We have had a love/hate relationship with our deck pretty much since we moved into our house 10 years ago. We loved the nice big size and the view; however, we didn’t exactly love the paint. The original owners had painted the railings gray and decking red. A few years ago, we re-painted the deck with a surface protector, but after couple years even that started peeling and the deck was showing its age. Last year, we finally decided that it was time for an update. The frame of the deck was just fine (and we already had a good size) so really it just needed a facelift – new rails and decking.
After multiple trips to Home Depot, hours researching online, and lots of Pinterest pins later, we decided on Trex Decking for our deck update. While it was more cost upfront, we liked the fact that cleaning it simply required pulling out the pressure washer, and we wouldn’t need to refinish it again in a few years.
Then for the fun part, picking the color. There are three levels of decking – Select, Enhance, and Transcend. Each level higher makes the boards look a bit more like real wood. My dad had done a Trex deck the previous summer and helped us make the decision that Select was perfectly fine for our need, and also to go with the clip installation. We opted for the Madeira color, which is a nice deep red.
The railing also comes in three levels – Select, Transcend, and Signature. The differences here are mostly in how they look at the connection points. We did like the slightly higher quality of the Transcend railing so we went with that for our deck. Again I spent time debating the various railing combinations before opting with the cocktail rail for the main deck, and then a standard railing for the stairs.
Since Trex is all ordered a-la-cart, we were able to easily mix and match colors and models. I am loving the contrasting look of the red decking/cocktail rail with the black and white railing. We opted for the standard railing going down the staircase since it is pretty long. Either way we would need a post in the middle and the cocktail rail could be awkward to grab onto while descending the stairs.
Sometimes we want to send the dogs outside, but don’t necessarily want them in the backyard. Trex makes an adjustable aluminum gate which was the perfect solution for this. We were easily able to install it at the top of the stairs, and can close it if we don’t want the dogs to run down into the grass. The only downside is that the gate is pre-soldered so I couldn’t continue the black balusters with the white railing; however, nobody has noticed other than when I point it out. We also bought a second gate to install at the bottom of the stairs later. We got it for the purpose of keeping future kids from climbing back up the stairs when we’re in the backyard with them.
Of course our deck wouldn’t be complete without some great music. By adding a Sonos CONNECT:AMP in the basement, we were able to add these rock speakers to our backyard. One is sitting here on the deck, and the second is down by the garden pointing into the grass. This is awesome for the summer evenings when we just sat out there enjoying the evenings, or for parties when we wanted the same music playing inside and outside.
The back side of our house has complete western exposure so until the sun sets about 9:30PM in the summer, our house simply bakes. This makes the deck quite warm, and we were always fighting with the umbrella to sit in the shade. We solved that this year by installing a Sunsetter shade! During the summer, we also have a section that hangs down in the front to add even more shade to the deck. With this awning, we loved hanging outside on the deck in the evenings.
Overall, it took us about 2 months of weekends from start to finish to complete the deck. Some of this was because we had limited time one weekend, or we realized that there was another part we needed to order (many parts aren’t in stock so they had to be ordered if forgotten). Depending on the layout of your deck, this could be an easy project for a beginning DIY-er. Ours was relatively easy, other than the stairs which took some effort.
I will note that Trex does get warmer than wood, so that is something to be aware of during the summer if you have pets, or tend to go outside barefoot. Another fun fact is that if you get the deck that is grooved for the clip assembly, and if the deck is elevated, it will “whistle” in the wind. We were a bit surprised when this happened the first time.