. It should be stated that composite has been around for longer than most people think. The first few generations of composite weren’t all that good with the most common complaint being that they would fade as well as develop mold. Additionally, it’s supposed to last for a long, long time. For example, Trex offers a “25-Year Limited Residential Fade & Stain Warranty” on their Trex Select line.
Sounds good, what’s the problem?
Well, anytime I talk about using Trex (or other composite) with any contractors, they tend to shy away from it. They say they’ll give me a quote for it, but prefer not to use it.
Why is that?
The general consensus seems to be it’s not very fun to work with and install, and then they usually they get complaints from customers after awhile. The usual culprit is fading and scrapes. Then there are issues with warping and shrinking as well. Additionally, there are also people who complain about “weakening” where the boards themselves become “spongy”. There are also some complaints about certain composites being “slippery”. Concerns about not being able to bare weight arise from this happens.
Long story short, for most people, it doesn’t look nice for very long. Then there are the concerns of warping, shrinking, and weakening. While there is a warranty, getting Trex to uphold it isn’t very easy, as you can imagine. So basically, if problems arise, they’re not easy to solve.
That said, this may be related to the older Trex composites. I have read that the newer composites in the last 3-5 years have been doing better so far.
However, my major concern is that because I live in Hawaii and it also rains a lot where I live, that Trex (and other composites), would not be able to stand up to it. You might recall that they previously used a composite for roofs here in Hawaii, of which pretty much all of them failed. Additionally, because it rains so much here, I have concerns about mold as well.
Also, these complaints on the consumeraffairs site don’t look good:
So what’s the plan?
I think I’m leaning toward to just renovating portions of the lanai with wood, getting it all refinished/resealed, and then whole house and lanai repainted. The alternative would be to replace the whole lanai with Trex, which would probably end being a lot more costly.
In life, you don’t always know how things will turn out. You go in with a certain plan in mind, research what you can, and try to make the best decision you can. I think that as long as I stay on top keeping the lanai looking nice and getting it refinished, resealed, and repainted within a reasonable time frame, that it should be ok.
Trex (Composite) versus Wood
It seems like Composites have gotten better over the years, but I don’t think I’m going to use it and just opt for wood instead.
We’ll see how it goes.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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