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  1. #1
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    Anyone ever built a TREX fence?

    So, the fence between my house and my neighbors house is threatening to come through my living room window, so I'm on the fast track to replace it.

    Being the eco-gal I am, I won't use certain wood products, and I'm looking into a couple of options for how to have this thing built.

    Option #1 would be to use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or equivalent wood. This would likely mean sometype of sustainably harvested redwood product.

    Option #2: TREX, the maker of recycled plastic lumber decks that many of you have probably seen or even used, has recently launched Trex fencing, which looks way cool to me. I'm thinking this is a good option for several reasons:

    1) the eco factor
    2) the durability factor - they have a 25 year guarantee, and are tested to 110 mph winds. Being on the Coast, we get some serious wind storms now and then.
    3) the low maintenance factor - never needs restaining and will not splinter


    I have no idea how much more expensive it is - I'll find out on Monday when I can get a distributor on the phone.

    I'm just curious whether anyone here knows anything about them either anecdotally or firsthand. Has anyone seen a real live Trex fence? How do they look?

    And of course, the biggest question - how do I convince my neighbor, who has already agreed to split the cost of a new fence with me, to split this new, higher cost??
    “Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”

  2. #2
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    We just had TREX deck laid down at work and it looks great, it's the color of redwood and feels good on the bottom of my feet. The cost thing is tough, but it will increase the overall value of the property, so you could frame it like that.
    "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms, their energy. Your cares and tensions will drop away like the leaves of Autumn." --John Muir

    "welcome to the hacienda, asshole." --s.p.c.

  3. #3
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    I am building a trex deck as we speak cost is approx. $2.50 a ft which is almost 3 times more than wood and 2times more than pressure treated wood. But i figur it's worth it you spend what you save sealing a wood fence. Another good thing about trex for fence material no Termite damage

  4. #4
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    We've built a Trex deck with Trex rails and gates. Because it was so expensive we used an underdeck fastening system to avoid screws and keep a clean look. It's been in a few years now. Some observations.

    It is maintenance free, well maintenance light anyway
    The color has faded. A lot. To a light grey which, for us, is no big deal.
    It's easy to clean with a powerwasher which brings back some of the color for a while
    It stains easily
    It gets slippery with age
    It's easy to screw down (even from underneath)
    Trex gets bendy when it heats up in the sun so rather than laying the deck structure at 16" you need to do it at 12".
    There are different thicknesses of Trex material. The thinner the more bendy.
    This bendy-ness makes it less suitable for vertical applications like rails and fences.
    We used the Trex 4x4s for the main verticals and 2x2s for the pickets on the rails with 2x6s as the horizontal members.
    The 4x4s have a hole running through them which could potentially allow for structural reinforcement (we didn't though)

    I would NOT advise a fence out of Trex (our fencing is redwood) especially if it's any higher than 4'. It simply isn't the right type of material with structural problems.

  5. #5
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    TruckeeLocal -

    That's great info - exactly what I've been looking for.

    The Trex line now has a line specifically for fences (6 feet, I think), which is what I would do. So you wouldn't be using the same material that you'd build a deck out of - it's specific to fencing. Does that change your thoughts at all?

    Here's the link...

    http://www.trexfencing.com/

    If you check out "Estimator" it give you a sense of the parts you need. Just a rough estimate gave me this....

    Fence Posts - 16
    Post Caps - 16
    Top Rails - 13
    Bottom Rails - 26
    Bottom Rail Inserts - 13
    Pickets - 247
    Brackets - 52

    None of this means much to me in terms of what the cost would be, but I would also assume it's much higher than wood, as you said.
    “Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by watersnowdirt View Post
    TruckeeLocal -

    That's great info - exactly what I've been looking for.

    The Trex line now has a line specifically for fences (6 feet, I think), which is what I would do. So you wouldn't be using the same material that you'd build a deck out of - it's specific to fencing. Does that change your thoughts at all?
    Most of the materials we used for the rails were designed for rails and match the deck nicely but don't work as well as 'normal' rail materials - my brother-in-law used Trex but with metal pickets that seems to be holding up better than our full Trex railings (we were early adopters). But I'm sure the fencing specific material would work fine (it looks like the bottom rail insert is metal) but perhaps you, too, would be an early adopter with the related risks.

    Somethings I forgot to mention -

    Trex pickets are easily consumed by Honda snowblowers
    Trex is HEAVY
    But we're basically happy we went with Trex. It does meet our expectations with regard to maintenance.
    Our neighbor put in a Trex deck last year and a redwood fence this year and they can get the materials at near distributor cost/'proform'.
    Last edited by TruckeeLocal; 06-02-2007 at 05:50 PM.

