6 Things You’ll Want to Know Before Installing a Trex Deck

Are you thinking about installing a Trex deck? We love composite decks and have learned a few tricks building them over the years.

Here are some tips you should know before installing your Trex deck, plus why we chose Trex and how our latest deck turned out.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. See my disclosures for details.

What to Know About Trex Decking

1) Hidden Fasteners Are Modern and So Much Easier

Trex deck boards come in grooved or square edge options. The square edge boards are like traditional wood boards that have to be screwed from above.

I’ve heard horror stories about people struggling to screw through the tough square edge Trex boards.

We’re all about the grooved edge boards.

With grooved boards, you use the Trex hidden fasteners that screw in between the boards rather than through them.

The fasteners sit in the grooves hidden below the surface of the deck, acting as spacers between boards.

This makes it much easier to put your deck together, and the end result is clean and modern since you can’t see the screws.

Read more about the hidden deck fasteners

2) Always Inspect Your Boards for Damage Before Installation

We’ve ordered Trex boards a few times from a few different suppliers, and every time some of the boards arrive damaged.

Although Trex is impressively tough and scratch resistant, the delivery process (and trucks dropping the boards on the driveway) can damage a board here and there.

It’s a good idea to order more than you need and closely inspect each board upon arrival. Especially check around the packaging bands for damage.

Inspecting and laying out Trex boards before building deck

You may have to return a few boards, or you might be able to cut and place them in strategic places so the damage isn’t visible.

Try out the Trex cost calculator to figure out how many boards you need to order.

3) If Your Delivery Is Delayed for Several Months, Something’s Wrong

This should be obvious, but it wasn’t for us.

We ordered a big batch of Trex boards through a third party supplier in July of 2020, and the delivery date kept getting pushed back.

Ultimately it was a nine-month wait, but it didn’t have to be.

We thought maybe there were delays with Trex because of pandemic shutdowns, but it was actually a mix-up with our supplier.

Our online order never made it to the store. We called the supplier multiple times, but their customer service reps said it was just a normal delay and we should keep waiting.

When we started to approach another summer, we finally reached a manager who discovered the glitch. After a few more weeks of waiting, the boards arrived.

Lesson Learned: Always ask for the manager.

If you end up waiting more than two months for your Trex to arrive from a supplier, it’s time to track down a manager or contact Trex directly.

Related: You can find a Trex supplier here

4) A Rubber Mallet Will Make Installation a Breeze

Grab a rubber mallet to tap your boards into place as you install your Trex.

This is especially helpful with the grooved Trex boards with hidden fasteners. The fasteners want to grab onto the boards before they’re in the right place.

A rubber mallet makes it easy to adjust the board positioning.

Tapping Trex composite board into place while building deck

You might also want to use a small pry bar to help pull the boards into place in any tricky or tight areas where the rubber mallet won’t fit, like against a wall.

5) You’ve Got Options for Edging and Finishing Your Deck

I like a simple deck with even, parallel rows of deck boards, complete with fascia boards where needed. No fancy edging or angles.

That said, you have lots of options. Some people angle their deck boards chevron style, curve the boards for rounded decks, or run perpendicular boards along the perimeter or down the middle of a deck.

Straight edge along end of Trex deck

You should also know that Trex makes the boards a little longer than promised so you can cut them to fit. We like to pick one side of the deck to maintain an even flat edge, and then cut along the other side to line everything up at the end.

Check out the Trex fascia boards and other finishing touches like deck railing on their website.

Retaining wall blocks around Trex composite deck

We bordered our deck with these modern retaining wall blocks.

6) Trex Boards Typically Don’t Get Hotter Than Wood in the Sun

I’ve had a few people ask me if my Trex deck gets hotter than a wood deck, so I did an A/B test.

Portland recently broke our all-time record for the hottest temperatures ever recorded here: 116 degrees. Perfect time for a scientific experiment!

I ran out to the deck and compared our Trex composite board with our wood handrail.

The results? All deck boards are insufferably hot when it is 116 degrees out. But the wood was actually a little hotter.

This lines up with the official findings posted on the Trex website, but I had to check for myself.

According to Trex, the color of the board is actually more important than the material. For cooler boards, go for a lighter board color to reflect that sun back on itself.

Why Choose Trex for Your Deck?

Trex is tough, beautiful and modern. It stands up to just about any type of weather. And it’s eco-friendly and sustainable.

