Ready for a new composite deck, but looking for insights into how to achieve your dream outdoor living space? Blogger Sue Powell and her husband recently built a new deck using ChoiceDek decking in the Beach House Gray color. Below, Sue shares her thoughts and tips on replacing a worn-out wood deck.
- How did you know it was time to replace your existing wood deck?
Our wooden deck was close to 20 years old. The railings were pulling apart. We’d repainted the floor a year ago, but the paint was flaking off already and it looked really bad. The old deck design really wasn’t very good, either. It was two levels with a railing across the middle, making much of the space unusable.
- There are a lot of different decking materials available to homeowners today. How did you know ChoiceDek composite decking was right for your outdoor living space?
We did a lot of research on the Internet and asked friends and neighbors about their decking materials. We also reached out to homeowners and contractors via Hometalk.com to see what their experience with ChoiceDek had been. We’d read of problems with earlier generations of composite decking. However, what we were reading and hearing seemed to indicate that ChoiceDek’s manufacturers had taken care of any problems with their original product and their product now on the market didn’t have any of those earlier problems.
- Tell us about your deck design. Why did you go with ChoiceDek’s Beach House Gray? Were there any special design elements you included?
We chose Beach House Gray for several reasons. The siding on our house is a light beige, and surprisingly the Beach House Gray looks great alongside it. The colors really complement each other. We also knew to expect some fading and felt the lighter Beach House Gray’s fading would not be as noticeable. Finally, our house style is rather rustic, with a farmhouse look. The color worked great with our style and coordinated perfectly with our NextStone Brick Veneer post covers in Pewter.
- A backyard makeover isn’t complete without the finishing touches. What did you add to dress up your deck?
How true! Once we had the new deck, the remainder of the back yard looked pretty bad! We’d chosen a black aluminum railing with ChoiceDek posts, so we chose to have a new backyard fence installed with a design similar to the railing. We decided to further dress up our yard by building our own pergola. My husband designed a cantilevered pergola with its two legs/support posts on the ground on either side of the steps leading from the deck into the back yard.
- Your back deck isn’t the only area that got an update this summer. Tell us about your porch and how you used ChoiceDek composite decking, and stone posts to dress up the front of your house.
We liked the appearance of the deck so much, that my husband decided to buy a few more pieces of the Beach House Gray decking and use it to replace our front steps. As with the deck, the paint was wearing off and a squirrel or some kind of forest critter had taken a couple of bites out of one of the planks! To give it the same look as the back deck, he ordered two stacked NextStone Brick Veneer post covers in Pewter and two black aluminum railing sections. He then replaced the stone post cap covers with solar-light covers to light up the steps after dark.
- Now that your deck is complete, what’s your favorite part about spending time on deck?
We love to entertain on the deck now that we have more space. Coupled with the other backyard makeover projects, it’s a desirable place to eat meals or just hang out. We didn’t add more total square-footage, but now all the space is usable, unlike with the old deck. By stringing lights from the pergola, we can be out there after dark and still have enough light to grill or eat or just sit around the fire pit and enjoy the evening. Even the dogs hang out on the deck now, and they seldom did that before.
- What’s your biggest piece of advice to homeowners about how to embark on the deck renovation journey?
Do your homework! Research on Hometalk.com, Pinterest and the Internet in general to see the types of materials available. Read customer reviews, and ask your friends and neighbors about their decks – find out what they liked and disliked about their materials and deck design. Choose a reputable builder. Decide on a budget, but remember that quality materials and construction aren’t cheap. We ended up going above our budget, but in order to replace the old, failing wooden deck, we had to be willing to raise our budget a bit.