Trex vs. Fiberon: Which is Better? Which is Better for Houston?
If you are considering building a deck in the Houston area, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. Ready availability of the decking material you choose is of course important, as is appearance. You need durability because of Mother Nature’s presence in Houston (some scary numbers on that in a bit), and you probably wouldn’t mind a deck that’s easy to maintain.
It would be nice to know your deck is termite-proof, insect-proof and doesn’t look like a huge snack for a woodpecker. You should insist on material that you know will stay beautiful and functional for 20 or 25 years without you ever having to stain or paint it.
Composite decking materials check all of those boxes.
They are ideally suited for the Houston area climate, which can be very hard on your deck if you don’t choose the right type of material. Take a look at these Houston weather numbers.
Rain, Heat, Humidity and Sunshine … and Lots of It
The Visit Houston Texas website reminds us that in the Houston area, there are 99.6 days each year when the temperature hits 90 degrees or higher. From June through August the average relative humidity can kick off around 90% (or higher) in the morning and thankfully drops some during the day. Annual rainfall is right at 53 inches, more than 4 feet!
That rain is spread out over 104 days each year, and there are 204 bright and sunny days as well. Out of the more than 35,000 recognized cities in the United States, Houston is tied for 23rd place on the list of sunniest cities.
The city’s wet season begins in May and lasts all the way through October, and that is when most of that 4+ feet of rain will fall. Tropical cyclones are likely during the Atlantic hurricane season (from June 1 to November 30). Then there are the tornadoes caused by supercell thunderstorms, and boy aren’t those fun to deal with?
What does this mean for your deck building plans?
It means you need a decking material that can stand up to the constant onslaught of heat, humidity, rain and sunlight that is a fact of life most of the year in the Houston, Texas area.
If you build a wood deck, get ready for a lot of backbreaking maintenance. You’re going to have to sand and then either stain or paint your deck every 2 to 3 years. Wood can eventually rot and chip, splinter and warp. You can expect a wood deck to change in color over time, and spending $4,000 or $5,000 or more on maintenance over a 10-year timeframe is about average.
You don’t have those considerations with composite decking materials. They have a lot of advantages over wood if you are thinking about building a deck, including costing less over the lifetime of the deck.
In and around Houston, Trex and Fiberon decking manufacturers turn out products that can handle the heat, humidity, sunshine and rain that you’re inevitably going to get in this area. They look great with little maintenance for at least a couple of decades, and they have a lot of other attractive qualities. Let’s take a look at both companies in turn to help you choose the decking material that is perfect for your situation.
What You Need to Know About Trex Decking
Wide Variety of Colors, Grains, and Textures
What you think looks great might not agree with what someone else believes is perfect for their home. This means you should have ample choices as far as colors go. Trex has colors with descriptive names like Island Mist, Havana Gold and Woodland Brown.
There are 4 different shades and hues of red that are available in different grain configurations. You have 12 different brown colors to choose from, including Tiki Torch and Spiced Rum in the Trex Transcend Tropicals lineup. If a gray deck is a better match for your home, you can choose Rocky Harbor, Gravel Path, Foggy Warf or one of 4 other selections.
All in all, Trex offers 23 color choices that mirror what you find in popular natural woods. Additionally, no matter where you live in or around the Houston, Texas area, all of these choices are available.
Their Environmentally Friendly Stance is Unmatched
A full 95% of all decking materials made by Trex is recycled material. Reclaimed scrap wood, sawdust, old wooden pallets and other wood-based products that would otherwise end up in a landfill are instead recycled. A Trex deck measuring 300 square feet contains more than 84,000 recycled plastic bags.
All in all the company keeps more than 500 million pounds of plastic and wood from heading to landfills and leaching into the ground and water table.
Trex offers residential railing products with aluminum. At least 50% of the aluminum Trex uses comes from recycled sources. In their commercial railing products, 70% of the stainless steel and aluminum that is used is recycled material. The company runs a NexTrex Recycling Program that works with 32,000 retail stores in the United States to collect polyethylene film and plastic shopping bags as well as wooden pallets that have passed their prime.
The Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge has educated students in over 500 schools about the importance of recycling. This has led to those children keeping more than 500,000 pounds of plastic materials from heading to landfills.
This dedication to sustainable manufacturing which respects the environment has led to the following awards for Trex.
- 2019 Eco-Leader by Media Group (this recognizes commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment)
- 2016 Builder Media Reader’s Choice Award has as the Greenest Decking Brand 8 consecutive years
- 2016 Environmental Vendor of the Year award from Home Depot
- 2014 GAIA Award (Middle East’s premiere award for sustainable, eco-friendly building products and manufacturers)
Trex has garnered dozens of other similar awards for their environmentally conscious nature. It is hard to find a company in any industry that is as environmentally friendly as Trex. If eco-consciousness is important to you, Trex is the hands-down decking choice.
