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A Thorough Review of Trex RainEscape

June 26th, 2023 | 6 min read

By Michael Flory

review Trex RainEscape under deck living space with stair and seating Custom Built Lansing Michigan

If you own a deck or are considering building one, you’ve probably heard the horror stories: rotting deck boards and a compromised structure due to a heavy rainy season.

Without the proper protection, your deck could be subject to the above consequences, resulting in a collapsed deck, a waste of money, and an unsightly mess that is unsafe and embarrassing.

To protect your under-deck space from getting wet, we recommend Trex RainEscape, a popular option among homeowners.

As one of Michigan’s top composite deck builders, we have helped build thousands of decks in the Greater Lansing Area, many of which are supported by Trex RainEscape drainage systems.

In this article, you will learn more about Trex RainEscape, how much it costs, potential issues to look out for, and what it allows you to do with your outdoor living space:

The product information for this article was provided by Chase Gardner, the National Retail Sales Manager of Trex RainEscape in Denver, Colorado. He has over 3 years of experience selling home remodeling and construction products.

What is Trex RainEscape?

Trex RainEscape review picture of deck drainage system custom built Lansing

At its core, Trex RainEscape is an under-deck drainage system for elevated decks five-feet and up. Installed over your deck’s joists (horizontal structural components that provide support for a deck's surface boards), Trex RainEscape is made with durable poly and ultraviolet inhibitors - guaranteeing long-lasting performance and temperature-regulated boards to safely walk on during the summer. 

This material stops rain, sun, snow, and debris from trickling or penetrating below your deck, keeping the space below and the framing of your deck dry - increasing its longevity. Because of this perk, Trex RainEscape is perfect for protecting any under-storage, living areas, and carports should you include space underneath your deck’s design.

As opposed to traditional drainage systems, Trex RainEscape’s over-joist design prevents water from pooling beneath your boards, subsequently preventing rot or mold.

How Much Does Trex RainEscape Cost?

Coming in between $6.50 to $8.50 per square foot, Trex RainEscape is a great way to upgrade your space. Since this range only includes material costs, the overall cost of installation and any additional features (gutters, downspouts, and finished ceiling) will vary depending on the contractor.

It’s important to note that you can install Trex RainEscape yourself using Trex’s online guides. However, we recommend hiring a professional contractor or deck builder to ensure your system is built to match our specifications. Without following specifications, you might run into performance issues such as leaks, resulting in extra money spent on maintenance.

Pros and Cons of Trex RainEscape

As a TrexPro-Rated Deck Builder, we have seen our fair share of successes and failures when it comes to Trex RainEscape. Here are a few pros and cons to consider as we dive into a transparent view of the system:

Pros of Trex RainEscape

Increased Home Resale Value

Great news: when you build or remodel your deck, your home resale value increases. Even better? Your home’s resale value increases more when you install any rain system with your deck.

So, what happens when you install a high-quality drainage system like Trex RainEscape? Its longevity will help your deck last through the elements and create more living spaces, thus driving up your home’s resale value. 

A Design that Protects Your Joists and Framing

deck builder installing Trex RainEscape with framework visible Custom Built Lansing

As one of the industry’s only over-the-joist drainage systems, Trex RainEscape’s intuitive design protects your joists and framing, and effectively channels rainwater away from the deck, preventing it from accumulating and causing damage to the structure.

This kind of system also contributes to your deck’s overall aesthetic. Because it is installed over your joists and beams, Trex RainEscape hides those extra deck components from sight - guaranteeing a clean, finished look.

Quality Warranty

Every remodeling project or deck build can and should be strengthened by a quality warranty. With a 25-year warranty, Trex RainEscape not only believes in the longevity of its product but will provide major maintenance support for years to come.

Along with time-tested expertise, any professional contractor you hire will offer additional coverage based on the deck builder - strengthening your project’s overall warranty.

Handles the Extremes

From the icy shores of Lake Michigan to the rainy Mid-Michigan area, Trex RainEscape ensures that your deck can adapt and withstand the elements.

Before installation, the system is tested to perform with temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Easy Installation

Calling all DIYers, this product was made just for you. Trex RainEscape is very easy to install, making it a popular option for at-home builders looking to save money on hiring a contractor. 

Even better? If you do hire a contractor, they can easily implement your system into the design and build it efficiently.

Ready to tackle the installation yourself? Make sure to consult Trex’s live Pro-to-Pro video call training, where you and your Trex professional can review the scope of your project and pro tips on how to correctly install your Trex RainEscape system.

