First we should mention that the two are not really comparable in the sense that Ipe can be used for all aspects of a structure. So Trex should never be used for decking infrastructure. This is simply because Trex is not strong enough. Trex is only good to lay flat or use as railings. So a “Trex” deck still is only as strong as the wood that is used to support the actual Trex. To see this by the numbers look at the “strength” in chart below and “crushing strength”.
Fuzzy Trex after only a few years.
|Hardness||N/A||3,680 (EXTREMELY HARD)||IPE|
|Weight||60 lbs/ft3||69 lbs/ft3||IPE|
|Bending Strength||3,280 lbf/in2||25,660 lbf/in2||IPE|
|Stiffness||412,000 lbf/in2||3,200,000 lbf/in2||IPE|
|3,800 lbf/in2||13,600 lbf/in2||IPE|
|Fire Rating||Class B||Class A||IPE|
|Life Span||Unknown (see pictures below)||75+ Years||IPE|
Unlike Ipe Decking, Trex loses color with age that can not be regained through treatment. It is soft and not load bearing, it can get extremely hot in the sun. It can support mold growth, especially where there is high humidity or rainy climates. Trex is more susceptible to fire. There can be a “fuzziness” to it over the course of time due to wear.
Really the only reason you should choose trex decking instead of ipe decking is if you want to save a little bit of money or want a color that is not available in natural wood.
This video compares real Ipe to Azek