Many homeowners are turning away from traditional materials in favor of composite materials for deck, porch, balcony and stair railings. At the forefront of this growing trend sits Trex.
In this Trex railing review, we’re going to look at the brand, Trex, the various products it produces - aluminum and composite railing and accessories - and pricing. You can expect to pay $10 to $20 a square foot or $20 to $60 for each linear foot of Trex railing. We’ll also discuss all the necessary accessories for installing a matching Trex railing system.
Get ready to learn everything you could want to know about Trex and why you should consider this company for your deck railing needs.
Who is Trex?
Trex opened its doors in 1996 due to buying out a Mobil Corporation division and became the first manufacturer of composite materials for outdoor spaces. Being environmentally friendly is at the center of all of Trex’s products.
Through hard work and intelligent engineering, Trex expanded from their original venture with composite decking into becoming a supplier of other composite hardware like railings for decks, stairs, and balconies.
Fast forward to 2021, and Trex is still going strong as the largest composite wood-alternative decking manufacturer in the world. People from forty countries around the world trust Trex for their outdoor decking and railing needs.
Annually, Trex sells over $740,000,000 in high-performance composite products, putting them in the lead globally for the most popular and profitable, composite manufacturers.
Trex features unique signature colors and materials so you can get a seamlessly matched deck from the decking to the railing and even the small accessories that go along with rail installation, such as post caps, skirts, or hoods.
What Does Trex Sell?
Trex is known first and foremost as a manufacturer of the world’s first and oldest composite deck boards. These composite boards are 95% recycled materials with a durable outer shell that gives better performance and protection than wood planks.
In addition to decking, Trex also produces outdoor lighting, railing and rail enhancements, and aluminum gates. Trex railings are the perfect way to add the finishing touches your Trex deck needs to be safe and aesthetically appealing.
All rails made by Trex are low maintenance. You won’t need to stain, paint, or seal anything after installation. And true to Trex’s desire to be more eco-friendly, all railing is made of at least 40% recycled materials. Best of all, all Trex railing is code-compliant.
Trex offers three lines of railing in various styles and prices. The series structure works as a Best, Better, Good model starting with the Signature line, which is the best. Transcend is a better option than Select but not as good as Signature, giving it the Better label. The Select series classifies as good. You can also find railings in different materials - aluminum or composite.
RAB or SAB
SCB or RAB
3 (Composite) or 1 (aluminum)
- RAB - round aluminum baluster
- SAB - square aluminum baluster
- SCB - square composite baluster
If you prefer a contemporary or modern style, view the offerings from the Trex Signature line. These aluminum railings offer negative space and enhanced durability with unique infill choices of square or round aluminum balusters.
There are also options for mesh railing, glass railing, and rod rail kits. All models come with aluminum rails and posts but differ in the infill, color options, curve ability, and cocktail rail install.
Rod rails feature aluminum rod infills, while mesh railing uses mesh, and glass railing uses glass panel inserts (not sold by Trex). You can use cocktail rails with aluminum, rod, or mesh railing but not with glass.
You have the pick of four color options for powder-coated aluminum railing. You can choose classic white, bronze, charcoal black, or platinum (which only applies to the rods). And with aluminum railing, you can have it curved.
Trex guarantees you will not have any corrosion or fading. If any occurs, you have a 25-year limited warranty that can cover replacement. This series has a five-star scratch resistance rating, the highest possible score.
The Trex Transcend line of products allows you to customize your infill and railing, giving you the best variety and uniqueness. You can achieve a traditional look for less money than railing from the Signature line.
You can choose from seven composite or three aluminum colors if you choose a custom kit. And if you don’t want to come up with a design, choose from various pre-designed kits. There are three available colors for composite rail kits or one for aluminum kits.
Trex offers composite rail kits with square composite or round aluminum balusters. If you want to go the custom route, you have the additional choice of square aluminum balusters.
The kits and the custom order allow you to choose curved rails and the additional option for cocktail rails. The Trex Transcend line has a two-star rating for scratch resistance.
SCB or RAB
SCB, RAB, or SAB
3 (composite) 1 (aluminum)
7 (composite) 3 (aluminum)
Trex Select is all about simplicity and safety. This line consists of composite rails and round aluminum balusters. This option only comes in one color for a standard rail.
You cannot get the rails curved, but you can include a cocktail rail. The Select line is ideal for finishing a Trex deck on a budget. This railing is functional and attractive without being elaborate.
A downside of Trex Enhance is that it’s only rated one-star in terms of scratch resistance. This reduced durability does allow you to get a basic-looking railing for a minor cost.
Trex makes it easy to create a seamless look of all aluminum or make a bold statement by mixing materials with composite posts and aluminum railing.
The railing options are a bit more limited than the options you find with the Trex composite decking when it comes to colors. But they carry all the basic colors you could want to complete a style.
You have the color options of charcoal black, classic white, bronze, or platinum for aluminum railings. Composite railings come in a few extra selections of signature Trex colors that go great with the corresponding colored decking. These options are:
(1) Warranty: The first number is the Residential warranty. The second is the Commercial warranty.
- Rope swing - CET
- Treehouse - CET
- Vintage Lantern - CET
- Charcoal Black
- Classic White
- Gravel Path - CET
Four of these six colors belong to the Classic Earth Tone collection of colors, labeled CET above. These colors are also available in composite decking.
