Every great outdoor living space starts with a good plan and a solid foundation—which is what our decking series is all about. In this series, we sit down with our good friend Kevin Kunka of Trex Company to cover some of the ins and outs of executing a successful decking project. Trex is the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking products and a veteran in the outdoor living industry.

Over the years, the Trex name has become synonymous with quality manufactured decking. In this episode, we talk with Kevin about the history of manufactured decking and how Trex has created a go-to line of products. Here’s a recap of what we learned:

A brief history of manufactured decking

In 1988, inventor Roger Wittenburg found a way to combine shredded plastic and sawdust to make a serviceable product that could potentially be used as a decking plank. The product attracted the attention of Mobil oil company, who hired him into their plastics division in 1992 to further develop his technology. When Exxon merged with Mobil in 1996, they cut the plastics division and Wittenburg’s job with it. He then entered into a joint business venture using his technology, which would become Trex. 

What was the early Trex decking product like?

Trex was the first manufactured deck board on the market, and the first iteration used recycled plastic bags and wood byproducts (sawdust) to create composite decking boards—a revolutionary consumer product. Combining wood and plastic created a durable, long-lasting decking material: the encapsulation of the wood fiber by the plastic protected the board from breaking down over time. For the first time, homeowners could build a deck that required no painting, sealing, staining, and minimal upkeep.

How have manufactured decking products evolved?

Technology improvements over the years have allowed Trex and others to make a revolutionary product even better. PVC products came on the market in the early 2000s, providing a big leap forward in stain resistance. The leading manufactured decking products today, like Trex Transcend, are often referred to as capped-composites and offer many more color options and improved fade and stain protection. These products use a “shell” technology that caps the product on three, or sometimes all four, sides. This makes cleaning easy and green (no harsh cleaning chemicals required).  

Manufactured decking products have come a long way since the first iteration, and we’re proud to partner with a company leading innovation in this space. To learn more about our decking products and services, head to our online decking headquarters; and for an overview of what’s yet to come in our decking series with Kevin, check out the first episode.