Read more about the sustainability of Trex

For me, the deciding factor was the easy maintenance. Wood decks need to be sanded and stained or painted regularly. But with a Trex deck, all you have to do is clean it with soap and water as needed.

Trex deck, stairs and retaining wall in newly finished deck area

Never having to sand or stain your deck means extra time and money in your pocket.

But what about other composite decking brands?

I have only ever used Trex, and I trust their quality. Here are some other types of composite decking to compare.

My Trex Deck Progress

My new Trex deck was three years in the making—or more if you count the time it took to remove all this ivy.

This part of the yard was basically useless, except as a snake nesting ground. Once we got rid of the ivy, we realized this was a fairly level area that would be perfect for a deck.

Year 1

First, we had to add new stairs. The old stairs and nearby deck were rotted out and had to go.

Eric and his dad building stairs to the future deck

Eric and his dad built stairs leading to the future deck location.

Year 2

The next summer, we built the deck structure, cantilevering it over the retaining wall below to extend the space.

Family building deck base together

We finished the deck structure in time for…winter. So we covered it with a tarp and waited until June to order our new Trex boards.

Year 3

It was a nine-month wait for boards. Another year of tarps. But in the spring, the boards arrived and we finished the deck in time for summer!

It has been so much fun using this deck. I think the three-year wait made it extra sweet.

New Trex deck with relaxing kiddie pool and chaise lounge chairs

We added gray chaise lounges and this retro flamingo swimming pool for cooling down on hot summer days.

Up next we will install railing for the stairs and edge of the deck, along with new stairs down to the patio below.

I’m a big fan of Trex, and I love my new deck! We learned a few tricks along the way, and I hope these will be helpful for your deck installation.

You might also like these articles for setting up your deck.

14 thoughts on “6 Things You’ll Want to Know Before Installing a Trex Deck”

  1. I just love your new deck!! It was fun to watch it progress each year (having watched the first 2 years in person with the stairs and structure building.) It turned out awesome and was well worth the wait! What a great place to relax and enjoy the summer days! I enjoyed reading all the steps of the building of it and seeing it all turn out perfect! Great job on the instructions and the building! Thumbs up!!

    • Thanks Judy! We’re so grateful you guys could help us build this deck and stairs. It was a big project! I love how relaxing it is. Next time you’re here we’ll sit out back with some wine!

  2. Tara, that new lower deck looks awesome! I might have to contract with you and Eric to come to FL and replace my wood dock boards with Trex.

  3. Hi, Tara, we just ordered our Trex decking. We ordered mostly 16 foot boards. Are the ends of the boards the same color as the top, or are they cut like the samples in the store?

    • Hi Nora, good question! The board ends are cut like the samples in the store. Some people add fascia boards to hide the ends. For my deck, the Trex ends are hidden by the fence on one side and the rock wall on the other.

    • Hi Tom, there are repeated grain patterns on the boards, so we have tried to arrange them so the same patterns don’t appear right next to each other. We do have all the grains running in the same direction though, as opposed to a herringbone style. There are so many creative layouts people have used, so it just depends on what looks good to you.

  4. I would like to replace wooden boards with trex on my rectangular desk. All my current joist are in good condition. Can I order 10 foot ungroved trex boards and screw them down using composite screws? Would it cause cracks in the long run due to expansions/shrinkage?

    • Trex sells “square edge” boards that are meant to be screwed in just like traditional wood deck boards. I think they come in 12-, 16-, and 20-foot options, so you could cut the 20-foot boards to fit your deck. Or you could check Craigslist; I have had luck finding extra boards in various sizes left over from local construction projects. I haven’t tried the square edge boards, so I can’t say how the screws affect them over time, but they are designed for that purpose and seem to be well reviewed. You can contact Trex here to get their insight for your specific project and the square edge boards: https://www.trex.com/contact-us/

  5. We are installing a Trex deck and trying to decide between the Enhance Basics or Enhance Naturals and Select v. the Transcend. The Transcend appears to be more durable BUT is 3 times more expensive. Your thoughts?

    • We chose Trex Transcend Tiki Torch because we liked the look and color the best. We haven’t tried the other styles, but the Transcend has held up well. It looks like Transcend and Signature have the longest warranties, but the Select and Enhance warranties are also a good value. For us, finding some Trex deck boards through Craigslist helped to lower our cost a bit.


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