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  1. #1
    Member Graduate Student Everett Abrams's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
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    Trex and Composite Decking - Setting the Record Straight

    There seems to be an issue with understanding how to clean composites, specifically older generation products like Trex. I have been noticing so much misinformation on other Bulletin Boards and Facebook Groups. First, let me get everyone's attention, if you have not been in the business for a good while and are telling people how to clean the old composites you should STOP if you are only addressing mold and mildew!
    You may think you know or understand the product but, if you are only addressing the mold and mildew you are only addressing half of the issue.
    When Trex came out with their product they used Red Oak because it was a hard wood the thought was it would be durable. The fact is about half of the product was made from wood. Anyone who is familiar with oak leaf stains knows how hard they are to remove. The reason being is that the stains are actually from the tannins in the wood. Going back to Red Oak these tannin stains are black in color. When the products were introduced these companies were told that if it was 1% wood it should be sealed. Sealing helps reduce the interaction with the sun and elements that bring these tannins to the surface. To compound the situation and make it worse there were problems in manufacturing of the planks. When the product was made in vats and transferred to planks the wood content was more prevalent toward the surfaces. For the guys who have been around a while you may remember the edict came out "Do Not Pressure Wash Trex", as this would void the warranty. The reason they switched gears and said "No Pressure Washing" was that this removed the surface and further exposed the wood fibers causing more black stains. Tannin stains are neutralized with oxalic acid and all the bleach in the world does not get rid of the stains. Don't believe me check all the threads that have been posted over the years about leaf stains people couldn't get up with bleach, these most likely were oak leaf stains. Trex knew they had a problem and tried early on to get ahead of it and tried to come up with a way to clean the composite and neutralize the tannin stains. First, they tried just bleach only and of course that did not work. Then they basically adopted the two-part cleaning process which was really an oxygenated bleach scrubbed on the surface with a deck brush and then oxalic acid applied the same way or by pump up.
    What happened next is they started looking for contractors to clean these decks across the country with the issue being now that they got the customer to sign a third-party waiver so that they would not seek action down the road. What happened next was that they sent contractors out but in the cases where the customer was still not happy they would throw the contractor under the bus. I distanced myself from these folks because I did not want myself or my company associated with this mess. They also knew, like many of the other companies that the surfaces of many of these products were conducive to mold and mildew growth. Then came the lawsuits and Trex came out with Corte Clean as the only recommended cleaner which early on was just the same as what I previously mentioned. Some contractors like John Tornebene and Tony Szabo did a lot of work for them and made a few bucks just cleaning these decks. I know in my area there are decks where Trex paid to have the wood deck put back.
    Now, I do not care what is public or not. I do not care what is stated in any lawsuit. I know what was involved because I was consulted by these people early on about the problems. This is why I know about the product and the manufacturing issues. For me to come up with a remedy I had to be given all the information. I don't usually go around stating things like this but enough is enough. Newer people who are spouting off like they know so much about this product you are only fooling yourself. IT IS NOT ALL MOLD AND MILDEW, cut a piece and look at the wood content. Other composite companies used wood content as well it was not all Trex.
    Now another problem I have been seeing is new people to the industry go onto the manufacturer's websites for cleaning instructions and then recommend them to other contractors. Guys, it has to be recognized that there are many different generations of products out there and identifying them is important. If you go onto Trex website now and get cleaning instructions for Trex Transcends and then either use these instructions to clean older Trex or worse, recommend this to another contractor you are making a HUGE mistake. Transcends states that you can pressure wash at 3000psi or better, try that on the old Trex and I know who will have to worry about a lawsuit.
    I have watched and read these things happening on other sites and someone needs to set the record straight. For those on PWI, this is where you can get the straight scoop. Anyone have any questions fire away or contact me, my cell is 609-351-6117. I offered that to a contractor on another site who never called but was giving out erroneous advice without knowing the whole story, makes no sense to me. I will be the first one to admit I do not know everything and enjoy the learning and education part of these sites, that is why I participate. I enjoy sharing what I know with others as well. I do not understand people though that even when informed they might be wrong do not seek out the truth, I would.
    Those who do not believe me test it for yourself with older Trex or another composite and clean one with your roof wash mix, your house wash mix, or your bleach solution and then try one with a bleach cleaner and a second step with oxalic acid then go back the next day and see for yourself.
    For the record, I happen to like the newer Trex Transcends and Azek for composite decking. My statements regard older generation products that we are still asked to clean. I really hope this helps someone.
    Everett Abrams
    DECK RESTORATION PLUS 1-866-440-DECK(3325)
    Deck Restoration Plus Website
    On Facebook

