Las Vegas — Trex Co. Inc. says it has engineered cost out of the equation for homeowners wanting to upgrade from pressure-treated wood decking — and the sanding, staining and sealing work it needs — to low-maintenance composite wood decking.
The Winchester, Va.-based company showed two new lines of its Enhance decking, which is made from recycled polyethylene plastic film and reclaimed wood fiber, at the International Builders' Show, put on Feb. 21-23 by the National Association of Home Builders in Las Vegas.
Trex's decking line called Enhance Basic was re-engineered with a scalloped profile on the underside to cut material costs, Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing, told Plastics News. The savings are being passed on to consumers as the No. 1 manufacturer of composite wood decking strategically prices Enhance Basic to close the spending gap with pressure-treated lumber.
"This collection introduces a premium quality, low-maintenance decking option for budget-minded consumers who may have previously eliminated composite from their consideration set due to price," Adkins said. "By narrowing the price gap, we're able to widen our reach and capture a larger share of the decking market."
At $1.75 per linear foot, Enhance Basic costs about twice as much as wood, which sells for about 85 cents per linear foot, according to the latest Trex investor presentation. Still, company officials expect the price and value proposition to entice more homeowners and put Trex within their reach.
Unlike wood, composite decking does not fade, stain, scratch, mold, rot, warp or crack. The boards don't require any time-consuming maintenance either beyond cleaning with soap and water. And the scalloped profile is lighter weight than other decking for easier handling and installation.
Trex's other new composite decking, Enhance Naturals, is priced at $2.50 per linear foot along with Trex Select. Both decking lines are targeting the do-it-yourself market and budget-conscious buyers, while the company's premier line, Trex Transend, costs $4 per linear foot.
Trex isn't the only composite decking manufacturer rolling out new or modified products to compete more directly against wood decking, which in 2016 held about 83 percent of a $2.5 billion market. At IBS, TimberTech Edge, Fiberon Good Life, MoistureShield and Tamko Envision representatives also were talking about the benefits their products bring to outdoor living spaces as the conversion to nonwood materials continues.
Despite its long and strong dominance, wood is losing market share — it was at 84 percent in 2014 — at the expense of composites, according to Prinicipia Partners, a research and consulting firm focused on the construction industry, although the new figures are expected later this year.
Every percent of market share that wood loses represents a gain of about $50 million a year in sales to competitors, according to Trex officials.
With annual sales of $565.2 million, Trex leads the pack and ranks sixth among pipe, profile and tubing extruders in North America, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.