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Build a Comfortable New Deck: Ideas for Family Entertainment and Enjoyment

Updated on September 13, 2012

The Hottest and Freshest Deck Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining

The evolution of new deck ideas hitting the market have really revolutionized the way that people not only relax, but entertain outdoors. In the past ten years, a lot has changed. What used to be an outdoor barbecue area has now become a entertainment oasis. What's new in deck ideas?

· Metal or cable railings. Railings were originally used for safety, but what used to be functional has become creative. Design options include glass, metal, cable, and composite materials (which are both attractive and have been advertised as being nearly “no-maintenance“).

Metal railings are both safe and sophisticated while surprisingly easy to install

· Tile, brick and stone flooring. Decks used to mean strictly wooden porches, benches, and a barbecue. Not anymore. Those who love tile, brick and stone have incorpored these materials to add elegance, beauty and sophistication to the outdoor eating experience.

· A detached garden can be placed alongside the deck to add even more of a natural experience for those who love entertaining outdoors. Hanging baskets, flower pots and other greenery are excellent ways to enhance the outdoor eating experience.

Creative Lighting. Lanterns, torch style lamps, string lighting and many other creative options can be used, creating a lounge-type ambiance.

· Double the space. Thanks to excellent water drainage systems, the space under your deck can now be used as a new storage / living area for your family. Your quality deck creates two spaces, one below and one above, virtually doubling your family's outdoor living area.

Deck Building Software

· To ensure a satisfying end result, be sure and use the Deck Visualizer program. This tool gives you a sneak preview of your new deck, based on the material and specs you have plugged into the program, thus avoiding costly mistakes.



What the World Thinks of Composite Decking Materials – A Review

When building a new deck, many people have become interested in using one of the new composite decking material which are available nowadays. Composite decking reviews all agree that composites produce a very low-maintenance deck. Once advertised as “no-maintenance“, they don't need the annual care of sanding and painting. Many busy homeowners don't want the extra burden of deck maintenance. Traditional wood decks, though naturally beautiful, can sometimes split, break, warp or leave splinters. They have to be protected against hungry insects, mold and mildew, and decay from rotting.

With composites, cleaning and safeguarding against mold is the only real maintenance. Mold and mildew control has improved considerably over the past ten years, say the experts, but nevertheless suggest that you try to find a deck which carries a warranty.

In seeking out the best of the available composite material options, no ideal material exists since no two customers are exactly the same. With a process of eliminating what you don't want, you will be able to decide from a manageable number of choices.

Appearance is also very important, as well as wearability. The new composites are quite attractive. Some are wood streaked, others are a consistent, natural shade. You may also want to choose the same color as your pet if he sheds a lot of fur.

By looking at product samples you can study the composite's texture, which is important to avoid slippage. Some composites tend to hold heat, so if possible, be test a ready made deck in the same the material to see if it is hot to walk on. Installation how-to's are important, as well as which tools are recommended for cutting. Some materials easily scratch, others don't. Do the research, reviewers recommend.

The cost of composite decking is one and a half to three times the cost of wood. But no need to sand, paint and stain your deck every year. It seems that after four or five years, the cost tends to even itself out.

Composite Decking Reviews

Since more than 100 composite deck materials are available, here is a brief comparison:


This product is the only one which actually resembles wood grain by texture and is similar in appearance to real wood. It is easily installable, available in seven natural tones, and the wood grain design prevents slipping. Matching rail systems are available.

Gossen Decking

Made of cellular PVC, it will not crack, bend, or warp. Very strong, stress resistant and resilient, high strength, stain and scratch resistant, it will not rot, splinter, decay or mold. This might be a good choice for a heavy person in a humid climate where mold would traditionally accumulate.

Lockdry Aluminum Decking

Cooler than wood, this aluminum deck provides a seamless floor surface in four standard colors with matching railings. It provides a limited lifetime warranty. Its powder coated surface is slip resistant. This option should be the most expensive, by far. It would be a good choice in a traditionally hot climate.

Veranda Armor Guard Decking

Like other composites, it won't rot or decay, and is very low maintenance. It comes in walnut brown and in grey, lightly streaked, and has a twenty year limited warranty. Available solely through the Home Depot, matching railings and fencings are also available.


Resembling real wood in varying wood hues, high quality and patented, it is stain, fade and mold resistant and carries a 25 year stain and fade guarantee. Not inexpensive, but it offers an entry level material called Pro-Tekt. Patented under the PermaTech label, it is considered a high quality composite material.

How much will a new deck cost you?

Building a deck is a project that you don't just jump into. It can be very expensive or modestly expensive, but the investment is well worth it as an outdoor entertainment area.

In determining costs, the first thing to think about is deck design, in other words, what should it look like? Perhaps you will want to build a deck like your neighbor's. It would be a good idea to see as many decks as possible, either in person or in magazines. Among your friends who have decks, ask them about the materials they chose, if they are satisfied, and what would they do differently next time?. Besides magazines, look at online deck designs. After awhile you will have a pretty good idea of what you are (and are not) looking for.

Measure your desired deck space so you'll be able to make deck cost calculations. Estimating an additional 25% is a good idea, because there will always be details that you didn't account for, like wiring for lights. There will also be unexpected expenses and price increases. With this 25% cushion you will most likely stay within your budget.

The main variables are its dimensions, railing and steps' expense, and the deck material of choice. How do costs compare between natural materials and composite deck materials? Choosing to use wood or a composite material is also important. Some composites offer warranties of 20 or more years, with very little maintenance. They tend to be more expensive than pine or other hybrid woods. The less maintenance feature means added enjoyment, so see if there are composites available in your price range.

Besides the actual floor of the deck, you need to think about deck railings, steps and step railings, benches, and perhaps a fancy new barbecue grill ....

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you'll need to check with city hall to see what kind of permit(s) you'll need and how much they will cost. Find out if an inspection will be necessary, and do you need to pay?

Before building, the area where you plan your deck must be leveled with soil or concrete, and deck posts dug and and inserted in the four corners. This must also be brought into the cost calculations, or done over the weekend with friends to save money. The roasted meat for lunch would be part of your deck building costs!

Depending if you want to hire a carpenter or build it yourself, you need to get an estimates of labor, materials, and what is available. Be sure to get at least three estimates before committing to anything.

In keeping your materials' costs down, see if you can get by recycling part of the materials of your existing desk, if you have one. Check costs, try to buy materials on sale and on warranty. Some credit card companies offer cash-back features or a built in warranty on all purchases, which is worthwhile.

Just by sitting down and doing the math, being sure to add the 25% cushion, you will have a new deck cost sheet to guide you along your way to comfortable eating and entertaining on your new deck.

Redwood - California King

Humboldt Redwood
Humboldt Redwood | Source


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