Homeowners wants decks made of composite materials or pressure-treated lumber with minimalist railings and low-voltage lighting
Creating a new deck or updating an existing one is a great way for homeowners to add more space and increase home value at the same time. As the trend of turning backyards into outdoor living and entertaining spaces grows, decks are an excellent, affordable option. Here are the top decking trends we are seeing this year at The Home Depot.
Mixed Outdoor Elements
The trend for homeowners right now is to grow their outdoor living spaces so they can enjoy a wider variety of activities outside. Many deck projects focus on enlarging the space or adding another tier. A lot of homeowners are also combining different outdoor elements for integrated spaces. For example, you may have a stone patio outdoor kitchen that leads to a wooden deck, while in a different part of the yard there is a stone-framed fire pit.
These integrated, elaborate designs offer a lot of opportunities for pros, as they are typically outside the skill set of DIYers. When consulting with clients, talk to them about their vision for the entire outdoor space rather than limiting the project to a simple upgrade.
Diversity in Composites
Capped composite deck boards offer a variety of benefits to traditional lumber. They have eliminated issues like fading, staining and mold, require little maintenance and come in a wide variety of colors. The growth of the composite market has created more diversity.
While traditionally more expensive than natural wood, new efficiencies in manufacturing have brought the price of the most affordable composite boards into the same range as high-end lumber species, such as cedar and redwood. On the other end of the price range, we are now seeing composite boards that bring entirely different looks to the deck. Many of these styles now mirror the trends in hard flooring, with interesting patterns and designs, often with a look that more closely mirrors natural wood.
When walking clients through the best choice of lumber, first consider the size of the deck. For big decks, the reduced maintenance costs can make up for the higher initial investment within a year or two. Next, provide a variety of design ideas for the client to get a sense of what type of composite will suit their needs. The latest design trends involve mixing and matching board colors and patterns to break up the look of the deck. Some areas even incorporate the same accent color on the deck and the house.
Products That Pass Inspection
While composite boards offer the new design appeal, pressure-treated lumber is still the number one seller when it comes to decks. Even if clients want a high-end species or fancy composite look on top, pros know that the underlying support structure of beams and joists should always be made of more affordable wood.
However, we still see pros that are not aware of the new guidelines for ground contact lumber that were implemented in 2016. Many don’t find out until the local inspector turns down a job, at which point all profit on the project is lost. The Home Depot stocks lumber that matches the latest requirements, so be sure to talk with your local Pro desk and ensure you are using the right products.
Over the past three or four years, the trend for railing systems has been a “less is more” approach. It’s all about keep railing as small as possible within code to create an open feel and better sight lines for clients. If clients are willing to spend a little more, cable railing systems offer maximum visibility and durability. Metal balusters in aluminum or powder-coated steel offer a lower price point but still create a nice, open look with minimal upkeep required. Regardless of the style, choose pre-built railing systems to cut down time and expenses.
Low-voltage lighting is the jewelry of the deck job. A good lighting job improves both safety and ambiance and extends the time client can enjoy the space. Modern lighting comes in a wide variety of options, from quarter-sized lights install straight into deck boards to elegant post caps to stairway lighting for safety. LED is definitely the way to go for illumination, as these types of lights use 80 percent less energy and boast a life of 50,000 hours.
Pros know that the key to keeping decks fresh is consistent maintenance with stains and sealers, but consumers may not. For older decks that need a quick, inexpensive resurface, choose BEHR Premium DeckOver. Not only will it make the deck look brand new, but it conceals cracks and splinters by creating a smooth, slip-resistant finish. It works on deck railings as well.
Whether a home needs a new deck or a renovation to the old one, it is a great project to tackle this summer.