  • #2
    Member Graduate Student Everett Abrams's Avatar
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    Shamong,NJ
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    575
    For the record, this post is meant to inform some of the newer folks in the industry about a problem that many of us have faced and continue to face regarding cleaning of the products. I thought a better understanding of the product and a little history would help.
    Everett Abrams
    DECK RESTORATION PLUS 1-866-440-DECK(3325)
    Deck Restoration Plus Website
    On Facebook

  • #3
    Exterior Restoration Specialist 21000 PLUS POSTER Ron Musgraves's Avatar
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    These should be in national orgs news letter to consumers


    Feb Event Houston free free text me for more details !!
    Ron Musgraves


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  • #4

  • #5
    Member Junior Undergraduate B.A.'s Avatar
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    Marshall VA
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    Great information Everett! Thanks.

    Ryan Freidline

    Serving: NOVA & D.C.
    www.nomoreyuk.com
    888.867.7615

  • #6
    Member Sophomore Undergraduate BradCarey's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    Rockford MI
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    93
    Good info Everett. By the way I attended Everett's 2 day school and the man knows decks!
    Brad Carey
    Brad's Window Cleaning and Power Washing
    (616) 745-5753
    Grand Rapids, MI

  • #7
    Member Professor with Tenure Rapid HotClean's Avatar
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Awesome Everett! Do you have a general time line as to the approximate years when Trek evolved into Transcends and Azek?

  • #8
    Member 7000 PLUS POSTER Doug Rucker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Everett Abrams View Post
    For the record, this post is meant to inform some of the newer folks in the industry about a problem that many of us have faced and continue to face regarding cleaning of the products. I thought a better understanding of the product and a little history would help.
    Exceptional...again Everett, thanks for all your help here. We all appreciate your time and input.
    Doug Rucker-Call or text 281.883.8470
    http://cleanandgreensolutions.com
    http://cleanandgreensolutions.com/co...ding-cleaning/

    VISIT OUR STORE HERE FOR ALL YOUR PRESSURE WASHING AND SOFT WASHING EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

  • #9
    Member Graduate Student Everett Abrams's Avatar
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    Transcends is a newer product by Trex that is much better and a completely different product from the older stuff. Azek is a different company whose product I do like a lot. Reason for referencing this is that I did not want anyone to think I simply do not like composites. Again, I really just wanted everyone to be better informed. I see quite a few contractors making recommendations with good intentions. I see the passion in many posts by a lot of people but that does not mean what is being posted is correct or in some cases only part of the issue regarding these products. I am glad to be able to share this information with the readers and members of PWI.
    Everett Abrams
    DECK RESTORATION PLUS 1-866-440-DECK(3325)
    Deck Restoration Plus Website
    On Facebook

  • #10
    Member Freshman Undergraduate
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bluffton, SC
    Posts
    23
    Thanks Everett. Just the specific info I needed for a new client.
    Gilbert Wright
    Curb Appeal SoftWash
    House wash, Windows, Roofs, Gutters, Battery acid
    Bluffton, SC
    Curbappeal100@gmail.com
    (843) 707-32348
    http://www.Curbappealconcrete.net

  • #11
    Member Freshman Undergraduate
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    Jan 2014
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    Homewood, AL
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    25
    Thanks for the info.
    Weaver Pro Wash, LLC (205)834-2708
    640 Hagood St, Birmingham, AL 35213
    Bill@BirminghamProPressureWash.com

    http://www.birminghampropressurewash.com

  • #12
    Member Graduate Student Ed Thompson's Avatar
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    Woodbridge NJ
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    538
    I copied and pasted this mostly for myself. I couldn't read the original because I'm getting old and my eyes couldn't process all the letters bunched together.

    There seems to be an issue with understanding how to clean composites, specifically older generation products like Trex. I have been noticing so much misinformation on other Bulletin Boards and Facebook Groups. First, let me get everyone's attention, if you have not been in the business for a good while and are telling people how to clean the old composites you should STOP if you are only addressing mold and mildew! You may think you know or understand the product but, if you are only addressing the mold and mildew you are only addressing half of the issue.

