With decks return on investment, at around 60-80%, maintaining and upgrading your deck is essential. To ensure you’re getting the most from this investment, add unique features that increase your deck’s appeal and will make your deck one of your home’s most enjoyable outdoor living spaces.
Repairing Your Deck
Check Your Deck
A well-built deck will last for decades, some that are 15 or more years old, when building codes were different, warrants for a careful inspection. Problems you want to look for are rotted posts, weak post connections, properly-fastened ledger boards, and missing flasher ledging. Most of the wood deck repair tasks are inexpensive, and you should be able to complete them yourself.
Refinish the Deck
Decks take a considerable beating by the elements, so maintaining them is essential to protect your most significant investment–your home. Preparation is always the first step in an ugly deck makeover project, so make sure to give the surfaces a proper pressure washing or cleaning and remove any flaking deck stain and paint and let it dry out completely for several days. When your deck is ready, add a new coat by selecting either a transparent, solid, or penetrating stain.
Peeling Deck Stain
Why does deck stain peel? Because it didn’t penetrate into the wood. The stain formed a film, which will peel in a few years. It’s also possible that the old stain was applied too heavily. It might have formed puddles and was left to dry, which you’ll get a film. In either case, strip the old stain off the deck. Rinse off the stripper with a pressure washer. Then let the deck dry for a few days, then apply a new coat of stain.
Hidden Fasteners for Decking
For years now, deck screws have been the fastener of choice. Deck screws won’t corrode and hold exceptionally well. However, they cover the deck with rows of tiny depressions that can splinter the edges and trap dirt. Hidden fastener holds deck planks down while leaving the surface looking sleek and minimalist.
Updating Your Deck
Enhance Decks with Lighting
Landscape lighting may seem like a complicated DIY project, but low-voltage lighting systems are actually a job any beginner can do. The extra visibility will even add a certain level of safety. Low-voltage systems are much less dangerous than standard household wiring because the system relies on a transformer, which is plugged into a standard GFCI receptacle, to convert power from 120 volts down to 12 volts. The current travels through outdoor cables to supply power to the fixtures. You can even finish off your custom lighting with solar-powered post caps that will protect wood posts and add an additional element of light to your outdoor space.
Add Shade With Canopies and Awnings
The summer sun can get a little too warm, which is why building a canopy, awning, or another type of shade is a great deck project. These additions are affordable and easy to set up. Awnings and latticework, in particular, allow you to add more shade or remove shade based on the weather.
Adding Style with Planters
Planters give a deck character with their various shapes and sizes that add texture and color. Built-in versions, often made of the same material as the decking, can be positioned to separate seating areas from cooking areas. When planted with tall plants, they act as living privacy screens. Wood planters typically are lined with galvanized sheet metal, plastic containers, or are built to conceal standard pots that are easily removed for cleaning or planting. With all built-ins, drainage is necessary, which you may need to boreholes in the bottom of the container. Because excess water will drain from the bottom of your planter, you’ll need to be mindful of where you position the planter. Built-ins aren’t your only option. There are a wide variety of planters available such as ceramic, cement pots, hanging planters, planters that attach to the railing, etc.
Railings are typically required on any deck when the decking surface is more than 2 feet above the ground. Railings are the most visible part of the deck and offer excellent architectural details of your house. A cable railing is a thin stainless steel cable strung tautly between wood or metal posts, which is an excellent option to preserves your view.
Taming the Sun with Shade Sails
Shade sails are a refreshing, eye-catching alternative to shade creation. They are made of UV-resistant polyethylene knit fabric, sails are triangular, square, and rectangular, and come in a variety of colors. They produce diffuse light, cutting the glare of full sunlight while still permitting light into windows adjacent to the deck. The shade is not all the sails offer, with many homeowners consider shade sails a form of aerial sculpture.
Pergola for a Sunny Spot
Add a pergola to provide a shield against intense rays while still letting you enjoy some sunlight. It can be oriented according to the seasons. While an open-air deck makes a delightful addition to any home, outfitting it with a pergola can transform it into a regal retreat.
Lattice offers a bit of camouflage without blocking any cool breezes. A wood-slat screen can afford you all the seclusion you crave without sacrificing style. Lattice can make an outdoor area to feel private, yet open to the natural surroundings.
If your deck is low enough not to require a railing, build a bench around the perimeter to provide seating and a sense of enclosure.
Green Privacy Wall
This privacy fence will be a beautiful addition to your garden—or if space is tight, it will be your garden. Set up a living wall system to hold plants in place.
If you have an existing tree that is in the area planned for a new deck, design the structure around the tree. Building your structure around the trunk of a favorite backyard tree so you can benefit from both the shelter of its shady and its natural beauty.
Need Help or have questions about Maintaining and Upgrading your Deck is Essential? Contact Us online at or give Us a call at 1 (503) 3357-8810. From concept to completion, we provide full remodeling services. Let’s Build It!
Kurt Kopp is a dedicated professional with a commitment to excellence. He is a master builder of over 35 years of experience that strives to deliver the highest quality product to his valued customer.