Building a home deck is easy. But maintaining one, especially with today’s erratic and harsh weather, is a lot more complicated than it used to be. These problems are prompting many customers to try composite decking and PVC-deck boards, as opposed to more traditional wooden boards, for a more durable and long-lasting home deck.
Manufacturers like Trex and Azek, for example, are among the many brands that offer composite and PVC deck boards. So, iIf you are looking to purchase either of the two, but don’t know which one is better – read on.
Is Azek better than Trex? Or is it the other way around?
Let’s find out.
All About Trex and Azek Decking
Azek and Trex are two different companies that specialize in developing outdoor space and construction materials such as deck boards. So, before we discuss each of their features and strengths, let’s give a quick company overview.
Known for its quality and stylish composite decking, Trex manufactures outdoor space construction materials for both residential and commercial spaces. It was established around the year 1996 and has since created a variety of outdoor construction materials, including its ethically produced and natural-looking deck boards.
Other products that it sells include lightning and railing.
Unlike Trex, Azek manufactures PVC deck boards that can be used for home and commercial spaces. Its PVC planks are made of pure cellular PVC and contain no wood fiber. Despite its composition, Azek claims that its deck boards look like natural hardwood.
Moreover, its deck boards come in different shades, ranging from mahogany to grey. All PVC planks are also covered by a 50-year warranty.
Azek and Trex Side-by-side Comparison
Now that you have an idea of what Azek and Trex are, it's time to talk about their features, and see which is better.
If you prefer ethically produced deck boards, I suggest you skip Azek and go for Trex instead. Trex’s composite lumber is made out of 95% reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. The company also claims to have a sustainable supply chain, making its production incredibly eco-friendly compared to others.
Compared to traditional hardwood, composite decking and PVC-made deck boards are relatively pricey. But between the two brands, Trex’s products are slightly cheaper. Azek’s deck boards cost two to three times (per linear board) more than Trex.
When it comes to durability, each brand has its strengths and weaknesses. Here’s how they differ from each other.
- Material. Although both brands are durable, Azek leads simply by virtue of the material it uses. As mentioned, the manufacturer utilizes pure cellular PVC material. It means that it will be less likely to rot, unlike Trex’s composite decking which contains wood fiber.
Plastic is less prone to other deck problems as well such as insect- and termite infestation.
- Scratches. When it comes to scratches, Trex and Azek are both relatively resistant. Both brands cover their planks with PVC coating—a method known as polymer capping—as an extra layer of protection from heat, moisture, stain, and scratches.
- Heat and fading. Every deck owner complains about heat and fading. In response to this, both manufacturers guarantee that their boards are resistant to such issues.
Azek is made of PVC and because of that, it will be less likely to fade due to heat and extreme weather. Trex’s newest generation of composite lumbers, on the other hand, come with a protective shell technology that keeps their boards from losing their vibrant hues.
- Moisture. Outside of heat, moisture—which causes the planks to warp and shrink—is also a common issue that many customers often face. In response, all composite decking manufacturers make sure they incorporate moisture-repelling technology.
That being said, both Azek and Trex can prevent moisture from accumulating thanks to polymer capping. As mentioned above, polymer capping is the method of capping a board in PVC coating. It serves as a protection layer from the elements which prevents the board from accumulating moisture.
But apart from polymer capping, Azek’s deck boards are perfect for fighting off moisture too as they are made of pure plastic which means they would never absorb water. As such, if you are living in an area where it always rains, this brand is an excellent solution.
However, if you are residing somewhere that experiences both summer and winter, it is best to opt for Trex as Azek’s boards expand under erratic temperature changes.
- Stain. Azek and Trex are both stain resistant. Both brands guarantee their boards are easy to clean. Simple use of soap and water can easily remove stains thanks to their protective shell technology that prevents common deck problems like stains, scratches, and moisture from accumulating and causing damages to the planks.
But do take note that for Trex, the newest generation of composite decking is the only one that is stain resistant.
While both manufacturers guarantee that their deck boards are safe and slip resistant, Trex’s wood grain surface works better than Azek. Azek is indeed made of pure PVC which does leave the board slip prone.
For that reason, if there is a risk of high precipitation in your area, it is best to use Trex decking as it can keep your family safer during winter.
Trex and Azek have different types of warranties. And each warranty comes with a different set of conditions.
- For heat and fading warranties, for example, your deck’s color must fade into a certain level of shade first before they acknowledge the warranty. Specifically, your deck boards must have faded to 5 Delta E level.
It is a specific measurement unit professionals can use to determine whether the product has lost its original color or not.
- For mold growth both Trex and Azek will only honor the warranty if the deck boards continue to accumulate mildew despite regular and thorough cleaning. Both deck boards are mildew resistant and are easy to remove by simply cleaning and washing them.
Is Azek better than Trex? Or is it the other way around?
The answer is both manufacturers provide excellent deck boards for residential and commercial spaces. But choosing which one is best will depend on (of course) your preferences and, most importantly, your needs.
That being said, before you purchase either brand of composite decking to use, make sure that you know what you need out of a deck. You need to consider things such as the weather, the size of your family, and your aesthetic preferences.