    When Trex came out with their product they used Red Oak because it was a hard wood the thought was it would be durable. The fact is about half of the product was made from wood. Anyone who is familiar with oak leaf stains knows how hard they are to remove. The reason being is that the stains are actually from the tannins in the wood. Going back to Red Oak these tannin stains are black in color. When the products were introduced these companies were told that if it was 1% wood it should be sealed. Sealing helps reduce the interaction with the sun and elements that bring these tannins to the surface. To compound the situation and make it worse there were problems in manufacturing of the planks. When the product was made in vats and transferred to planks the wood content was more prevalent toward the surfaces. For the guys who have been around a while you may remember the edict came out "Do Not Pressure Wash Trex", as this would void the warranty. The reason they switched gears and said "No Pressure Washing" was that this removed the surface and further exposed the wood fibers causing more black stains. Tannin stains are neutralized with oxalic acid and all the bleach in the world does not get rid of the stains. Don't believe me check all the threads that have been posted over the years about leaf stains people couldn't get up with bleach, these most likely were oak leaf stains.

    Trex knew they had a problem and tried early on to get ahead of it and tried to come up with a way to clean the composite and neutralize the tannin stains. First, they tried just bleach only and of course that did not work. Then they basically adopted the two-part cleaning process which was really an oxygenated bleach scrubbed on the surface with a deck brush and then oxalic acid applied the same way or by pump up.
    What happened next is they started looking for contractors to clean these decks across the country with the issue being now that they got the customer to sign a third-party waiver so that they would not seek action down the road. What happened next was that they sent contractors out but in the cases where the customer was still not happy they would throw the contractor under the bus. I distanced myself from these folks because I did not want myself or my company associated with this mess. They also knew, like many of the other companies that the surfaces of many of these products were conducive to mold and mildew growth.

    Then came the lawsuits and Trex came out with Corte Clean as the only recommended cleaner which early on was just the same as what I previously mentioned. Some contractors like John Tornebene and Tony Szabo did a lot of work for them and made a few bucks just cleaning these decks. I know in my area there are decks where Trex paid to have the wood deck put back.
    Now, I do not care what is public or not. I do not care what is stated in any lawsuit. I know what was involved because I was consulted by these people early on about the problems. This is why I know about the product and the manufacturing issues. For me to come up with a remedy I had to be given all the information. I don't usually go around stating things like this but enough is enough. Newer people who are spouting off like they know so much about this product you are only fooling yourself. IT IS NOT ALL MOLD AND MILDEW, cut a piece and look at the wood content. Other composite companies used wood content as well it was not all Trex.

    Now another problem I have been seeing is new people to the industry go onto the manufacturer's websites for cleaning instructions and then recommend them to other contractors. Guys, it has to be recognized that there are many different generations of products out there and identifying them is important. If you go onto Trex website now and get cleaning instructions for Trex Transcends and then either use these instructions to clean older Trex or worse, recommend this to another contractor you are making a HUGE mistake. Transcends states that you can pressure wash at 3000psi or better, try that on the old Trex and I know who will have to worry about a lawsuit.

    I have watched and read these things happening on other sites and someone needs to set the record straight. For those on PWI, this is where you can get the straight scoop. Anyone have any questions fire away or contact me, my cell is 609-351-6117. I offered that to a contractor on another site who never called but was giving out erroneous advice without knowing the whole story, makes no sense to me. I will be the first one to admit I do not know everything and enjoy the learning and education part of these sites, that is why I participate. I enjoy sharing what I know with others as well. I do not understand people though that even when informed they might be wrong do not seek out the truth, I would.
    Those who do not believe me test it for yourself with older Trex or another composite and clean one with your roof wash mix, your house wash mix, or your bleach solution and then try one with a bleach cleaner and a second step with oxalic acid then go back the next day and see for yourself.
    For the record, I happen to like the newer Trex Transcends and Azek for composite decking. My statements regard older generation products that we are still asked to clean. I really hope this helps someone.

  • #13
    Member Sophomore Undergraduate dgatton's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
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    Richmond, Texas
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    Awesome information thank you for sharing

    Sent from my SM-G920T using Tapatalk
    Accountabilitypressurewashing.com
    David Gatton
    713 382 4944

  • #14
    Member 7000 PLUS POSTER Doug Rucker's Avatar
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    Porter, TX
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    7,590
    Great information on Trex Deck Cleaning
    Doug Rucker-Call or text 281.883.8470
    http://cleanandgreensolutions.com
    http://cleanandgreensolutions.com/co...ding-cleaning/

    VISIT OUR STORE HERE FOR ALL YOUR PRESSURE WASHING AND SOFT WASHING EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

  • #15
    Member Graduate Student Zap It Wash's Avatar
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    Waxhaw, NC 28173
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    Very good info
    Jason Butler - Charlotte, NC
    Zap It Wash
    Website

    704-919-9730

  • #16
    Exterior Restoration Specialist 21000 PLUS POSTER Ron Musgraves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Phoenix Arizona
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    46,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Thompson View Post
    I copied and pasted this mostly for myself. I couldn't read the original because I'm getting old and my eyes couldn't process all the letters bunched together.

