Building your dream deck, it’s one of the most rewarding home renovation projects: upgrading your outdoor space with a dedicated space for eating, entertaining or relaxing. But the project can be daunting, both from a design and logistical perspective. Go the extra mile in the planning phase and you’re guaranteed a finished result that will be long-lasting, multifunctional, and maximize your time in the great outdoors, year-round. Read on for tips and questions you can ask as you embark on your deck build.
1. What Will Your Deck Be For?
Think about what you want your deck to do now, as well as any use you might want it to have in the future—for instance, as your family grows. Is it primarily for relaxing, or entertaining? Do you want it to include plants, raised beds or other decorative elements? How about grilling? How will it integrate with the rest of your space, such as a yard or pool? The possibilities are plenty, no matter the area you’re working with, so check out Trex’s Deck Lookbooks to get some inspiration, as well as read success stories from Trex deck owners.
2. What’s Your Budget?
Once you’ve got some inspiration in hand, it’s a good time to start squaring away your budget. Some factors that may affect your budget include: whether you’ll build yourself, or hire a contractor; the materials and features you’ll choose for your deck; and its overall size. You might also think about a phased approach: building the basics now, and deferring details such as lighting or built-in seating to a later date. Check out Trex’s Online Cost Calculator to get your bearings on budget.
3. Location Considerations
You may already have a sense of where your deck will go, but if you have several options at play, think about what makes most sense for you and everyone in your home. For instance, if you’re using your deck for entertaining, think about its proximity to your kitchen or grill. Also consider how important privacy is to your deck space, as well as your view, and how weather might affect your design needs.
Will your deck need shade, or protection from rain and snow? Trex’s RainEscape is a revolutionary way to protect your under-deck area by diverting water away via a system of troughs and gutters. Not only will it protect your deck from moisture, it allows you the option to finish the space beneath to safely allow for electric and gas hookups. Trex Protect Joist, Beam and Rim Tape is a great investment to make as you’re beginning to build your deck, as it protects the top of your joist, beams and rim joists from developing rot and wood decay. For sun protection, consider Trex’s Pergola collection for options that can elevate your space as well as protect it.
4. DIY or Contractor?
You’ll want to consider whether to hire a contractor to get the job done, or to do it yourself. There are, of course, pros and cons to both paths.
Working with a contractor, you may get better pricing on materials, get someone who understands building codes and can handle permitting, and will likely be able to get the job done faster. But the time and cost associated with sourcing and hiring the right contractor may eat into your schedule and your budget.
If you’re thinking of going the DIY route, you’ll have complete control over the project while saving money. You’ll also likely be able to find the materials you need by visiting local retailers. Plus, you’ll level up your skills and gain valuable experience you can apply to future projects. But you may also need to invest in a lot of tools, and may eat into costs further if you make mistakes that later have to be repaired.
Consider the scope of your project when you’re thinking about which route to take: is it something you can confidently do yourself, or with help from your spouse or friends? How quickly do you need the job done? And can you comfortably factor contractor costs in to your budget? If you end up going the pro route, check out TrexPro builders in your area.
5. Design and Accessories
You’ve done your design due diligence via lookbooks, Houzz, Pinterest and other resources, and you’re closer to bringing your vision to life. But how well does it blend in with your existing home? What’s the size of the deck compared to the rest of your property? Proportion and style are important considerations, and Trex’s Deck Designer tool can help you draw up a plan from scratch, and see what’s possible within your space.
Once you’ve nailed down the general design, it’s time for the fun stuff: lighting, seating, cooking spaces, and other accessories. This is also a good time to think about features like Trex’s composite and aluminum railing options or gates, which can function as safety features but also serve other functions, such as areas for lights or flower boxes. Depending on how you want to use the space, you might also consider a hot tub, projector screen, outdoor kitchen, games area, or pool shower.
When it comes to elevating your deck space and ensuring you get the most out of it, day and night, lighting is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. From post cap lights to stair riser lights and recessed deck lights, Trex has lighting options that can complement every type of outdoor space—for your deck and beyond.