Trex product offers more design options

Decks made with recycled-content plastic can now be mounted on steel frames.

August 11, 2015
CDR Staff
Commodities Green Building

Trex Company Inc., Winchester, Virginia, is reporting a growing installation base for its Elevations® deck product line with steel framing. Trex plastic decking products, which come with a 25-year limited warranty, are made with recycled-content plastic and are designed to prolong the life of a deck. The company says pressure-treated lumber can most often resist decay for a maximum of 15 years.

“The outstanding strength of Elevations is made possible by a complete system of integrated steel joists, beams and tracks,” says the company. “Elevations is rot- and termite-resistant, non-combustible with the highest fire rating and is the first and only exterior steel deck framing system supported by a code report,” according to Trex.

The company says builders Steve and Brucie Schneider of San Rafael, California, began advising clients to choose steel deck framing as a replacement for pressure-treated wood two years ago. They have subsequently built dozens of decks using Elevations framing.

Elevations “allows you to create designs that are time-consuming if you tried it with wood,” says Steve Schneider, pointing to curves as one of those design elements.

“We do lots of low-level decks, close to the ground,” he says. “We do long curves that meander with the landscape. You can’t get those shapes with wood. Elevations, opens up the design possibilities.”

Schneider also likes that he can easily use the steel material in ways that aren’t deck-related, such as in the construction of low-level retaining walls, flower boxes and landscape walls. The steel framing system reduces excavation time and allows builders to create longer cantilevers – saving time, material and labor costs.

Elevations is roughly 2.5 times the cost of pressure-treated wood framing, but Schneider says his clients understand the value it adds in lower repair costs over the life of the deck. Watching the first decks he built decades ago now “fall to the ground” with age, Schneider says he is convinced Elevations is the future of deck building. These Trex decks “will outlive us all," he says. "Knowing it’s a better product, and having customers say they are glad they went with it, that’s the reward.”