Trex guarantees that your deck will not fade or stain for at least 25 years. This long-lasting warranty includes stain resistance from contact with mold or mildew.
The Trex Hidden Fastening System
You are building an outdoor deck for looks as much as functionality. You want your deck to look good. Would you rather glance out over your deck surface area and see hundreds of screw heads or not?
Trex offers the option of a hidden fastening system. This means you don’t see any nail heads or screw heads. That provides a smooth walking service that is easy on the eyes (and your toes).
What Other Products Besides Decking Are Offered?
Trex has been around since 1996. The company’s products are sold in 6,700 retail locations around the world and they offer, in their words, the “widest array of high-performance composite products” in the industry. This includes 4 decking lines to fit every budget and situation. Aside from decking and railing, Trex also offers deck framing and drainage, fencing and lattice, outdoor lighting, deck furniture, pergola and outdoor kitchens and even cornhole boards!
This is no doubt the largest selection of composite decking components, furniture, fencing and accessories offered by any deck material manufacturer.
What You Need to Know about Fiberon Decking
Fiberon offers a total of 24 color choices like Chestnut, Cabin, and Brownstone. They are broken down into 4 groups, Grays, Classic Browns, Golden Browns and Reddish Browns. The colors match up well with the colors you find in natural woods.
Bear in mind that for whatever reason, not all colors are going to be available in all areas around Houston. The colors offered are definitely good-looking when paired with the wood-like grains Fiberon offers, but it remains to be seen if the color you prefer is available in your area.
Fiberon opened the doors to its plastics recycling plant in 2014. The 200,000 square-foot building turns plastic waste into recycled pellets that it incorporates into its decking materials. The company recycles millions of pounds of plastic every year, keeping those potentially harmful non-biodegradable products from ending up in our landfills and water supplies.
Fiberon’s website tells us that their deck boards are “nearly 94% recycled content.” This includes plastic garbage bags and old plastic milk jugs, detergent bottles, wood chips, sawdust and other wood products that would otherwise be discarded.
Fiberon offers a 20-year warranty on their ArmorGuard Decking lineup. You get a 25-year warranty on their other decking selections. This warranty covers staining and fading with the caveat that the product must be properly installed. Hire a seasoned deck builder and you are covered here.
Hidden Fastening System Offered
Fiberon decking can be installed traditionally, using screws. There is also the option to choose hidden fasteners that give you a smooth walking surface. This not only provides a safer deck than if your builder was to use screws, but it also looks better as well.
What Other Products are Offered Besides Decking?
You want your outdoor living experience to be consistent. This means you might be wondering if Fiberon makes more than just decking materials. While the company doesn’t offer a lot of choices outside of composite decking and railing, they do sell fencing and cladding. This can help you provide a consistent appearance to your outdoor entertainment area.
Trex vs Fiberon Summary
Composite materials offer some serious advantages over natural wood where building a deck is concerned. The fact that you can pay less for your deck during its lifetime as opposed to wooden deck construction and maintenance is attractive to a lot of homeowners.
You get plenty of choices as far as colors and grains. While it is true that Fiberon may not offer all color and grain choices in your area, they will probably have something you like.
With both Fiberon and Trex you get a 25-year guarantee that your deck will not fade or stain. Insects, termites, woodpeckers and any other types of insects and animals that like to chomp on or bore into natural wood aren’t a problem with these composite materials.
One of the most attractive features when comparing composite decking to wood decking concerns maintenance. Your composite deck just needs to be washed off with a little soap and water every now and then. Wood decks require constant and vigilant maintenance, which includes the aforementioned sanding and either painting or staining every 2 to 3 years.
We mentioned earlier that wood gives in to the relentless effects of Father Time by chipping and splintering, warping and cracking. That is simply not an issue with composite materials.
Stick with composite decking and you make a statement about sustainability and the environment. Fiberon uses about 60 million pounds of recycled plastic to make its products each year. Trex keeps 500 million pounds of plastic and wood products from winding up in landfills every year. The fact that Trex decking products are composed of 95% recycled plastic and wood products is something environmentally conscious homeowners can applaud.
This means that whether you choose Trex or Fiberon decking materials, you are doing your part to protect the environment and Mother Earth.
Both Fiberon and Trex offer composite products other than decking and railing. Fiberon can handle your fencing and cladding needs, but they unfortunately don’t offer the deck framing and drainage, fencing and lattice, outdoor lighting, deck furniture, pergola, and outdoor kitchens options that Trex sells.
If you want your entire outdoor experience to look consistent, Trex is the way to go.
Look, you can’t go wrong with either Fiberon or Trex decking materials in the Houston, Texas area. They are perfectly suited to withstand the heat and rain, humidity and sunshine that would take their toll on a wooden deck. If you have any other questions about why composite decking is so perfectly matched to the needs of Houston homeowners, just let us know. We’ve been building decks in and around Houston for more than 3 decades and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.