When we moved into our house 25 years ago there was nice deck in the back off the family room. Over the years the deck got a lot of use, but the years eventually took their toll. For the last few summers we've known the deck needed to be upgraded, but there was always some more pressing job that had to get done. This year the project finally made it to the top of the list.
Our house has a walkout basement, so the deck off the main level is actually second-floor. A few of the deck boards were cracking, and the stairs were getting wobbly. Hubby Tony took charge of finding contractors and getting estimates. We investigated whether we could just rejuvenate the deck by replacing the deck boards and rails, but found out that wasn't feasible; it was out of code in so many ways that it would be more cost-effective to just tear the whole thing down and start over.
After we selected the contractor, but before he put together a bid we met him at an "outdoor living" store so he could show us some options for materials. The choices were overwhelming! The decking material could be wood (from pressure treated, to cedar, to exotic varieties like mahogany or ipe) or composite (a mixture of recycled wood fibers in a resin base) of various brands and qualities. Rails could be the same material or different, and could include things like fancy post caps and lighting systems. Of course each upgrade came with an additional cost. After a lot of discussion, Tony and I decided on a simple wood deck with a simple wood railing. The end result would be pretty much like what we had before, just newer.
The finished product:
A couple of hours after this picture was taken Tony carried our table and chairs up the stairs and put them into their place. We've already eaten our first dinner there. The finch feeder is back up too, attached to the rail on the left. Once I move all the plants back, this new deck will start to look like it's always been part of the house