  7. #7
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    I also put in a trex deck and have a hard time imagining it for fencing because of the points above. Don't know how the fencing stuff varies and may address those issues.

    Another point not mentioned. Keep cutting to a minimum or non existant. It's sort of hard to cut, tough on blades and produces an unbelieveable volume of 'sawdust' for lack of a better word. Not thinking that stuff is all that ecofriendly either.

    Generally I'm pleased with the deck outcome and found 16" centers to be fine. Maybe it doesn't get as hot here.
    It's not so much the model year, it's the high mileage or meterage to keep the youth of Canada happy

  8. #8
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    When it gets really hot (90F+), Trex reeks of melted plastic. One has to wonder if inhaling such vapors is healthy or not.

  9. #9
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    i've never used the fence stuff either but i'm not a fan of the deck material. sucks to work w/ and i think it's not nearly as attractive as redwood. for decks if you're sold on the trex i reccomend using it only for the 2x decking and using redwood for the railing cause the rail material and fastening system is rediculously expensive and i think it looks like plastic, which it is. i gotta imagine the fencing fastening system and the post hardware is prolly of the same ilk. and is plastic production really more eco-friendly then present day timber harvesting?? i'd go w/ cedar pickets w/ red pressure treated posts and rails and then give it a redwood stain. but again i'm not familiar w/ trex fencing so thats jus my uninformed opinion based on their deck stuff.

  10. #10
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    please don't use trex for your fence. i've built a few decks in the last year and my least favorite was the one where we used trex.

    the way trex expands and contracts with heat and weather is fundamentally wrong for fences. let's say that trex says to use 1/4 inch spacing between planks, by the end of summer it will be a 1/16th gap and it could be 1/2 by winter.


    worst of all is the warped/wavy look you get from trex. it is ok on a deck because you are looking down on it and don't notice. on the trex deck i built, if you looked at the deck from eye level it looked like the open ocean. i can only imagine what a fence would look like.


    there are some positives to the stuff, it is extremely durable and looks decent. in my opinion though, use wood.
    god created man. winchester and baseball bats made them equal - evel kenievel

  11. #11
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    Great feedback all. Looks like it's wood fence shopping time .

    (TR to follow, if it turns out well).
    “Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”

  12. #12
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    FYI, WSD lives on the NorCal coast. For those not familiar with this area, it's foggy and damp all the time. Untreated wood really shouldn't even be an option if she's looking for any sort of longevity. So we're talking treated lumber of some sort vs. Trex.

    The only treated wood I have any experience with is the 12x12s we used to use for bridge falsework, so maybe I'm not much help. We bought the treated stuff for a reason though, and it was definitely sturdy as hell. Yes, it's spendy up front; but over the long haul it's much cheaper since it has a much longer life span. Which also means it has great conservationist benefits too. The stuff we bought was pretty resistant to the elements. It was rare that it warped, rotted, etc. I can't think of many other types of wood that have resale value either, although that may not apply to WSDs application.

    Anyway, if others can chime in here with specific stuff she should look for, that could be a big help. I'm not too familiar with redwood's longevity either, so maybe that's an effective alternate.

    And yes, I do realize I'm talking out of my ass somewhat.

    I will add that I love the Trex deck at my apartment. The wood railing is already showing its age from 3-4 winters while the Trex deck is rocking on.
    Last edited by Arty50; 06-04-2007 at 12:09 AM.
    "I knew in an instant that the three dollars I had spent on wine would not go to waste."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by watersnowdirt View Post
    Great feedback all. Looks like it's wood fence shopping time .

    (TR to follow, if it turns out well).
    Seconded on the good feedback.

    After you get your fence building skillz dialed, how about a "vacation" to Utah to "oversee" the building of my fence?
    "In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair." -Emerson

  14. #14
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    my fence building skills = check writing skills to a better and more competant fence builder than myself! Sorry powstash.
    “Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”

  15. #15
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    Seriously, did we learn nothing from Jurassic Park?

    ROBOTS ARE EATING MY FACE.

