Trex Decking Problems – Disadvantages of Composite Decking

If you are considering adding a new deck onto your home, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. That’s partly due to the number of options available to homeowners today, but also because of installation issues and decking problems across the industry.

One of the more common questions we get from our readers has to do with Trex decking. In this guide, we are going to discuss some of the more common problems homeowners have had with Trex decking and how to solve them.

Mold and Mildew on Composite Decking

Clean Mold and Mildew Decking

This is one of the topics we get asked about the most and something that is easy to fix. Despite what manufacturers would lead you to believe, composite decking can indeed get moldy, although it’s simple to clean.

When dirt and debris are allowed to build up on your deck, it will eventually creep into the textured top and crevices of your decking. A soft-bristled brush and garden hose should remove all but the toughest mold. Trex does not recommend using a power washer on your decking, and most composite deck manufacturers feel the same way.

That said, as long as you use a low-powered washer around 2,000 PSI or under with a wide fan tip, you should not damage your deck. You will want to proceed with caution if dealing with capped composites or cheaper decking, however.

Removing Snow or Ice from Composite Decking

A deck may get more use in the summer and spring than the fall, but unless your backyard is off-limits during the winter, ice can be an issue. Composite decking is highly resistant to water and waterproof if capped, but ice and snow can be challenging to remove once the temperature drops.

If you have to use a shovel to clear snow from your deck, only use a plastic shovel. As for ice, different companies recommend various products, but calcium chloride and rock salt are safe to use with Trex composite deck boards.

Color Fading on Composite Decking

Color Fading on Composite Decking

Despite new technologies and techniques, UV rays from the sun can cause any type of deck to fade. It can be worse with certain colors or on uncapped products. This is a composite decking problem that’s impossible to predict until a deck has been in the weather for several months, which can lead to a very expensive problem.  

With Trex, you shouldn’t have to worry about fading for 25 years thanks to their fade & stain warranty. A good warranty is the best defense against Mother Nature, and something we highly recommend looking for when considering a composite deck brand.  

Trex Decking is Flaking

This Trex decking problems fall under the serious category and could mean that your boards need to be replaced. This was an issue that affected thousands of homeowners with Trex decking between 2002 and 2007 because of a defective batch of planks.

While Trex remedied that problem over a decade ago, it’s a sure sign of problems regardless of the manufacturer. Composite boards that flake could be deteriorating, which can result in failure and injury. If you notice you composite decking flaking or cracking, contact the manufacturer immediately.

Dealing with Static Electricity 

Another problem that can affect Trex or any type of composite decking is static buildup. Have you ever walked across a carpet and received a small shock after touching a metal surface? Well, the same thing can happen with composite decking if you live in a dry area, and the conditions are just right.

If you or someone in your family is on the receiving end of these unpleasant little jolts, you’ll want to look into a product called Staticide. Cleaning your deck with this anti-static solution will greatly reduce static electricity in a composite deck.

Chalk Line Residue

Chalk Line on Deck

While highly resistant, there are a number of substances that can temporarily leave stains on composite decking. From chewing gum and tar to suntan lotion or ketchup, most of these messes can be cleaned up quickly with the right tools. One surprising substance that’s not so easy to clean comes from a chalk line, a tool that’s used to build composite decking.

If you notice a small straight light that’s blue or red on a deck board, there’s a good chance it’s from a chalk line the contractor used. Unfortunately, they can be impossible to remove depending on the type of chalk used. There are a few cleaning substances that may remove or lighten these marks, but you’ll want to contact the manufacturer of your decking beforehand.

Tannins on Trex Decking

Before the snow falls, trees lose their leaves, and you may find yourself spending a considerable amount of time sweeping your deck clean. Leaves are easy to remove with a blower or broom, but they can leave tannins behind if you don’t move quickly enough.

Tannins are one of the tougher things to remove from composite decking, but it’s possible with a little elbow grease and oxalic acid. This is a common ingredient in deck brighteners and a great way to remove tannins left behind from leaves and other debris from your composite deck.

Damaged Decking

Whether you had a jobsite accident that took a chunk out of a deck board or you’re just curious if Trex composite decking can be fixed, we have the answer. Damaged composite decking is something most homeowners are concerned about, and for a good reason. It is not nearly as simple to fix as wooden decking.

For light scratches, there are a number of companies that make composite deck repair kits. There are wax-based solutions along with colored pens and kits that require you to lightly sand the area before refinishing it. Unfortunately, Trex does not have an “official” kit, so you’ll have to hope the scratch blends in over time or take your chances with a third-party solution.

If you have decking boards that are damaged, not scratched, you typically have to options with composite decking. If the boards are dual-sided or reversible, you can simply flip one over. Otherwise, you can try an epoxy or wax repair kit to fill in smaller chips. If there is a deep crack or any damage that could be structural in nature, you will want to replace the board.

Standing Water on Composite Decking

Standing Water on Decking

Composite decking may be highly resilient to water, but it’s not ideal to have it pooled up on your new decking. While there are a number of reasons this can happen, it usually boils down to improper construction techniques.

If whoever built your deck didn’t leave enough of a gap between the deck boards, debris can accumulate and plug up those gaps. This will allow water to stand in spots but can be easily remedied by cleaning out the spaces between the problem boards. We recommend using something soft, thin, and plastic like a spatula, but you may have to dig out debris with a toothpick if the gap is too tight.

Unfortunately, this is one issue where there is no quick and easy fix. If your deck boards aren’t gapped right, you can experience issues like this throughout the year. Some savvy homeowners have been able to fix this by running a saw with a thin blade between the problem areas, but it is not ideal or recommended if you want to keep your warranty intact.

Conclusion

We hope our guide helped you solve some of your Trex decking issues. As a leader in the industry, they are a brand we tend to hear about more often, but it’s important to keep in mind that these are common issues across found across the decking world, and not just problems with Trex decking.

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