In aluminum posts, you have the option of 37”, 43”, or 53” heights. If you want an elevated height, you could choose the 63” aluminum joist mount post. Each post comes with a matching cap and skirt.
There are also posts with pre-mounted brackets for easier installation for the ends, corners, or along the railing line. These come in heights of 37” or 43”. Choose an aluminum crossover post if you want a fully graspable top rail. You have the option of 36” or 42” heights.
You can also purchase composite post sleeves to fit over pressure-treated 4”x4” or 6”x6” post mounts. These sleeves come in heights of 39” or 108” with widths of 4” or 6”.
The 6”x6” is only available in classic white. However, the 4”x4” comes in white (WT), black (BK), gray pebble (GP), treehouse (TH), rope swing (RS), vintage lantern (VL), or firepit (FP).
Caps come in the same seven color options - WT, BK, GP, RS, TH, FP, or VL, with flat or pyramid profiles. These also come in widths of 4”x4” or 6”x6”, which only come in white.
Post sleeve skirts are also the same colors and widths, with 6”x6” only being available in a basic white color. These go on the bottom of your posts to complete the look.
To make things easier, you can always purchase a complete rail kit. All kits come with the top and bottom rails and balusters in the same package. You will need to purchase caps, skirts, and post sleeves separately.
You have the options of choosing:
- Aluminum railing with square composite baluster (36” or 42” heights, 6’ or 8’ lengths) in WT, BL, or bronze (BZ)
- Aluminum railing with round aluminum baluster (36” or 42” heights, 6’ or 8’ lengths), WT, BL, or BZ
- Assembled square baluster (36” or 42” heights, 4’, 6’, or 8’ lengths) only BL
- White composite cocktail rail with black round aluminum balusters
Rod rail kits come in heights of 36” or 42” with length options of 6’ or 8’. Color combinations are black on black(BL/BL), bronze on platinum (BZ/PL), or black on platinum (BL/PL).
Mesh rail kits come in lengths of 6’ or 8’ with heights of 36” or 42” and color options of bronze or black. However, the mesh inserts do not come with the kit and must be purchased separately. Mesh infills come in 36” or 42” heights with lengths of 6’ or 8’ with no color options.
Glass rail kits offer 6’ lengths and the color options of black or white. This kit also does not come with the inserts, and Trex does not sell these. You will need to contact a glass supplier to buy ¼” tempered glass.
RAB or SAB
How to Buy a Railing Kit
If you decide to purchase a railing kit, you’ll get the top and bottom rails and the infill, but you have to buy the skirts, caps, and sleeves separately.
First, decide if you want a rail and baluster kit or a cocktail rail and baluster kit. Cocktail rails only have round aluminum balusters, but the rail kit comes with round aluminum or square composites.
Next, choose your post sleeve’s height (39’ or 108’), width (4”x4” or 6”x6”), and color - WH (the only option for 6”x6”), BL, GP, RS, TH, FP, or VL.
Then choose your cap style (pyramid or flat), width, and color. Trex also offers variations of caps that feature lights. You’ll also choose your skirt’s width and color.
Once this is done, it’s time to choose the crown top rail, choosing from lengths of 6’ or 8’ and the same seven color options as the caps and skirts. If you’re installing a cocktail rail, you’ll need to purchase universal rails, which work for the top or bottom. You’ll also need a bottom rail.
Next is to choose your baluster infills. You can choose from a square composite in heights of 36” or 42” with color options of WT, BK, GP, RS, TH, FP, or VL. Or choose round aluminum balusters in heights of 36” or 42” with limited color options of WT, BL, or BZ. There’s also square aluminum balusters in the same heights and colors.
Trex Railing Pricing
Your railing pricing will vary by product line, with Signature costing the most due to being a more luxury option, Transcend coming somewhere in the middle, and Select being the cheapest option.
You will pay between $10 to $20 for each square foot of deck. For a linear foot, you’ll be paying $20 to $60. The final cost will depend on the deck perimeter’s linear footage and the number of posts. Whether you have it professionally installed or DIY, the installation will also play a factor.
You can expect to pay around $57, but ranging from $44 to $68 a linear foot for installation by a pro. That’s compared to closer to $33 with a range of $25 to $36 for each linear foot by doing it yourself. The professional installation estimate includes the cost of materials, labor, installation, and supplies.
Other than the railing, there are some other items you’ll have to work into your budget. You’ll need items like posts, caps, skirts, stairs, handrails, and optional accessories like gates or outdoor lighting.
The pricing for posts varies from $7 to $14, with taller posts of 45” with 42” rails being more expensive than a standard height of 39” with 36” rails. Longer railing pieces will also cost more than short pieces.
Caps can vary in costs, with some styles costing as much as $30 per post. Skirts generally cost under $15 and come with 12 per box. Caps also come with 12 per box. Sleeves can range from $46 for a 4”x4” to slightly more for a 6”x6”.
Trex is a superior, eco-friendly brand that produces a wide variety of decking materials, including composite boards, gates, stairs, and railing. When you purchase Trex railing, you have the option of buying aluminum or composite, which is made of at least 40% recycled materials using green energy manufacturing practices. You have the option to buy complete kits for a matching look or mix materials for a unique style.