    There seems to be an issue with understanding how to clean composites, specifically older generation products like Trex. I have been noticing so much misinformation on other Bulletin Boards and Facebook Groups. First, let me get everyone's attention, if you have not been in the business for a good while and are telling people how to clean the old composites you should STOP if you are only addressing mold and mildew! You may think you know or understand the product but, if you are only addressing the mold and mildew you are only addressing half of the issue.

    When Trex came out with their product they used Red Oak because it was a hard wood the thought was it would be durable. The fact is about half of the product was made from wood. Anyone who is familiar with oak leaf stains knows how hard they are to remove. The reason being is that the stains are actually from the tannins in the wood. Going back to Red Oak these tannin stains are black in color. When the products were introduced these companies were told that if it was 1% wood it should be sealed. Sealing helps reduce the interaction with the sun and elements that bring these tannins to the surface. To compound the situation and make it worse there were problems in manufacturing of the planks. When the product was made in vats and transferred to planks the wood content was more prevalent toward the surfaces. For the guys who have been around a while you may remember the edict came out "Do Not Pressure Wash Trex", as this would void the warranty. The reason they switched gears and said "No Pressure Washing" was that this removed the surface and further exposed the wood fibers causing more black stains. Tannin stains are neutralized with oxalic acid and all the bleach in the world does not get rid of the stains. Don't believe me check all the threads that have been posted over the years about leaf stains people couldn't get up with bleach, these most likely were oak leaf stains.

    Trex knew they had a problem and tried early on to get ahead of it and tried to come up with a way to clean the composite and neutralize the tannin stains. First, they tried just bleach only and of course that did not work. Then they basically adopted the two-part cleaning process which was really an oxygenated bleach scrubbed on the surface with a deck brush and then oxalic acid applied the same way or by pump up.
    What happened next is they started looking for contractors to clean these decks across the country with the issue being now that they got the customer to sign a third-party waiver so that they would not seek action down the road. What happened next was that they sent contractors out but in the cases where the customer was still not happy they would throw the contractor under the bus. I distanced myself from these folks because I did not want myself or my company associated with this mess. They also knew, like many of the other companies that the surfaces of many of these products were conducive to mold and mildew growth.

    Then came the lawsuits and Trex came out with Corte Clean as the only recommended cleaner which early on was just the same as what I previously mentioned. Some contractors like John Tornebene and Tony Szabo did a lot of work for them and made a few bucks just cleaning these decks. I know in my area there are decks where Trex paid to have the wood deck put back.
    Now, I do not care what is public or not. I do not care what is stated in any lawsuit. I know what was involved because I was consulted by these people early on about the problems. This is why I know about the product and the manufacturing issues. For me to come up with a remedy I had to be given all the information. I don't usually go around stating things like this but enough is enough. Newer people who are spouting off like they know so much about this product you are only fooling yourself. IT IS NOT ALL MOLD AND MILDEW, cut a piece and look at the wood content. Other composite companies used wood content as well it was not all Trex.

    Now another problem I have been seeing is new people to the industry go onto the manufacturer's websites for cleaning instructions and then recommend them to other contractors. Guys, it has to be recognized that there are many different generations of products out there and identifying them is important. If you go onto Trex website now and get cleaning instructions for Trex Transcends and then either use these instructions to clean older Trex or worse, recommend this to another contractor you are making a HUGE mistake. Transcends states that you can pressure wash at 3000psi or better, try that on the old Trex and I know who will have to worry about a lawsuit.

    I have watched and read these things happening on other sites and someone needs to set the record straight. For those on PWI, this is where you can get the straight scoop. Anyone have any questions fire away or contact me, my cell is 609-351-6117. I offered that to a contractor on another site who never called but was giving out erroneous advice without knowing the whole story, makes no sense to me. I will be the first one to admit I do not know everything and enjoy the learning and education part of these sites, that is why I participate. I enjoy sharing what I know with others as well. I do not understand people though that even when informed they might be wrong do not seek out the truth, I would.
    Those who do not believe me test it for yourself with older Trex or another composite and clean one with your roof wash mix, your house wash mix, or your bleach solution and then try one with a bleach cleaner and a second step with oxalic acid then go back the next day and see for yourself.
    For the record, I happen to like the newer Trex Transcends and Azek for composite decking. My statements regard older generation products that we are still asked to clean. I really hope this helps someone.
    Nice Job Ed
    Ron Musgraves


    Text Me if you need Help 4805225227

    Join My Facebook Page follow Me https://www.facebook.com/ronmusgraves

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