It finally happened: the renovation-bug has bitten, and it’s time to upgrade your deck!
Start by thinking through the various steps of your project: Inspect your deck to see what you’re working with, choose which material you’d like to use to upgrade your deck, then identify other additions or improvements you can include to make your deck the perfect outdoor entertaining area.
Now that you’ve got your ideas mapped out, let’s get down to it.
How to inspect your deck
To avoid problems later on, start with a careful inspection. We often hear that during comprehensive inspections contractors tell homeowners that they will need to repair or replace subframes that weren’t installed correctly, which they only notice once the old decking boards are removed.
Make sure existing deck boards, balustrades and any fascia or mouldings are free from decay.
If on inspection you notice your boards are in bad shape, you’ll need to replace these. Think of this as a good long-term decision – and ultimately a more cost-effective one too.
If replacing boards, you’ll want to remove the old ones, including any stairs and handrails (as applicable). Keep going until your deck’s frame is completely exposed.
This is the moment of truth: when you get to see the true condition of your deck framing.
At this point, check necessary flashing is fitted (for example, where your deck meets the house) as a precaution against water damage. (FYI: Flashing is a thin layer of metal or a rubber membrane that keeps water from seeping into a structure).
Also check if deck joists, bearers or posts need to be replaced. Check for rot, cracks, insect holes, or other damage.
If your deck is raised and includes steps, replace these too because steps with direct ground contact could likely show damp-deterioration. Fascia or moulding (if present) will chip and need replacing also.
Timber vs Composite?
Can’t decide which of these to go with? Here’s a break down on each to help you out:
a) Timber decking
Natural and durable, timber is the original decking material trusted for both style and function. It’s comfortable underfoot, stays cool in the sun and ideal for WA’s climate.
Timber decking is strong and durable, smells all nice and ‘organic’ and is generally more affordable than composite decking. It’s also highly practical for indoor-outdoor living and entertaining.
Timber is also very Australian.
Australian hardwoods, (spotted gum, jarrah, blackbutt and others) each have a distinctive grain, texture, feel and colour.
So, what are the drawbacks?
Maintenance: timber does need seasonal care to keep it in top shape.
Unmaintained wood can split, crack and change colour – oiling or staining your deck at regular intervals will keep it beautiful over time.
Timber is vulnerable to white ants and other bugs- however, you can keep harmful bugs at bay by treating your timber.
With consistent vigilance and regular upkeep, your timber deck is likely to last more that a few years.
b) Composite decking
Long-lasting Composite decking has the combined benefits of being eco-friendly, durable and sturdy while requiring very little maintenance.
It is made up of recycled plastic bags, wood chips, sawdust and reclaimed timber. The result is a fantastic looking, eco-friendly board, devised with sustainability in mind.
Some composite boards also have a high-performance shell which wraps around three sides providing protection for the visable part from the elements and yet allowing the core to breath on the unseen rear side. It also keeps it safe from fading, staining, scratches and mould!
This type of decking is a firm favourite for busy families, because it’s ‘ready to go’ and doesn’t require the routine sanding, staining or painting – as is the case with timber.
It is also warp resistant, hard-wearing and has high resistance to wear and tear and comes with substantial warranty periods.
Composite’s advantages include:
- Regular, standard board length
- No risk of rotting or termite infestation
- It’s quick and easy to install
- Comes with fire resistance and anti-slip properties
- Weather and stain resistant
- Develops no splits nor splinters
All up, composite wood decking is a super choice for your outdoor area. Its stylish look has the feel of real timber – without the maintenance.
With superb high-definition wood grain patterns and elegant tropical hardwood finishes, Trex® decking is engineered with a low-sheen, high-traffic technology, ensuring its timeless durability.
Deck improvements and ideas
When you finally emerge from cleaning, repair, staining or replacing your desk, you might consider additional aesthetics.
These simple ideas can add delight to your deck, and suit just about any budget:
Make it bloom
Plants and flowers add extra bursts of colour to your deck. Hang potted plants, or rest these on brick supports.
Style with balustrades
Edge your deck with a balustrade to add a style statement. These enhance safety too (especially if your deck is slightly above ground level).
If you have a raw-food leaning, why not plant veggies in narrow planters? Be space wise and grow varieties like herbs, tomatoes, beans and carrots. Then relax and soak up the joy of watching these grow.
Posts and panels
For a sophisticated look, and to keep the wind at bay, add evenly spaced posts around your deck’s perimeter. Connect these with glass panels to enjoy the view.
Bring indoors, outdoors
Bring inside living, outdoors. Use furnishings and pieces which create zones for barbeque, dining or lounging.
Experiment with outdoor rugs, colourful cushions, fire pits and furnishings to warm up your decking space.
Light your night
Create a magical effect using twinkling outdoor fairy lights, or solar lights. If your deck has steps, extra light will not only look stunning but will keep accidents at bay.
Reach out for help
Upgrading your deck need not be an overwhelming task. Like anything, it’s all in the planning. Take it on one task at a time.
Of course, here at Decking Perth we’re only too happy to help. If it’s advice you’re after or assistance with choosing the right decking material – just ask our experienced team of decking professionals.