Cons of Trex RainEscape

No Room for Installation Mistakes

On many occasions, clients that don’t follow the install guide or video report major leaks and structural issues post-production. Adhering to the guide, rather than getting the materials and winging it, ensures that you adequately test your system as you install it. Testing also catches any glaring issues which are easier to fix earlier in production.

Here are a few issues that you can find and easily fix during testing:

Misaligned or Improperly Installed Joist Tape

deck builder installing joist tape on Trex RainEscape drainage system

In order to ensure a watertight seal between the deck joists and the RainEscape troughs, joist tape is a crucial part of the RainEscape system. Water leakage may result from improperly installed or misaligned joist tape. However, this problem is readily resolved by correctly adjusting or reinstalling the joist tape, ensuring a reliable and secure seal.

Uneven Trough Slope

built up sediment on Trex RainEscape drainage system below deck

Uneven trough slope resulting in sediment build-up; PC: Reddit

To achieve proper water drainage, the RainEscape system's troughs must have the correct slope. Water may build up in specific places if the troughs have an uneven slope or a flat point, which could result in pooling or insufficient drainage. To solve this problem, the troughs can be moved to provide a consistent slope that will allow water to flow easily toward the downspouts.

Incorrect Downspout Placement

The downspouts' location is essential for effective water drainage. Water may not be adequately diverted away from the deck if the downspouts are installed, which could result in water collection and damage. The downspouts can be moved or changed to make sure they are successfully diverting water away from the deck construction in order to solve this problem.

Longer Installation Depending on the Complexity of Your Deck

Trex RainEscape, while easy to install, can take anywhere from hours to several days to include underneath your deck. For bigger or more intricate decks, more time can be needed for activities like cutting and fitting the system to meet special deck layouts, integrating the system with existing structures, or resolving any unforeseen installation-related difficulties.

More Complex Decks Require More Trex Guidance

While Trex RainEscape is flexible to every deck design, more complex framing will require more guidance from Trex to get the job done correctly. Depending on your design, you could look at prolonged project timelines to accommodate intricate frameworks such as octagonal sides or multi-tiered structures.

Limited Compatibility

Trex RainEscape is designed for use with Trex decking materials only. While it may work with other deck board types, it is recommended to consult with the manufacturer or an expert to ensure compatibility. This limited compatibility may restrict options for homeowners who prefer different decking materials such as wood.

Trex RainEscape Maintenance Requirements

Caring for your Trex RainEscape system is as straightforward as hosing your deck periodically to wash away pollen and debris - irrigating your downspouts and gutter line in the process. We recommend irrigating your Trex RainEscape every few weeks. Without this step, your system will be subject to blockages via build-up ranging from leaves to twigs.

You must ensure that your gutters are still accessible after you’ve installed Trex RainEscape, otherwise, you won’t be able to clear them by hand if the need arises. While Trex RainEscape does clear most debris out of its gutter line, heavier objects like leaves might need an extra hand to remove them. 

gutter line of Trex RainEscape deck drainage system Custom Built Lansing

In order to properly hand-clean your gutter line, make sure to include an access panel with your finished system - providing a convenient entry point for accessing the interior space of the RainEscape system. This allows for regular maintenance and inspections to ensure proper functioning.

Next steps to purchasing Trex RainEscape

You deserve to enjoy every inch of your deck, top to bottom. Without Trex RainEscape, not only will you be able to create an additional covered living space, but the rainy days in Michigan and beyond can leave your deck susceptible to mold and mildew - weakening the strength of your boards and creating a safety hazard.

Fortunately, Trex RainEscape is a stellar, easy-install option that will adapt to the elements and increase the lifespan of your deck for years to come.

With 15+ years of experience in the deck-building industry, Custom Built has overseen a variety of Trex RainEscape installations, preparing homeowners’ decks for everything mother nature has to offer.

If you’re planning to remodel or build your deck and are interested in learning more about our materials, contact our experienced project coordinators. We’d be happy to discuss if we’re the right fit for you and your deck-building needs.

To learn more about Trex composite decking, read the following articles:

Michael Flory

Michael brings over 2 decades of building and remodeling experience to his position as the Owner and Visionary of Custom Built. Michael’s passion to make an impact on the home building industry has led him to serve for over ten years at the local and state Home Builders Association, culminating as President of the HBA of Michigan in 2020.