Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trex Warranty

A closer look at the Trex ® Warranty

25-Year Limited Residential Warranty
25-Year Limited Residential Warranty Details (pdf, 24K)

If a defect occurs within the warranty period, Purchaser shall notify Trex in writing and, upon confirmation by an authorized Trex representative of the defect, Trex’s sole responsibility shall be, at its option, to either replace the defective item or refund the portion of the purchase price paid by Purchaser for such defective item (not including the cost of its initial installation).
"They Intimate--that they (may either replace or refund purchase price of only the portion found to be defective) --obviously this entire article, with exception of quotations is simply opinion--L

Trex shall not be responsible for costs and expenses incurred with respect to the removal of defective Trex products or the installation of replacement materials, including but not limited to labor and freight.
"They will not pay to dispose of the defective product, shipping to return the product or installation costs to replace the defective product or any other associated costs, (that is what (but not limited to labor....))"
Here is where it gets interesting and where I will try to help you cut through to what will or will not be covered if you happen to have a legitimate warranty claim.
Here is a partial list of what you or your contractor could do wrong that would negate any implied warranty.
1) improper installation of Trex products and/or failure to abide by Trex’s installation guidelines (48 page, 23 meg on-line document)
  • All colored chalk lines are permanent except white.

  • Trex Company does not recommend sanding. Sanding will change the appearance of the surface of Trex ® material and will void the warranty.

  • Check your local building codes for restrictions. Trex ® cannot be used for structural applications. (page 12 paragraph 1)

  • Spacing of edges and end grain butt joints must be present to the specified sizes.
  • They don't spell it out, they assume you know what 100lbs/sf of strength means... it means that a 100lb man with size 12' will be supported by the decking on 16" centers... Better space joists minimum 12" and 8" if diagonal for a solid feeling deck. There is a chart on page 14.

  • Stairs need support every 9" for some products--12" for others.

  • Trex Escapes decking should be cleaned at least twice per year (Spring and Fall). It is important to keep the deck clean of dirt and debris. Any debris that sits on the surface can be a potential food source for mold and mildew.
  • ...never use a metal snow shovel on a Trex deck. A shovel may scratch the deck, which is not covered under warranty.

  • Trex Company does not recommend the use of a pressure washer. The use of a pressure washer with a greater than 1,500 PSI and/or applied closer than 12" from the deck surface could damage the decking surface and result in a loss of warranty coverage.
Mold Technical Bulletin (excerpts)
...Due to mold’s adaptability and large number of species, it is very hard to control and impossible to totally eliminate. Mold will not affect the structural performance of Trex decking.

...Mold spreads easily and may return in some environments despite proper cleaning and preventative measures. Mold does not damage Trex and will cause no harm if allowed to propagate. In some cases it will require several treatments with the deck wash to completely remove all mold colonies. Even if the spots are no longer visible, there may still be mold spores on the surface that could regrow.
This said, Trex is made of pulp lumber (byproduct of the pulp and paper industry, bark and sap wood from deciduous trees known to be high in sugar content (sugars are food for mold). As well the plastic part of Trex is recycled also, much of it pop bottles, again, high in sugar content. Pulp lumber exposed to the environment will begin to decompose quickly.

They negate any implied warranty for;

(2) Use of Trex products beyond normal residential use, or in an application not recommended by Trex’s guidelines and local building codes;In my view, when they don't want you to use in commercial applications the product has wear related issues.

(3) movement, distortion, collapse or settling of the ground or the supporting structure on which Trex products are installed;

(4) any act of God (such as flooding, hurricane, earthquake, lightning, etc.), environmental condition (such as air pollution, mold, mildew, etc.), staining from foreign substances (such as dirt, grease, oil, etc.), or normal weathering (defined as exposure to sunlight, weather and atmosphere which will cause any colored surface to gradually fade, flake, chalk, or accumulate dirt or stains);
I find it laughable that they include mold in the "Act of God" category--but, there it is. They quickly lump stains and fading into this "Act of God category as well. Keep in mind that they had issues with flaking last year and they have set aside many millions of dollars for compensation of homeowners after closing the plant in Arizona.
(5) variations or changes in color of Trex products;
Every batch is a slightly different color--no big deal really.
(6) improper handling, storage, abuse or neglect of Trex products by Purchaser, the transferee or third parties; or leaves left on for weeks, dirt on the decking... barbecue grease spillage--don't be abusive to your deck is the message... better still, don't use it.

(7) ordinary wear and tear. That is a difficult thing to define.
In summation-- many things most people expect to be covered by Trex Warranty--Simply is not.

Do your research.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Pergola Design 101, part 2; Pergola Design Rules:

  • More than 12' spans are expensive, use sparingly.
  • Pergolas should have more than 4 posts whenever possible, 4 post pergolas always have that "Amateur Look".
If I get another amateur designer/homeowner ask for free plans for a 16' x 18’ pergola perched on 4 posts I am going to scream.

Not only is it a design faux pas, but it is just plain dangerous to run that close to the edge. First strong wind—first sign of rot—first tremor and your dream pergola with only 4 posts is likely to hit the ground. (If not designed properly)

What are they thinking?
A post stuck in the ground will never move?

A post perched upon a sonotube has infinite lateral strength?

Maybe that the footings are the difficult part of the job so they only want to do 4?

Or is it that they wouldn’t want anything to obstruct their wide open view. Why bother building a pergola if you don’t want to look at it. Does a pergola not frame the view?

Then again when you look at the pergolas typically built by deck contractors, with their 4 posts and their 2 stacks of sticks designs, I would prefer not to look at it either.

Go ahead—ask if we can give you plans for a 16 x18 pergola with only 4 support posts and try to cut me off before I explain why that is a really—really bad idea.

We can design a pergola that size with only 4 posts… the posts will be massive (and come at a premium), the footings are likely to be 2-3’ in width, (also at a premium), and the beam is likely to be more than 16” high, (heavy premium-and will obstruct some of your precious view).
If you are willing to shorten up the spans and use 8 or 12 posts rather than 4 it will be about ½ the price—and just my opinion, but I think it will add architectural intrigue to your home and frame the view rather nicely.

Here’s another article about the same subject: large span pergolas


Thursday, July 03, 2008


Eon really isn't composite decking. It is plastic, and walking on it feels like walking on hollow plastic tubes. We've heard all kinds of complaints and I'm not going to rehash them. If you are thinking about purchasing a deck clad with Eon product go and walk on an Eon deck, and choose a cool day to do it.

On a cool day you will see the gaps between the boards that tell me instantly--this is Eon. One client referred to it as "Orgasmic"--it groans all day long while the sun moves across it.

This customer put down this decking a few years ago--before they had a proper installation guide. Boards have cracked and broken and the shrunken away from the joists to the point of collapse.

I am doing design work for these folks presently and the first project is putting proper decking on this substantial frame--and giving it a better looking rail. They will likely be putting down TigerDeck.