Polywood vs. Trex: The Differences Explored
Author: Omar Alonso | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
While they are only a brand, people mostly use the name Polywood when they’re referring to composite furniture made to look like real wood. Trex is a similar kind of brand that works with composite materials as well, mainly for decking. But these brands aren’t the same. So, this guide will be a definitive Polywood vs Trex showdown.
Sometimes companies and brand names can become synonymous with their products. Take Kleenex, for example. The same phenomenon happened with Polywood.
We will deep dive into what both of these are and how they differ from each other. That isn't all. We will also check which one is right for you and the strengths and weaknesses of both.
Is Polywood the Same as Trex?
Is Polywood the same as Trex? Not at all. Not even by a long shot. Polywood is a brand that produces wood-like furniture from high-density polyethylene. Their goal is to give new life to plastic. Polywood has become a household name for wood-like furniture made from recycled plastic.
In contrast, Trex focuses on making various types of deck railings and deck surface materials from composite materials too. But they can have recycled wood in this as well. Polywood doesn’t use any wood at all in its products. This is a quick view of the broad differences. Let's take a deeper dive into what these two are starting with Polywood.
What is Polywood?
To reiterate, Polywood is a brand name. Are you into high-density polyethylene crafts? Then Polywood has you covered. They produce all kinds of recycled goods. The main idea is to give recycled plastics a new purpose.
The brand produces a wide range of products. All of these are designed to elevate your home decor. Trex doesn't offer that many products. They're more focused and niche in their product line, specifically decking materials and other parts of a deck.
The cool thing about Polywood is that it takes high-density polyethylene and finds new ways to use them. Otherwise, they would end up in landfills and oceans. This is something you might want to get behind if you also care for the environment.
Contrary to what many people might think, high-density polyethylene is built into lots of things. Starting from water bottles to dishware, we all use it. But wait! Plastic furniture, you say? Ah, see, that's where the magic is.
Polywood's cutting-edge technologies make furniture resemble real-life wood. If you pay close attention to the name, you can see it is a mix of the two – poly and wood. We can almost see your eyes lighting up here.
The brand cleans and sorts these high-density polyethylene plastics to turn them into flakes. It then transforms them into finished pieces using various technologies and manufacturing processes. The finished pieces look somewhat convincing and are high quality as well.
So what is Polywood? They're a company with a unique plastic-based material creating outdoor patio furniture.
What is Trex?
Trex is a company that focuses on decking products among other products too. Their products aren't behind Polywood in quality, either. They provide high-quality decking products for your patio to enhance the decor.
Trex doesn't use natural wood, either. Just like Polywood, it uses a composite material and then processes it. This process is what gives its products a wood-like look.
One little caveat, though. These composite materials can include recycled wood as well. This would mostly be wood chips or sawdust. These would have no use otherwise. So, Trex found a new way to use them to make flooring and decking.
So what is Trex? They're a company with a unique plastic-based material that includes recycled wood that offers high-durability decking material.
What is the Difference Between Trex & Polywood?
Now, you can't have a Polywood vs Trex article without a comparison, can you? In this bit, we will look at the differences between Polywood and Trex. Our main focus will be on the look and materials they use.
We’ll also see the differences in prices, installation, natural appearance, and more. So, let's get started. Price is the main concern for everyone. We'll get to that quickly in this Trex vs Polywood section.
Differences in Materials
These two brands are fundamentally different when it comes to materials. Polywood uses entirely plastics to manufacture its wood-like products. In contrast, Trex uses real wood bits for its products among other composite materials.
Trex takes the cake for a natural look and finish. And that’s no surprise. It isn’t a knock on Polywood's product quality though.
Polywood's products look gorgeous and are high quality. But they simply can't compare with the real wood bits that Trex uses. So, the realistic crown goes to Trex.
The appearance debate will matter most when it comes to decking. If you are using PVC or Polywood decking (if it was available), it might not look all that natural.
And since decking can be large and cover a large area, the slightly unnatural look can throw off the whole decor of the place. With Trex, it looks more natural.
When it all comes down to it, Polywood is simply the cheaper version. But wait. There is more to it. Since Polywood is just plastic made to look like wood, you get less cost per square foot. Polywood PVC comes down to around $10. Whereas Trex flooring can be around $15 per square foot.
This number is not definite, though. The cost of Trex flooring can depend on the distributor. And also the line or product model you choose. With Trex, there is a bit of wiggle room.
But in general, you can expect Polywood to be cheaper than Trex. Then the question is whether or not either is worth it. This brings us to our next point.
Color & Style Options
Visiting Polywood's website is a blast. It is colorful and offers a lot of product styles. Trex, compared to Polywood, has fewer styles and colors.
Trex's range of products differs slightly in color, durability, and size. So, choices are a little limited. The interesting thing is that Polywood's customization and color options can cost more. And they can take a long time for delivery.
This is because all the products are built to order. So, when the brand receives an order for a product, they start making it only then. Trex's products, on the other hand, are all ready-made.
So, if you choose to go with a special or unique color for Polywood, the price can increase quite a lot. And then the cost advantage is sort of lost slightly.
But then again, we home decor experts know what aesthetics and design can mean. They are an important part of building the perfect living area. And in some cases, paying more and waiting longer is worth it.
This does not mean that Trex has no options. Some of the styles are pretty awesome. But you can think of Trex's product line as more focused and more readily available. So what is the difference between polywood and trex? Mainly product lineup and slight difference in material composition.
Who is Polywood & Trex For?
The short of it is that Polywood is for those looking for outdoor furniture to go on their patio or deck and Trex is for those looking to replace the boards of their deck with a more durable option. The discussion of Polywood vs Trex is really for those calling all synthetic lumber 'Polywood' even though it's not.
Honestly, depending on your needs, budget, and style preference, you can go with either as you seek to revitalize your deck, patio, and outdoor furniture. Polywood and Trex are both top brands and good at what they do. So, you will not have any problems with quality.
It all comes down to the little details like the look and feel and the cost and style/color choices. Both avoid using 100% wood and use recycled products. Plastic and composite materials, to be exact. That itself is a tremendous thing for the environment. And we all know it needs all the help it can get.
This is great news for those who don't want to go completely natural. We would say Polywood products are great for those who want a wider range of styles and color options. If you have a specific look in mind, chances are Polywood has a style for it.
You can bring your outdoor decks to life. But be warned, it might not convince everyone that it is wood. And you might be fine with that. Maybe you are proud that it does not completely look like real wood. The recycling factor can be that important for some. It is commendable to wear that badge proudly.
As for those who want something a bit more scratch-resistant and products that resemble nature, Trex is the go-to. They use composite materials to give you a very convincing wood-like appearance.
They also cost a bit less and are readily available. Plus, you do not need to feel completely horrible either since Trex also uses recycling materials.
Polywood vs. Trex Demystified!
As with many things in life, there's confusion between two brands that may not even offer the same products. Both are not the same. That much we have cleared out. But each has its pros and cons. You need to decide which one you really need and in which order you should get them (both if you can!).
So, Polywood vs Trex, which one is right for you? A good idea would be to talk to a professional before choosing. They would be able to give you more info on which one would work well for your place. But then again, if you know what you are doing, then DIY-ing is just fine. No one can deny how satisfying either of these products can be.