  16. #16
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    My neighborhood (in Boulder Colorado) has plenty of Trex decks, railings, and fences which have endured very well, so I have to believe that people who had problems with Trex made mistakes in either application or material selection. I have buildt several Trex decks and stairs with no problem, clearly you want structural members more closely spaced, but the deck across the street from me was installed nearly 15 years ago when Trex first came out and still looks good, with zero maintenance, but the builder used the "2x4" Trex not the 1 by material.
    Redwood trees take centuries to grow and redwood decks and fences need constant staining and still do not last that long (I have had to replace splintered and cracked redwood decks on rental houses that I own). There is nowhere near enough second-growth redwood to meet demand, which is why Pacific and the other big loggers keep pushing to log the last little scraps of redwood old-growth. I guess in another 1000 years we might have some "new" old-growth redwood, but until then it seems tragic to kill a tree older than the US for a deck or a fence with decade life expectancy.

  17. #17
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    I too would like to hear more about how one of the slowest growing tree species can be sustainably harvested. I'm not hating or doubting, just wondering.

    The only folks who I've ever heard of having problems with Trex were those who installed it like lumber. You MUST (if you get any direct sunlight at all) mount it 12" on center. If you do that it'll last forever, and, most importantly, won't get "wavy." If you're talking about "cupping" Z-Bo then that's the first time I've ever heard of that.

    My wife only designs Trex or Ultrahardwood decks (like Ipe) in her remodels. She has never had a complaint about the material.

    I bet if you install the Trex Fence as specified it will do exactly what it was supposed to. The 25 year guarantee doesn't hurt either. Tell your neighbor to suck it up now or pay for the next fence alone... but do it nicely.

  18. #18
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    Tipp, the redwood that is now sold is like 4th growth. Not surprisingly, the growth rings are huge, the decking is FULL of sapwood, and therefore the stuff basically bears no resemblance to the clear, dense, and deep red old growth redwood that is incredibly decay resistant, beautiful, and easy to work.

    Zdash, I agree with some of what you say, especially with the shrinkage. As for the flatness, did you use 5/4 or 2x decking? Joists on 16" centers are pretty much required for a Trex deck, too.

  19. #19
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    Geez, just when there seemed to be consensus, now I'm back on the TREX bandwagon.

    Can't you guys all agree and make it easy for me to decide??

    Bossass - that made me chuckle!!

    Regarding the wood issue, though I don't think that the Forest Stewardship Council certification is an automatic "green" light so to speak, I do think that it carries at least a bit of assurance that the wood you're buying is not endangered. That's why I referenced in the top post that if I do use wood, I'll only use FSC or equivalent.

    I sit on a enviro board called ForestEthics that is very rigid in it's standards and called the Executive Director (who also happens to be a friend) and asked him what he thought about this, and his two suggestions were Trex or FSC wood.

    So my next step is to price these two options out, and I'm going to go to the lumberyard and talk to them about their wood and see what sort of rap they give me about their practices.

    I'll report back what I learn.
    “Within this furnace of fear, my passion for life burns fiercely. I have consumed all evil. I have overcome my doubt. I am the fire.”

  20. #20
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    From Wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoia

    Coast Redwood is one of the most valuable timber species in California, with 364,000 ha of redwood forest, all second growth, managed for timber production [2]. Coast Redwood lumber is highly valued for its beauty, light weight, and resistance to decay. It is also resistant to fire since it does not burn well due to its lack of resin.

    P. H. Shaughnessy, Chief Engineer of the San Francisco Fire Department wrote:

    In the recent great fire of San Francisco, that began April 18th, 1906, we succeeded in finally stopping it in nearly all directions where the unburned buildings were almost entirely of frame construction and if the exterior finish of these buildings had not been of redwood lumber, I am satisfied that the area of the burned district would have been greatly extended.

    Redwood burls are used in the production of table tops, veneers, and turned goods. The phenolics and tannins present in old growth redwood stock affords excellent termite and water damage protection. Old growth redwood construction is highly prized as a result. Only 3 percent of the present redwood forest is old growth, but not all of it is protected from further exploitation. The Pacific Lumber Company, a subsidiary of the Maxxam Corporation, continues to log old growth Redwoods despite decades of public protest. More and more of the second growth forest is being converted into protected areas with hopes of them taking on old growth forest characteristics. Examples of this are the Big Basin State Park and the recently acquired San Lorenzo River Redwoods. Some of the remaining forest consists of redwood plantations grown on a short (40-70 years) rotation. Other areas are slowly succumbing to suburban sprawl.
    The Coast Redwood is locally naturalized in New Zealand, notably at Rotorua. Other areas of successful cultivation outside of the native range include western Europe from the British Isles south to Portugal, the Queen Charlotte Islands, middle elevations of Hawaii, and the southeastern United States from eastern Texas to North Carolina.
    I know I'm inferring this from a source that isn't 100% reliable, but it sounds like you need to buy old growth in order to get the most benefit out of redwood.

