On March 30, 1995, three inventors filed an application for a United States patent. Messrs. Gustafsson, Muller, and Wittenberg claimed to have invented a novel way to make a unique “…wood/thermoplastic composite material…”. The Patent Office reviewed the application. They granted US Patent #5746958 three years later, in May 1998. Trex decking came into our world.
Trex Company, Inc. acquired the patent and went public in 1999 on the New York Stock Exchange. The composite material made by Trex was a smashing success. Over 6,700 retailers in 29 countries sold over half a billion dollars worth in 2017. Having pioneered the wood-alternative decking concept, Trex didn’t rest on its laurels. In 2009 the company introduced its Transcend decking material and remains in the vanguard of the industry.
The inventors of the Trex manufacturing process were motivated by environmental concerns. Specifically, by the anticipation of recycling mandates. The process they invented uses materials that previously had been trashed. Wood leftovers, for one thing. Sawdust, wood chips, and wood fiber. The “waste” of a furniture factory, for example. They added another kind of “trash” to the mix. Polyethylene plastic. Our modern societies discard gigantic amounts of one-use, disposable polyethylene. Stretch wrap, packaging films, grocery, and retail bags. Plastic overwraps. Think about that. The plastic waste that concerns so many people worry about are valuable raw materials!
That’s what Trex decking is made from. Wood and plastic waste that nobody wanted. Not one single tree has ever been cut down to make Trex decking. Nobody ever produced any plastic for making Trex decking. Trex products are, overall, are 97% recycled materials. The other 3% are pigments and preservatives. The company’s green commitment goes further than that, too, in its operations. For example, the company’s transport trailer hydraulics. They use vegetable oil instead of petroleum-based lubricants. We, as L.A. deck builders, salute this company mission.
For some people, the Trex green is the prime driver of their preference for it. Trex is undeniably a green choice. Homeowners in this frame of mind, though, don’t sacrifice durability or strength. The maintenance demands are very low, too. Trex decking doesn’t –well, it can’t! – splinter or warp. It’s super resistant to staining and fading, too. A once-a-year scrub with soapy water and a soft brush is usually all a Trex deck asks for by way of upkeep.
Why, then, aren’t all decks Trex decks? Two main reasons. One, the look and feel. Trex decking does come in a large number of shades and simulated grains, to be sure. However, for some people, the look-and-feel of natural wood is their heart’s desire. A perfectly legitimate preference. Two, Trex decking costs 2-3 times what pressurized wood does. There’s that. In fact, Trex also lasts 2-3 times longer, but for some people, the up-front expense trumps the long-term payback.