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 the 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|
|Fire Rating||Up to Class B||Up to Class A||IPE|
|Life Span||Unknown (see pictures below) some warranties say 25 years.||Up to 75+ Years||IPE|
|25 Year Life||75 Years||X||X||X|
|75 Year Life||X||NO||NO||NO|
|Can Restore if Faded||X||NO||NO||NO|
|Class “A” Fire Rating||X||NO||NO||NO|
|Requires No Maintenance||X||NO||NO||NO|
|Cost Per Linear Foot 1×6||3.06||2.56||2.49||4.02|
|Initial Cost 500 Square Foot Deck||3338.46||2792.96||2716.59||4385.82|
|Cost Per Year*||44.5128||111.7184||108.6636||175.4328|
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
*Costs based on prices from national retailers. Some boards may be pre-grooved. Information is accurate to the best of our knowledge.