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Considering a New Deck? Now is the Perfect Time to Get Started

Oct 20, 2015 03:34AM ● By Family Features
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While homeowners think of spring and summer as the premiere seasons for outdoor projects, that’s no reason to let dreams of a new outdoor living space hibernate through another winter. A big part of building your dream deck is the prep work – much of which can be done during the off-season so your new space can be ready come warm weather.

The experts at Trex – the world’s No. 1 decking and railing brand and leader in high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products – offers the following tips for getting started:

Plan Ahead – A typical deck project can take six months (or more) from planning to completion, making now an ideal time to get started. To get things going, put together a timeline and checklist. Helpful resources and samples can be readily found online.

Partner with a Professional – Unless you plan to build the deck yourself, the first item on your “to-do” list should be hiring a contractor. Quality deck builders book projects well in advance and often have a waiting list by spring. By doing your research early, you can pre-book for the following season. Fall and winter are ideal times to conduct interviews, review portfolios and gather references.

Design Your Dream – Designing your deck is fun but time-consuming. Starting early allows you to complete the process with maximum creativity and minimal stress. Ultimately, a deck should be designed around how you plan to use it – e.g. relaxing, entertaining, etc. Beyond function, consider views, sun/shade, and entrances and exits from the home and into the yard. All of these factors will have an impact on your deck’s size, shape and scale.

Decide on Decking – It’s important to choose quality materials that withstand wear and tear. A high-performing, wood-alternative is easy to maintain and defends against severe weather and mishaps. Composite decking is resistant to fading, staining, scratching and mold, leaving homeowners with less work and more time for relaxation. When considering materials, you can experiment by ordering sample composite deck boards on to see firsthand how different colors and textures work with your home’s architecture and style.

Think Beyond the Boards – Often overlooked, substructure and railing can have a tremendous impact on the performance, appearance and cost of a deck. For the substructure, talk with your contractor about the differences between materials. Steel deck framing, for instance, offers stability and durability benefits over wood, plus greater design flexibility, sustainability, safety and fire resistance. Railing adds both safety and style to decks. Available in a wide array of styles, shapes and materials, you can tailor your railing to personalize and frame your outdoor space.

Understand Costs and Value – To ensure your dreams remain within reach, keep costs in mind throughout the planning process. Several factors will affect material and labor costs, including the size and shape, along with any extras you may want to incorporate. To help homeowners with budgeting, Trex offers an online cost calculator that estimates material costs based on input regarding size, substructure and products being considered.

Account for Add-ons – When planning your deck, have fun exploring the many options that are available for customizing your design. You’ll need to decide early on if you want to incorporate integrated features like built-in benches, planter boxes and storage, and budget accordingly for extras such as a pergola, fire pit or lighting, which can add comfort, character and convenience to your outdoor retreat.

For more deck planning tips and tools, visit

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