    2nd growth gets you: beauty, light weight, and resistance to decay
    old growth adds in: excellent termite and water damage protection

    Is this wrong?
    "I knew in an instant that the three dollars I had spent on wine would not go to waste."

  21. #21
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    Dont know your feelings on this but have you thought about vinyl fencing? Long wear...low maintenance. Sustainable.

    Just a thought.

    M

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skidog View Post
    Dont know your feelings on this but have you thought about vinyl fencing? Long wear...low maintenance. Sustainable.

    Just a thought.

    M
    Chain link fencing even more so

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruckeeLocal View Post
    Chain link fencing even more so

    Yeah but im thinking aesthetics is an issue here as well, and while chain link is effective it isnt soo pretty...I guess if you have YEARS to wait you can plant a vine of some sort along the chain link and eventually it will engulf the entire thing..ive done this before, but it takes much time and finagling the silly vines in the directions you want them to go.

    M

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skidog View Post
    Yeah but im thinking aesthetics is an issue here as well, and while chain link is effective it isnt soo pretty...I guess if you have YEARS to wait you can plant a vine of some sort along the chain link and eventually it will engulf the entire thing..ive done this before, but it takes much time and finagling the silly vines in the directions you want them to go.
    We 'hide' our recently stained redwood fence with hops. They go nuts. They grow inches a day (but die back in winter) even up here. Oh, and canabis is a member of the hops family ...

  25. #25
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    Trex Fence

    This is a response to a posting from some time ago, but since it still comes up in a Google search for "Trex Fence" in 2009, I thought it would be worthwhile to address the questions and responses.

    In answer to Watersnowdirt's inquiry, I think the forum users that were interested in this post would appreciate additional input from a company that has actually been working with the Trex fence product for over 4 years. There also appears to be some confusion in the dimensions and structure of the Trex fence product versus the components in decking. For example, Trex fence posts are quite different from Trex railing posts - railing posts would not be used for a fencing installation.

    We can attest to the enormous popularity and durability of the Trex fence product. We've installed over 100,000 feet of Trex Fence since we started working with it in 2005. That's the equivalent of over 500 residential standard-sized properties. And that's just us. Nationally, we rank in the top 5 but there are thousands of homeowners that have had Trex fences installed and are thrilled with them. For our part, our customer reviews come in just as high or higher than the cedar fences we install. Trex fence is essentially the Lexus of the fencing industry. Here are some of the amazing properties of Trex fencing that sold us on the product:

    - the Trex fence is has a true neighbor-friendly design; it looks exactly the same on both sides.
    - the Trex fence is a complete privacy fence. There is no visibility between pickets (as sometimes occurs with wood as it weathers) because the pickets interlock with each other.
    - the Trex fence material carries a 25 year warranty. That's pretty impressive for an outdoor product.
    - Trex material is LEED certified; it's a green product because it uses reclaimed plastic and wood by-products; that's been a really nice feature given that more and more of our customers are demanding eco-friendly products
    - Trex is one of the strongest properties in fencing. It's thick walls will withstand up to 110 mph continuous winds even on 8' centers and 130 mph bursts. Vinyl will shred apart before it gets that high, and smaller wood fences also will not withstand that kind of punishment. We always install Trex fencing or cedar fencing with 6x6 posts in the high-wind areas of our service area.
    - The Trex fence has a more natural look to it than other composites and plastic-based products like vinyl. That not only means it's more appealing aesthetically, it also retains the richness of its pigmentation. Speaking of colors, it comes in Saddle (tan), Woodland Brown (dark brown), and Grey. We've even mixed and matched the colors for a few of our customers.

    By the way, just to make sure you all know we aren't Trex salespeople trying to self-promote - CFC Fences & Decks is an installation and material sales company in central Utah. We work with several other products besides Trex including wood and iron. Our experience with the Trex Fence has been one of the best things to happen to our business - it gave us a significant growth boost at a time when our community was looking for an upscale, low-maintenance alternative to vinyl and wood.

    If you have any questions about the Trex Fence that you would like answered from a contractor's standpoint, shoot me an email at: bids@fenceutah.com. It doesn't matter if you're not in our area - I'd be happy to answer questions or give advice. You can get pictures (and eventually comprehensive information) about Trex fencing on our website: www.fenceutah.com

    Hope this was helpful. Give the Trex Fence a serious look if you are looking to put fencing into your yard.

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